That's because they feel too hypocritical about their own eating habits. They know they couldn't kill an animal like the hunter but they still want to eat meat. Worse--they know the animals they're eating probably lived worse on factory farms than the hunted animal.
So, out of guilt, people like to call hunters Honest for killing what they eat and eating what they kill. Assuming the hunters didn't dump the kill by the side of the road or donate it to the shrinking number of food pantries that take game--the poor aren't usually THAT hungry--or give it to employees at Dick Cheney style hunting clubs because it's too much work to clean.
Out of guilt, people buy into the hunter catechism---"It's the hunters who actually keep the wildlife alive," is how Mike Huckabee puts it (see Village; Destroy to Save)--and never ask why wildlife agencies actually breed and even import the animals they claim they want to control, playing both sides of the street.
"Why? Because public game commissions and wildlife agencies get substantial portions of their budgets from hunting-license fees and matching funds from federal taxes on guns and ammunition," says the Chicago Tribune's Eric Zorn. "The slaughter sustains them--in Illinois to the tune of $15.5 million a year added to the bottom line of the state's Department of Natural Resources on top of an estimated $441.3 million annual infusion for the state's economy from deer hunting alone."
And don't forget what wildlife agencies do to the "nuisance" animals that don't generate money like the 71 donkeys Texas officials recently killed at Big Bend Ranch State Park. (They were cleared of wrongdoing.) Which part of "It's the hunters who keep the wildlife alive" does that demonstrate?
No, most people won't question why State (trust-us-we're-wildlife-experts) Departments of Natural Resources cater to the less than five percent of the population who prefer blood streams to streams when administering of public lands that belong to you and me.
Sportsmen like Malcolm Whyte of Jarrettsville, MD who recounts tracking his "beautiful buck" on a hunting web site like this: "The blood trail became 8 inches wide and went for about 150 yards. It was as though the buck painted a big red line as wide as a highway strip right to where he lay. It was time for me to retrieve my game."
But despite the national thrall to the hunter-as-steward mythology, Mike Huckabee got no bounce out of his post Christmas pheasant hunting excursion in rural Iowa to which he invited the press.
Maybe it was the rumors about his son, David, hanging a dog at the Boy Scout's Camp Pioneer in Hatfield, AK for which he was dismissed as a counselor in 1998. No charges were filed says Newsweek and Huckabee's alleged obstruction of an investigation suggests a family culture of cruelty.
Maybe it was the overkill--the cap with EAT, SLEEP, HUNT written on it and the member of his hunting party who was compelled to tell the press the pheasants could be cooked with the birdshot intact and "You just spit it out."
Maybe it was the way Huckabee joked about the bird he killed with his 12-gauge having his opponent's name written on its rear--"See that's what happens if you get in my way"--as if he hadn't just ended an life. When did Jesus ever laugh about death, even an animal's, many wanted to ask the Baptist preacher.
But Huckabee's hunting trip looked less like the judicious taking of a wildlife resource than the admission of a macabre and slightly sleazy hobby.
Relevant to the presidency only if al-Qaeda sends in suicide pheasants.
And in terms of bravery, less like Rambo than Michael Vick.