I will admit it. The nostalgia got to us and we threw our money at Disney+. Hubs and I were excited to show our kids the cartoons and movies that we grew up with. It never dawned on me that I would be faced with defending my love of hunting and trapping to those kids as we watched the movies.
The Fox and the Hound
Are those the traps you use?
Why would Copper hunt Tod if that’s his friend?
Amos Slade is the antagonist. An “evil” trapper who wants to hurt poor, cute Tod the fox. He raises hounds, sets jaw-toothed traps (the illegal kind) and continues to threaten the Widow Tweed about Tod getting into his chickens and needing to return to the wild. The story is more about the conflict around the friendship between the dog and fox but the underlying issue is about hunting and trapping.
Beauty and the Beast
Another antagonist, Gaston is described as an "arrogant hunter" who sings about how no one can shoot like him and that he uses antlers in his decorating (who can blame him?!). If you are a kid watching this, you probably wont pick up on all of the antlers and heads mounted on the wall of the tavern or that he walks around with a quiver full of arrows but for someone who does some of those things, it's easy to spot and see how Disney is equating those activities with someone who is the bad guy.
Bambi - this one is the worst!
Where did is mom go?
Why would they let their campfire get out of control?
Why are there so many dogs chasing Filene? Is that what happens when you go bear hunting?
I have not watched this movie for a LONG time but I knew his mom dies and I was prepared for it. Disney likes the dramatic narrative and mom's are an easy target... we saw Coral get eaten by a barracuda in the first five minutes of Finding Nemo. The idea of killing a deer so that we can eat it, is not foreign to my kids and I wanted them to be prepared for it when it happened in the movie. But before we got to that point, there was the campfire that spread throughout the forest caused by hunters that left to go hunt birds and rabbits (you watch the animals get shot in the movie!) His mom dies and then Filene (Bambi’s love interest) gets chased by a pack of dogs, presumably out hunting deer. It was mortifying. The movie was released in 1942, when hunting was more of a common thing but the entire movie is just one example after another of how bad hunters are. I was happy that the kids were bored with the movie and had no desire to watch it again.
Anthropomorphizing cute cuddly animals may sell tickets to the movies but when we see people going into the woods and Nation Parks thinking that those bears, foxes, moose, buffalo etc. are friendly, the reality can have devastating consequences.
So, for every anti-hunting and anti-trapping movie we watch, I will make my kids watch an episode of Drury Outdoors, MeatEater and Jim Shockey’s Hunting Adventures.