Yeti vs. NRA? Or simple misunderstanding?

“Suddenly, without prior notice, YETI has declined to do business with the NRA Foundation saying they no longer wish to be an NRA vendor and refused to say why. They will only say they will no longer sell products to The NRA Foundation. That certainly isn’t sportsmanlike. In fact, YETI should be ashamed…” This was the original quote from Marion P. Hammer, past NRA President, that sent shock waves across the social media pages that ignited a massive debate across hunting and outdoorsman pages across the social networking platform.

Could it be? The brand that revolutionized coolers marketed as being “built for the serious outdoor enthusiast rather than for the mass-discount retailers,” and weekend party-goers alike actually ostracize the so perceived face of the 2nd Amendment? Or is the outrage a well intended fallacy of patriotism?

Once the story hit the internet, avid waterfowlers and fishermen alike, lamented that YETI abandoned their loyal followers by ultimately disregarding the fundamental right of outdoorsmen to carry a gun, or at least the organization they perceive as being that rights biggest defender. Soon after, calls for a boycott and ultimate destruction of thousands of dollars worth of YETI merchandise were being heralded to show the company the error of their ways. You had your detractors, on the other hand, who chalked it up to a company's ultimate right to support whomever and whatever cause they so choose.

Barton Ramsey, founder and owner of Southern Oak Kennels, posted a 5 minute video, which you can find here, regarding the controversy of what he chalks up to as “#fakenews.” Ramsey was originally concerned that something had been severely misunderstood, because he has been following YETI long enough to know their DNA includes nothing but support for gun ownership. Upon doing research for himself, by contacting Bill Neff, Director of Community Marketing at YETI, Ramsey concludes that in our current cultural climate, everyone loves to be among the first to sh

are “breaking news,” especially when it’s controversial, which leads to what has now become a buzz-word of “fake news.” In contacting Neff, Ramsey subsequently claims to debunk what he calls the fake news of the YETI/NRA story. In not speaking for Neff directly, Ramsey shares with us that YETI didn’t pull its support for the NRA as an organization as a whole, but simply did away with a program that wasn’t beneficial for them as a company financially, and in no way philosophically. He goes on to mention many other conservationist companies that will ultimately no longer be impacted by the YETI program, also.

“Ultimately, we have allowed our focus to be taken off of a common enemy, those opposed to hunting rights, and we have turned inward on ourselves as a community. Nothing could be more detrimental to our heritage as sportsmen than blindly trusting the headlines and driving division amongst ourselves,” suggests Ramsey. Others don’t see it that way; how can they support a company who, in their eyes, doesn’t support them?

Sean Conrad, avid outdoorsman and founder of The Bearded Feller, sees it Ramsey’s way. “How can you pull your support for something when you weren’t concerned about what the company represented originally? Do you do research on every company you purchase from to make sure they support the NRA?” Conrad doesn’t see the need for such unrest, socially. “If you’re going to pull your support from YETI over a misunderstanding, are you going to pull your support for major companies that actually don’t support the NRA?” Conrad suggests that if you’re buying a product from a company that makes your life easier, does it really matter what they support, because it really isn’t affecting you?

Kyle Norman, however, who has hunted all types of animals since he was child, disagrees. “If I’m going to give my hard earned money to a company, that is in turn giving them my support; so if YETI isn’t going to support the NRA, that in turn means I don’t support the NRA, which couldn’t be further from the truth.”

Wherever you stand on this controversy, one thing is clear: people feel very strongly about the 2nd Amendment and what that means to the future of the sport(s) we all love. As I sit here finishing my sweet tea out of my YETI Tumbler, eyeing my beautiful Springfield XDS, I can’t help but appreciate the Inalienable Rights we’ve been given by our Creator, by being able to share our opinions with each other on a social media platform.

We’d love to hear your comments! Tag a friend below in the comments and let us know your stance on this controversy.

Always remember, a bad day of hunting is better than your best day of working. Good hunting,

John Mark Pierce

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