Outdoors Folks Fighting With Ourselves

 Pogo famously said “We have met the enemy and he is us.” All too often hunters and gun owners are our own worst enemy. Going all the way back to Aesop and his fables, the statement “United we stand, divided we fall,” applies to us and our rights.

    I am constantly amazed at the infighting among groups that have similar goals and beliefs.  Hunters look down and condemn other hunters for not holding the same ideals as they do.  Gun owners think their guns are going to be safe and support banning the kinds they don’t use.

    One of the worst examples was a recent article/news story in Georgia Outdoor News magazine.  When some Georgia deer hunters went to their deer camp this year, they found a nest of rattlesnakes ten feet from their bunkhouse in the middle of camp.  They killed them.

    Other hunters, and many tree huggers, condemned them for killing the snakes.  Even other hunters called them names and hated on them. Not only did they give nonhunters a bad image of hunters, they caused hard feelings among groups that should support ourselves.

    Get real.  I have never enjoyed killing just for the fun of killing.  I do not kill snakes when
I see them in the wild. Nonpoisonous snakes in my yard are left alone.  But I recently killed a copperhead
I uncovered when moving some tin. I would not leave it to bite me or my dogs.

    There has long been a “war” between bow and gun hunters.  Gun hunters do not like bow hunters having an early season just for them, and bow hunters say the activity of gun hunters make getting close to deer more difficult for them.

    When cross bows were first legalized, traditional bow hunters hated anyone using a cross bow. They are right that it takes a lot more skill to kill a deer with a traditional bow, but why condemn those that use crossbows?  It gets more folks in the woods to find the joy of the outdoors and hunting, and we should support each other.

    The same thing happened when compound bows first came on the market.  Recurve bow hunters condemned them. They are easier to use and more accurate, so folks using them were not really bow hunters. 

    If you don’t want to use a crossbow or compound bow, fine, but do not condemn fellow hunters if they do.  Many of us are too old to pull back and hold a compound bow, much less a traditional recurve bow, but we can get in the woods and enjoy hunting with a crossbow.  The same applies to young hunters and those with disabilities that prevent use of a traditional bow.

    Georgia legalized baiting for deer last year, based on the desires of the majority of hunters attending hearings on it. I don’t like baiting, there are many problems with it, from spreading disease to making it easier for predators other than us to kill deer. And baiting removes the need to learn hunting skills.  You can shoot deer over bait, but you are not really hunting.

    Since baiting is legal, many will do it, including me. But I am not really a deer hunter, I just want to harvest a few does for my freezer.  And I can not shoot a rifle due to a port in my right shoulder, but I can get close enough to does on bait to harvest some with my crossbow.

    If you don’t like baiting, don’t bait. But don’t condemn others for using legal methods.

    Trophy hunting is similar.  I will get condemned if I shoot a small buck, even though it is legal.  I have seen folks whine about a young hunter killing their first deer when it was a small buck. They want it to grow bigger, hoping to kill it themselves when it reaches trophy size, I guess.

    Bass fishermen are just as bad. The catch and release of bass has helped bass populations, but too many fishermen have adopted it almost as a religion, even when removing small bass may help a lake.  There is nothing wrong with keeping a few bass to eat, especially in cases of spotted bass where this invasive species has hurt the lake.

    There is a movement to ban and confiscate ugly guns that many don’t like.  The AR-15 shoots a legal bullet for deer hunting, and millions use them for a variety of reasons. But too many hunters that don’t use them for hunting see no reason to not ban and confiscate them.  When the gun banners realize many bolt action and lever action rifles shoot bigger, more powerful bullets, you can bet they will come after them, calling them sniper rifles.

    Its similar for shotguns.  A semiautomatic shotgun is the choice of many hunters, and a ban on semiautomatic guns would include them. Should hunters that use double barrel shotguns be ok with the ban?

    Its easy to accept things that don’t affect you, until they do.

    Too many people have lost touch with nature. 
They live in cities and suburbs where they seldom contact nature, even if they go hunting a few times a year. They are happy in their own little world and see no problem condemning those that don’t hold their views.

    Our whole society seems to have gone this way.
A big part of this is social media.  It is far too common to sit safely behind a computer and rant and rave about your favorite prejudice, from hunting and fishing to politics and religion, without ever considering the other side.

    And you are likely to never even hear the other side.  The echo chamber of Facebook and Twitter assure you will hear and be heard only by those with the same prejudices.

    Consider those with differing views and maybe, just maybe, they will consider your views.  You may be surprised both sides have legitimate concerns.