It amazes Me how we as hunters can sometimes be our own worst enemies. Time and time again I see people out there that rag on someone because of how they hunt or what they hunt or various other complaints. I find myself every once in a while doing this same thing and always have to remember that just because it's not something I might do doesn't mean it isn't right. For example high fence hunting is not something I will ever do, but it is a growing aspect of hunting. It may not be my thing, but it can be an ally to hunting. I look at this means of hunting not my cup of tea, but at the same time it might get a beginner into hunting and someday they may come around to hunting public ground and spread the word about hunting.
Back to high fence hunting it can also have negative aspects on hunting, but at the same time so can the DIY public land hunter. Like with everything in life there is the select few who abuse things that can give others a bad name. I can think of more than one occasion where I have found garbage lying around or a gate left open. Things like this can ruin the privileges we are so lucky to have.
In today's world things are always up in the air and it seems year after year we lose a lot when it comes to hunting. In the past few years I have saw a change for the better. I spend much of my off time watching outdoor TV. It has been such a breath of fresh air to see shows like On Your Own Adventures, Meat Eater, Pure Hunting, Outback Outdoors, Western Hunter, and so on that is showing some great aspects to hunting. It is the common guy looking to get out and hunt public ground. I can honestly say I have never paid a guide to take me out hunting, but won't ever say I won't pay someday. Living in MT gives me a lot of opportunity to get out there on my own and hunt the same ground every other person has the opportunity to hunt. I'm sure there will come a time where I will hunt somewhere or something where I have little knowledge about that I will need the help of a guide.
With some of the complaining I understand and have the same stance. The only problem is that we may eventually run into the problem of creating more of a headache for ourselves. There is enough opposition to hunting that we all need to stand together and fight the good fight. As time passes the world will only get more populated and it is imperative to keep the luxury of public and private land we have and carry on the traditions that were passed on to us. One of my favorite quotes is one I have written on my blogs before and it comes from Fred Bear. "If you are not working to protect hunting, then you are working to destroy it." I again think this rings true when it comes to hunters vs. hunters.
Another thing that is funny to see is the amount of people that will rag on someone for the success they have. I for one have fallen into this as it can be frustrating to watch people on TV and see the success they have and some can even make a living at it. More than anything it comes down to jealousy. I have saw and heard multiple times, guys dogging Cameron Hanes about how he is too extreme and it's pointless to push yourself as hard as he does. At the same time how many guys can say they went out and went 4 for 4 on bull elk in one year. Not too many I would guess. I wish I had half the drive he did. Now if we just banded together and fought for the good side to hunting more we would have so much more push.
I watched this past legislation in MT where a bill that would have opened up access to close to 1 million more acres of public land get shot down. I never understood how this bill didn't pass. It was amazing to see hunters band together and take bus loads of people to Helena and show what it meant to them. I was unable to make to help out, but can't give enough thanks to those who did. In the end we didn't gain more ground, but I later found out many reasons why. After hearing why it didn't pass it made perfect sense. One of the reasons I didn't even think of it passing was that private landowners had complaints of public land hunters abusing the public ground. As stated before from complaints of garbage, open gates, as well as other stuff. Once again hunters hurting hunters.
One thing that I don't agree with, and this will add to the hunters vs. hunters, is how hunting over time has became a commercialized sport. I have watched certain organizations lobby for tags to be allocated for the rich. I have nothing wrong with certain "governor's tags" or tags that raise money for state agencies or money that goes back to the wildlife. What I don't agree with and would love to see go away is the tags that put up for auction that goes to the highest bidder. Those tags are taken out of the general special permit draw and I find it unfair to be able to just purchase a tag when every other person fights year after year in the draw systems. There are many great organizations out there that help fund wildlife and land, but you have to be careful who's organizations you join. Make sure and do some research on those organizations. Some are just out there for the money and don't put back into our resources.
I believe it is up to us as hunters to band together and educate the uneducated among both hunters and non-hunters to keep what we have. In today's world things have improved for the better. Hunting is on the rise and it is due to the hard work of hunters. It is hard to find a non-hunter or environmentalist against hunting that has done much to improve a species. The world would not have many of the animals we have to hunt if it wasn't for hunters knowing that conservation is the only way to maintain a healthy population. I see a bright future ahead and look forward to doing my part to help educate and pass on what we are so fortunate to have.
In closing if you get the chance, take someone new out hunting and show them the good side of hunting. If you find an open gate close it and teach them the importance of keeping landowners happy as well as other hunters happy. It only takes one open gate to keep you from hunting someone's private ground they let you hunt. If you see a piece of garbage pick it up and teach that if we continue to abuse places we are allowed to hunt they will someday be gone. Most importantly teach them and educate them about the importance of hunting and conservation. Without them there would be no hunting. There will always be those that hurt our traditions we just have to make sure and progress forward and work to keep what we have.