This thread has some very good reading in it, thanks to the writers. The state of Washington has a built in "early warning" for other states. We have the largest number of anti-hunting groups compiled with the smallest number of hunters to anti-hunters in the entire nation. Most live over 400 miles away in the Seattle-Puget Sound area. We are talking voters here. And everything is controlled by the vote. Two counties over there can control the entire state just by sheer numbers. Ethics is the issue. If, as with all things, one bad apple can ruin it for the batch then we are in a world of hurt. How can the love of hunting be explained to someone that has no fathom, or interest? Or blatently thinks it is wrong? How do you change someone's mind when they are already angry? You guys have hit on some very strong feelings for most of us. We love our hunting privleges and want to keep them. What do you suggest to say to those hunters out there that are our bad apples? That if they don't change there ways, they're going to ruin it for the whole? This added with the fastest growing population of the 11 western states 2nd to California. Hunting is the one hobby that I have that all my other hobbies shoot off from. I reload because of hunting, same with target shooting, and hiking, otherwise known as preseason scouting! My desire for long range target practice, is for my desire to lengthen my ability to hit at extended ranges. I feel a little confused to the stages. I think I am a mix of all of them. I am interested with the capability of my weapon, I do enjoy harvesting an animal, but its not a must. When harvesting an animal, I am selective. I like the equipment that I use, yet I get the most satisfaction in just the "total hunting experience." There is more, as in Ian's last post, but I think he already said it. Hey MM, I also say a prayer. Always thankful to the lord above.
[ 11-19-2002: Message edited by: littletoes ]
Portate bien o te lleva el cucuy
For my money, forget about trying to change the bad apples. They have been around forever. They are who the laws were written for and they are the ones on whom the laws should be enforced. Hard.
What you need to do is to convince the political structure that the anti-hunting crowd is misinformed and/or misdirected and prove it.
You are correct that votes count, but hunting is not enough of an issue that an election will be won or lost over it. Therefore, the bureaucrats will control the policies. The game is to make sure the bureaucrats get a bigger penalty (in terms of letters, bad press, etc.) from opposing hunting than from leaving it alone.
I hear you. In Colorado we have a similar situation, but not as bad. Most of the voting polulace is in the front range cities of Denver, Fort Collins, Colorado Springs. The last two wildlife related issues that came to vote passed by very narrow margins (Spring bear hunting and trapping). These are all things the Division of Wildlife had the ability to regulate, but are now out of the question and against the law.
Arizona had a ballot issue where any wildlife related issue had to pass by a 2/3 majority... I am pretty sure it did not pass.
I know about the phases of hunting. It used to be all about the kill. Quantity of kill and to not get skunked. Now, a successful hunt is measured in memories. I still strive to do well in the field, but my measurement of success lies within me, not others. I know when I did well wether or not the game cooperated. Sort of like Max talking about becoming a good still hunter, the challenge lies within us all to make ourselves better at some aspect of what we like to do. Success could be measured in meat, horns, the shot, the stories, the country or maybe the introduction of somebody new.
I really look forward to the day when I can live vicariously through my children. My dad exposed me to hunting (thank you), I intend to immerse my son and daughter in it.
I have to respond to this topic. Last night I went on a Mule deer hunt with two brothers who are "into the hunt" like the rest of us. We had to chain up a 4X4 pickup to get to a gated road at about 7900 ft.. We hike in a little under a mile and glassed for bucks until dusk. Cold, real cold. Wind, real windy, about 25mph gusting to 40. We spotted some mulies, only one buck. Small, young and 764 yds. away. We stayed on the ridge watching all the critters, hoping that the Holy Grail of the Mule Deer Kingdom would appear. He didn't. But where we were, we could see the whole Jefferson River Valley, and part of the South Boulder. Cloud cover with the sun peeking out here and there until it sunk behind the Highland Mountians, just south of Butte. Breath taking! Rough trip getting home, and yet three very contented hunters. No kill, enjoying each others company, and planing future hunts. Got home. Tired, very tired. But very content. Fired up the PC, looked up this site, and read this topic. Thanks Ian B.
When I was a teenager, I enjoyed killing ground squirrels, porcupines, skunks, badgers, prairie dogs....you name it, by the bushel basket. Mostly just for the sake of killing.
I don't even own a real varmint rifle now, at 41. It just doesn't get me all giddy anymore.
Killing big game for the meat is something I will always do. But when I was a kid, we let the deer eat from our haystacks without bothering them. So it is a give and take situation.
I enjoy the solitude and immersion into the wilderness aspects of hunting, and non-lethal long distance riflery the most now.
I guess for me personally, I've seen enough death/destruction that it gives me no pleasure to kill an animal anymore. But I will continue to do it for the good eatin. But with a sense of respect and reverence for the critter. When I look in their dead/dying eye, I give them a little silent prayer. Quite a contradiction, but that's where I'm at.
Wow.. it is good to hear some of these things being said.. suprized from some, others I expected but very good non-the-less...
I do have to comment on some things...
Littletoes.. as far as the anit's, There are always gonna be some, increasing every where though.. My wife (the young beautiful woman she is) was an anti when I married her.. ( can you beleive that) She grew up in Fla. in a non hunting family. She was never exposed to it. She admitted that she never saw a need for it and it was cruel to kill the way hunters do.. Upon moving here and marrying yours truly.. she saw a side of nature that she never saw before... she saw the over populated deer herd in town with several emaciated deer slowly dieing because of old age and lack of food a few years back... She watched in horror as one deer stumbled and stumbled trying to cross the road. I took that opportunity to point out.. that thats what happens when the deer over populate an area and there is "no hunting" or no management... On another trail ride we took one spring she watched as several Coyotes took a fawn down. It seemed almost sporting for them.. I said, "see even predators need management". After those 2 scenes that will be etched in her mind forever. She now sees there is a need for hunting. We have also had other conversations about the topics discussed above. She understands the comeradery. She also knows that I yearn for the experience the time in the hills. She knows I just don't kill for the kill. She watched one day as a magnificient monster of a muley walked by me. He was all of 28" high, heavy and majestic. A beautiful 5X5. After the 10 min of complete silence and admiration. She asked why I didn't kill him. I simply said. I didn't feel the need, the time wasn't right.... Thats just me.. In my mind, I outwitted, outsmarted the deer. I watched him and patterned him for 2 years. After those 10 min. I won.. I hunted him.. he was mine. I feel better for letting him go.. letting him breed. My wife now understands me...
After the Prarie Dogs chewed through our business phone lines and it cost us a small fortune to replace them she now sees the need to control them as well. She also winessed an Antelope limping along after it broke its leg in a PD hole.. she now doesn't give me grief for guiding a few PD hunts...
I own a 22-250 for one reason... Coyote's Although deer hunting ( muleys and whitetail) are my passion.. we do spend several hundred dollars a year on corn, oats and barley to spread thoughout our ranch to supliment the deer herd. They come down to feed on our hay when we feed our horses so I fugured why not make em even healthier...
but the yotes know this too and they wait for the young ones to fall behind or get separated.. well I wait until they make there move.. and it is usually their last one....
MM, good to hear, I to do the same thing...
Here's another thing that was instilled in me by my grandfather who supplimented his income and darn near survived on money from being a trapper and mountain man through the winter.
"Always respect your quarry" "never, never hang any animal you killed by the neck or head, it's disrepecful of that animal." "Only criminals and bad men get hung by the neck."
Somthing that has always stayed with me....
Nice words, great thoughts - thanks. I believe that I understand where you are coming from, some people see stuff that others don't know exists.
I have read about the reverance shown by many European hunters, the last meal etc. and have grown to understand the significance of the moment. They also say some traditional words, a hunter's phrase. I like your prayer a lot as we have so much to be thankful for during those moments.
Last year I hunted with an Inuit who shared wonderful insite into their culture. Those people are tied very closely to the land and killing is not killing as we know it - they see breakfast, lunch and supper when they are putting the sights on a critter. I have never hunted with a finer person and sure hope to have the opportunity again.
Non-lethal long distance riflery - great phrase, mind if I borrow it and use it a bit. That hits it on the head for me - clanging or knocking over steel plates or seeing dust fly off a far-off rock after you have doped a whole bunch of wind - makes for a very enjoyable, saticefying afternoon. Now we are hurling long ones into the big clay blocks to recover bullets, end up being like little kids looking for a special prize.
I used to say "too windy to shoot", now we crank the hell out of our turrets and get a lot of hits (and real close misses...).