Friday, October 05, 2007

Not Everyone Fishes Or Hunts.

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It’s difficult for some of my friends who hunt every day, like I do, to understand why other people don’t fish or hunt. One of my buddies talks about it all the time, but I no longer listen.

Some years ago I asked him if he played golf. He didn’t, and I asked why not. I asked if he bowled, and again, a negative reply. Why not, I asked. He said he had no interest in either of those sports.

Think about it, I replied. You don’t bowl or play golf. Why would you expect everyone to love hunting as you do. Do you have a problem understanding that other people have different likes and dislikes than you?

Hunters of all stripes should stick together. Years ago the bait and hound hunters had angry words over each others choice of hunting methods. Those disagreements caught the attention of the anti-hunters, and we soon faced a ballot issue on why bears should not be completely protected. Sound scientific management, and hunter and non-hunter voices were heard at the ballot booths, and the proposal was defeated.

No one has an exclusive claim to a sport such as my ill-advised friend might think. I hunt bear with bait whenever I draw a tag. I’ve hunted with hounds, and have nothing against it, but the pace is often much too fast to suit my temperament and abilities.

I hunt with a compound bow while some people still enjoy the long bow and recurve bow.  I support their right to use any legal bow to hunt with. I once hunted with a recurve bow back in my early hunting days but when compound bows came on the market in the early 1970s, I quickly switched over and have never regretted my decision.

I use baitcasting, fly and spinning rods and reels, and admit to being only a mediocre fly fishermen. My vision is a detriment to fly fishing these days, but I don’t look down my nose at flyrodders, worm dunkers or anglers who choose to cast hardware. There is enough room on our lakes and streams to satisfy all legal fishing styles.

Ever listen to dog men discuss the merits of English pointers versus German shorthairs? Or beagle versus basset hounds for snowshoe hares? Or Labrrdor retrievers against any other dog breed? The discussion can last forever, and no one ever wins and perhaps that is the beauty of the whole thing.

My friend is quick to voice his wonder at why everyone doesn’t hunt. Of course, if everyone did, he might find someone sitting in his deer stand some day or find some joker fishing his favorite beaver pond for brook trout. It’s fine to have a difference of opinion, and in a free country such as this, that right to freedom of speech is an important thing to me.

Not everyone hunts, and that too is a good thing. It could turn out to be very crowded, and I for one would not rub shoulders with everyone. During my river guiding days, we seldom saw other steelhead fishermen in the 1960s. Now, when the fish are running, it can be elbow-to-elbow in some of the better locations.

I don’t dislike people. I just don’t enjoy fishing or hunting in a crowd, and that’s why I’m happy many folks have not taken up my favorite pastimes. And, perhaps, I may be a little tiny bit greedy about sharing my choice hotspots with others.

That doesn’t make me a bad guy. Just an honest one.

Posted by Dave Richey on 10/05 at 03:02 PM
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