Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Come back from the woods safe

Bow season has started here in Kentucky, and for the next few months, the woods and fields around my home will have hunters in them.  It could be guys putting a little dove or duck in their diet, someone looking for that perfect rack of antlers for their living room, or the guy who's trying to put enough venison and rabbit in the freezer to get through the winter.

No matter what their motivation, and there really isn't a bad one, for going hunting, I ask only these things from my fellow hunters:

  • Be courteous - Ask permission before hunting on private land.  Don't ruin someone else's hunt by pissing off the landowners.  Don't argue with someone over  a downed deer or whether or not you can walk across a clearing they're watching from a treestand.
  • Be safe - If you're supposed to be wearing hunter orange, wear it.  Wear safety harnesses up in the tree stand, even if your granddaddy never did and he hunted those woods for decades.  Follow Rule 4 and always know what you're shooting and what's beyond it. 
  • Follow the law -  Buy the proper licenses and permits.  Don't hunt before or after allowed hunting hours.  Hunt with the tools you're supposed to.  Know the rules for hunting on public land and follow them.
  • Be smart -  Don't make the rest of us look stupid.  Don't take shots if you're not certain you can bring the game down humanely.  If you're hunting for a trophy, don't waste meat by just taking the head and cape. 
  • Pass it on - Take your kids or an adult who's new to hunting along with you a couple times.  They're not teaching this stuff in school, so we have to be self-propogating.  And be a good example for them.

I would love to get to February and realize that I haven't heard a single news report about someone dieing because either they or someone else messed up.  I would love to get to next summer and not have a single landowner in my area decide that we were too rude, messy, or destructive for him to allow us to use his land.  I want to be able to talk to a Fish and Wildlife agent about a law or rule without him being able to provide a recent example of someone breaking it.

In short, I want the same number of people at the campfire to tell hunting stories, the same number of acres to hunt, and happy law enforcement.  I hope that that's something that a lot of us want.

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