Thursday, February 9, 2012

By our actions shall we be condemned

Kevin over at the Smallest Minority has a post up about people shooting clays over a frozen lake, leaving a field of lead shot and broken clays and piles of hulls and other trash.  Go on over, read his article, and look at the pictures.

The outdoors is a place we all have the right to enjoy, and that includes shooting.  Maybe you're shooting clays, target shooting, plinking, or hunting.  Any way you make use of our land, you are a steward of that land and a representative of the hunting and shooting world to non-sportsmen.  When they see scenes like the ones that Kevin posted, they associate all hunters and shooters with those kinds of messes.

Recently, there have been a few kerfluffles where the Bureau of Land Management wanted to cut off shooting on BLM land.  One of the excuses used was that shooters were leaving behind trash and causing property damage, so they shouldn't be allowed to practice their sport on BLM land.  Thing is, they've got a point.  Drive down any rural road, and you'll see stop signs with bullet holes in them. Walk through fields and woods long enough, and you'll find trash left behind by hunters or target shooters.   Even areas that are not normally open to the public, like the hunting areas on Fort Knox, show evidence of people misusing the land.  Girlie Bear and I usually pack out a small bag filled with old soda bottles, spent shotgun hulls, and assorted other trash that has been left behind by other hunters and isn't going to break down in the environment.

Every time someone comes upon a bunch of spent brass and shot up bottles and other junk, it reflects poorly on those of us who pack out what we pack in.  Stuff like that is the reason that a lot of landowners don't allow hunters on their property.  It's just not worth the trash and damage that can get left behind.

I guess my point is that we are making a lot of progress in both hunting and shooting.  More land is open to hunters and target shooters than has been at any time in my life.  But all of that can go away in a flash if the perception of shooters goes from safety-conscious, respectful, responsible sportsmen to slobs with no respect for wildlife or the land they live on.

We will be judged on the conduct of the jerks amongst us.  We need to police ourselves, clean up after ourselves when we shoot, use shooting products that do minimal damage to the environment, and be good stewards of our land.


Coop said...

On a related topic, its disgusting to see the trash and crap left behind by fisherman, especially on the opening day of trout season here in NJ... A lot of that crap ends up washing down stream and polluting the waters that you are fishing. Yeah its a few bad apples and most of those idiots are gone after opening weekend, but their trash stays, frustrating...

DaddyBear said...

Good point. We also take along a trash bag when we go fishing to clean up the stuff along the shoreline.

LabRat said...

Don't forget guys that see literally anything on the land they're shooting on as fair game for a target, up to and including living animals. A lot of the folks I know are extremely careful about who they let hunt their land, if anyone at all, because idiots have killed their livestock or pets, or shot up farm equipment because it was a neat reactive target.

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