A Humbling Experience...

T. Fanning

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Anti's Dog Peeing On Decoy!Whoever said “you don't know how good you got it till it's gone” should receive a literary award. I’m dead serious. What other statement could ring so true? Especially since I am saying it now. I can only fondly remember how good I once had it, hunting in the Midwest with plenty of private ground for me to roam and easily mess up a good hunt. I never had to do this crazy new wave thing called “scouting” (I mean really, aren't the birds supposed come to you all the time?) or ever had to beg a complete stranger to shoot at a couple geese. I had the crème de la crème of spots back home! Hundreds and hundreds of acres of flooded corn fields! People were begging ME to hunt! And now I, the big shot Midwestern waterfowl king, reduced to this! I couldn't believe it.

Besides being at the mercy of any land owner that just happened to hold the entire local goose population, I was also introduced to a new type of person-the Yuppie. So confident in everything they do, obviously owning the road, they take whatever foreign car that Us Weekly claims is hot- speeding over top of my vehicle on a mad dash to star bucks. They build their multi-million dollar community right in the middle of the only wooded area in the county. This, of course, is so they can truly experience nature, but only from the safety of the 1.5 acre lot they purchased. Never mind that it is in fact only an acre and a half, all yuppies feel entitled to anything in their view. Park your truck a long side the road on a neighboring property and expect a fancy piece of parchment on your window with some beautifully thought out words about your choice of recreation. Though their lack of knowledge in motor mechanics may hinder them from making your truck un-drivable, they will notify the cops of your completely law abiding actions and how it is making them miserable. From that point expect the town police officer to not only not know fish and game regulations, but completely willing to disregard common law and look away when the yuppie decides to take their long haired rat resembling dog for a walk through your decoys. The only game warden working in the area appears to be less of a human and more of an answering machine. At least from what I have gathered the last time I spoke to him or her.

You might say “why the hell did you move out there?!” (Which, by the way, is the common response I get when I say where I came from), but I look at the situation I am in as one that can take me a step closer to being a better hunter. Before, I was completely unaware of how blessed I was, with the hunting ground I had access to and the great community that surrounded me - a general population of down-to-earth folks that respect the land and are a friend to the hunter. With that said, it is possible to find these same people over here on the east coast. The hunter is a dwindling minority, but through constant scrutiny and few hunting opportunities, the small group that remains is one that is obsessively law-abiding and respects what few hunting opportunities that are available. They know without this extreme code of ethics any yuppie would attack their hunting rights with tenacity. However the elusive outdoorsman is not the only dying breed in this area. Local farmers who have worked the land long before anyone moved out from the city are also being victimized. They can only helplessly watch all borders of their ground be swallowed up by suburban development. Any open field or wooded lot is quickly chewed up to hold million dollar estates. These new “neighbors” also destroy what was once a great relationship between the farmer and the hunter. Fearful of legal disputes and constant scrutiny, farmers would rather kindly decline any permission to hunt rather than start a war. This sad but true situation is creating a strangle hold on what little hunting community that is left.

Every time we scout, every time we actually receive a “yes” to hunt and every time we are able to set up on some birds each experience carries so much more value than it would have had before. East coast hunting has given a new respect for what I do as an outdoorsman and the opportunities that I have. Ill continue to drive for hours looking for geese or ducks, face dozens of slammed front doors or kind apologies. Ill move my blind over and over after I range-find the 6 sub divisions surrounding the field and watch helplessly as a woman and her dog stand in my decoys and wave off any incoming geese- only for one reason: To ensure a future for hunting and outdoorsman alike in this area. The only way to win is to ban together, be an incredible role model to others and to KEEP HUNTING!

Posted by T. Fanning under Hunting on January 30, 07 09:00 PM | Permalink

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