I am so tired of hearing hunting and fishing stories about Bad Choices! When I do an outdoor show or am around hunting and fishing buddies, suddenly I feel like I am a Catholic priest doing confession.
When a big buck, cackling pheasant, or mighty fish becomes involved, smart choices seem to go out the window. C’mon guys, I know these things are exciting, but…there is a thing called “Self-Control”. These adventures are surely exciting, but it is not 2:00am on a Friday night. You don’t have to leave the bar with just anyone. Making a Bad Choice is up to you.
Choice is a great thing. Honesty is even better. I have enough trouble remembering the truth, let alone trying to remember “embellished” stories. We “choose” to break a rule, BS, or tell a “story”.
It is easy to break the rules! That’s why so many people in our “Fast Food Society” seem so quick to make BAD choices. “The limit is 5 trout but, I kept fishing and caught a monster.” Oh dear, what to do? Everyone else does it!
“I had shot a great 4×4 buck but as I was walking over to my choice of targets, a 5×5 stepped out.”
“I saw a deer and shot, oh good, it was a buck!” “The pheasant wasn’t cackling, but I shot It anyway. Thank goodness it was a Rooster.” “I heard a sound and shot, Oh great it was a gobbler!” “The No Trespassing sign fell down, I guess it is OK to hunt there now.”
It is true we are just human, but we also have the ability to make smart choices. If you don’t have permission to trespass, then don’t. If you know there’s a chance you may get into trouble, then don’t. Say NO to being stupid! If the shot is not a safe or sure bet, then don’t pull the trigger. It is as simple as that.
For some, it is just about filling a tag or a limit. “I paid for the license and I am owed a limit or critter.”
It becomes “did you git yer elk or deer?” It doesn’t matter how, as long as you can say you got one. In many cases it is more about the ego than the tag. Often it is not even about the meat.
Well guess what? Not all hunters and anglers break the rules. Many of us pride ourselves on NOT breaking the rules. Many sportsmen and sportswomen take great pride in following the rules and limits. It can be harder to be honest and not knowingly break the law. The rule breakers make the rest of us look bad. They unknowingly become the PETA poster children that could end up ruining “outdoor blood sports” for everyone.
Now, I am not professing to be “Saint Montana Grant”, but making bad choices is a conscious decision. Learn from your poor choices and mistakes. If you don’t, then at least admit to being stupid!
As a child, hunting and fishing were wonderful ways to teach and understand laws, limits, and good choices. It was fun to share our stories and adventure with friends and parents. If the stories started to change, suddenly questions were being asked. It is so funny how easy it is to remember the truth.
We are not judged or measured by how many fish we catch or how big a critter was. Our legacy is more about how we helped others catch their limits or fill their tags. What have you done lately to promote our sport in an honest and positive way? Poachers are thieves, while mentors are legends. When was the last time you took a kid or rookie fishing or hunting?
It is amazing how something as simple as catching a fish can make a difference in a person’s life. “Everyone remembers their first time!” Their first fish, buck, or critter is a special memory and bond between friends. Why would you ever waste this incredible opportunity by breaking the laws or rules? Why have and tell a story that is a lie? The solution to this problem is simple.
“When in Doubt, DON”T!”
May you fill your limits and tags honestly.