BE YOUR BEST!!!
By Montana Grant

Posted: October 27, 2022

I went to a fishing access site along the Gallatin River today. Laying in the parking lot was the remains of a rooster pheasant. The breasts, legs, and tail feathers were removed, and the carcass tossed in the gravel. WTF!!!

What kind of hunter would do such a disrespectful thing? They wanted and appreciated the meat, feathers, and fun but screw what other people think. Not only is the appearance gross, what a way to disrespect this beautiful bird, and certainly no respect for the current avian bird flu. Why would you leave fish guts, pheasant carcasses, big game carcasses, or trash where others get to see your bad behaviors? Public spaces belong to everyone!

CWD has become a huge concern in Montana. Part of the problem is the dumping of carcasses of butchered game. For some reason, public land and fishing accesses seem to attract these game litterbugs. The reason public lands seem to be abused is that the abusers feel like they are disrespecting the government, state, or some other impersonal venue. How ridiculous!

Like it or not, other citizens and their children use these public lands. It’s true that these properties are paid for by Sportsmen. Very few dollars come from any other group. These areas are the perfect classrooms to display what a “Sportsman” is. Future hunters visit these sites as well. What memory and lesson do they take away?

There is nothing like coming to your favorite fishing spot and finding it filled with fish guts. Who wants to hunt a place full of bones, skulls, and fur? This is what thieves, crooks, poachers, and selfish abusers leave in their wake.

 If you Goggle Great Sportsmen, what comes up are basketball, football, baseball, and “sportsmen that rarely give back to society. If you need help, good luck calling on them. Hunters and fishermen used to be important in our society. They fed us and helped us survive. When I think of great sportsmen I think of Fred Bear, Daniel Boone, Davey Crockett, Lefty Kreh, Charlie Brooks, and so many other unselfish and dedicated “Sportsmen”!

Every time good and honest Sportsmen get turned away from private access, we hear the same story. Hunters dumped their carcasses in our ditch, Hunters cut my fence and broke my gate, hunters trespassed and shot the best deer on my land, the last group of floaters left their trash along my riverbank, my cow was shot, my irrigator was used for target practice, …

Tell me if I am wrong. People calling themselves “hunters”, “Fishermen”, and “Sportsmen”, leave their bad behavior and trash behind for everyone else to cleanup. We are all sick of it.  If just one idiot disrespects their land, critters, property, buildings, or space, the rest of us end up paying the bill. Even the passed along story ruins access for true, respectful, sportsmen. True “Sportsmen and women are tired of being measured by the poachers, trespassers, vandals, and thieves.

In their wake money talks and sportsmen walk. Outfitters are filling in the void left in this wake of abuse. A big fat check for the private landowner’s access heals any rumors or experiences of these trashy and disrespectful “sportsmen”.

It’s not the landowner’s fault. These law breakers, poachers, trespassers, and losers, have no right to call themselves “Sportsmen”! Many reasonable landowners would be happy to allow respectful Sportsmen onto their land. Offer your skills to the landowner. Can you plant trees, help with their needs, assist in some way?

My request and mantra are to Please Be Your Best! Demonstrate through your actions and behaviors what a true Sportsmen is. Teach future hunters, fishermen, and sportsmen the right way to be. Make this model impressive and respectful. This includes everyone that gets to enjoy our public places paid for by hunters and fishermen. You are welcome.

Real Sportsmen and women are sick of getting labeled by the abusers. Use your cellphones to film and record violations. Report the criminals. Be courteous to landowners, other hunters, and law enforcement. At some point, we can turn the negative into a positive.

Set the positive example and BE YOUR BEST!!!

Montana Grant