If you’re not in a Facebook hunting group, are you really a hunter? All kidding aside, there are thousands of hunting groups in the U.S. I find myself a member of several in Missouri and Kansas. Recently, an interesting post appeared in “Missouri Deer Hunters” and as soon as I read it, I knew controversy would ensue in the comments.
Unfortunately I was unable to screenshot some of it before comments and members were deleted. But if you have hunted long enough, you can probably imagine how well this post went over. There were two factions, starting with those who completely disagreed with this request. They thought he should “deal with it” because that’s what you get with public hunting. The second was all the hunters who couldn’t believe how disrespectful the first group could be towards this guy. They thought he had made a perfectly “reasonable” request.
I’ll admit, the guys who responded negatively did not go about it the right way. However, that doesn’t mean they are incorrect in their sentiments. I was actually very surprised to see so many people supporting this guy’s request for a variety of reasons.
I believe this man’s post was naive at best. In fact, I think it borders on downright selfishness. Tell us how you really feel, Tyler…
Well, let me elaborate.
Why is he wrong for making the request?
The August A. Busch Memorial Conservation Area near St. Louis is completely open to the public. The only time I’m aware of it and other conservation areas closing to the public are during managed muzzleloader hunts or area maintenance. Hunters are not the only ones who utilize this conservation area, either. Many fishing lakes and hiking trails are open for use a majority of the year, including during archery managed hunts.
Just because one activity, in this case archery season, is going on, doesn’t mean others can’t enjoy the area as well. Plain and simple, we as citizens own the public land together. We have every right to be there, no matter what activity we are partaking in, as long as it’s legal.
The original poster makes specific reference to those who were drawn to hunt the same area in October and December. He asks those hunters to “give us September hunters our time” by not scouting the area during the September hunt period. Essentially, he is elevating the importance of his own hunting experience and success above others.
In reality, he will have an opportunity to up his chances of success by scouting the area before his September hunt, but doesn’t want October hunters to take the same opportunity to improve their chances. How is that a “fair favor” or “reasonable request” to ask of those other hunters?
You might say, “well, why don’t the October hunters just scout before September, too? Then everyone will be happy.”
Scouting knowledge in August and early September will be useless for hunters who were drawn to hunt in October. In October, deer will make drastic changes from their summer patterns as they follow food sources and transition into the mating season. Therefore, it is perfectly reasonable for October hunters to want to do their scouting closer to their hunt time i.e. in mid to late September while the September managed hunt is taking place.
Lastly, he mentions ruined hunts by other hunters in previous years. What he doesn’t mention are the disrupted hunts by non-hunters, like hikers and bicyclists. Ryan Miloshewski, who has drawn Busch Conservation Area before, can attest to the challenge of dealing with people who unknowingly walk into your hunting set up. But that’s one of the unique challenges with public hunting, among many others.
What he could have done differently
Obviously, I disagree with the way this man made his request and his reasoning for it. I think it was an inappropriate request to ask of his fellow hunters. Ultimately, he came off as extremely selfish, whether he intended to or not.
So, here’s how he could have better phrased his post and truly been making a “reasonable” request to his fellow hunters.
Instead of asking them to refrain from scouting, which is an unrealistic expectation, he should have asked them to keep a respectful distance of September hunters during scouting endeavors. Basically, if you see an archery hunter on stand, go the other way. If you see a car parked in an area, do not go traipsing through the woods where that hunter may be. No hunter wants another to come marching in and disturb his spot. If you have reason to believe someone is hunting nearby, it’s easy to just go scout another area. Both parties win.
Lastly, instead of asking fellow hunters in the Facebook group to stay out of the woods while he hunts, he should have made a request for them to help educate the general public on courtesy of other hunters. Folks that are fishing, biking, or hiking are far more numerous than archery hunters and are more likely to be ones disrupting hunts. Respectfully asking those folks to be courteous of hunters would likely have a much more tangible, positive effect on hunt activities than asking other hunters to stay out of the woods. After all, hunters are the ones who are actually focused on being quiet and stealthy.
I’ve made my case for why I think this hunter was in the wrong for making his request. Let’s hear what you think about it. Comment below! Remember, please be respectful! 🙂