Sooner or later we all deal with "stupid" people. Some of us more often than others. The hunting, fishing, shooting, and outdoors community is not exempt from the not-so-funny, annoying, and sometimes dangerous behavior of these people. I call them stupid, but often they know exactly what they're doing and their actions are intentional. Or they know better, but just don't care. No matter how you categorize them, there are things people do that really get on my last nerve and give the rest of us that proverbial bad name. I'm going to list some of the things I've experienced that annoy the happy right outta me and then see what pet peeves you have. I'm going to venture a guess that they're very similar.
This Ain't Your Personal Garbage Dump
There's no excuse for leaving trash behind. Period. I've been in the woods and come across pop or beer cans that looked like they had been there for ten years. That stuff doesn't just magically disappear. Same goes for plastic items. If somebody wants to do that to their own land that's one thing, but it should never be done on public land or when a guest on another owner's property. Throwing trash into a lake or stream is even worse because it's not nearly as easy to clean up. This one is pretty straightforward. If you carry it in, carry it out.
(Gypsies, Tramps, and) Thieves
Many of us who spend time outdoors have experienced theft of some kind. I hate thieves. Treestands, trail cams, ATV's, firearms, fishing tackle, and even downed game have all been targets of thieves. Vehicles parked at landings, access points, and hunting locations are popular targets. There's simply no excuse. I normally won't leave stands on public land. A good friend I hunt with bought a cheap hang-on stand to use on some public land we occasionally hunt. He locks it on the tree, but if somebody steals it, his thought is that he's not out a lot of money. If it doesn't belong to you, there's no excuse for taking it. Thieves have ruined many an outing for people. In my mind, it's worse if the people who steal are other hunters or anglers. They don't deserve to be called sportsmen because sportsmen don't behave that way.
Don't Crowd Me, Bro
You get in the woods or on the water nice and early and get all set up. You're excited and hopeful. The next thing you know, you see another hunter come in and set up fifty yards away or another boat pulls up within casting distance of you. It is possible to end up close to another hunter without realizing they're there at first. When you do figure it out, common courtesy would dictate you move on and find another spot. Crowding other anglers is usually not a mistake. Nobody likes being cut off on a lake or river.
Last April, three of us were turkey hunting on our land. We heard a tom gobbling and had to do some work covering a lot of ground to get in position to call him in. We went back and forth with this tom for quite some time. He sounded hot, but after thirty minutes, it became apparent he was moving away from us. Shortly after that, we heard a gunshot. Long story short, the people who own land adjacent to ours were literally hunting six feet from the property line. A lot of the calling we heard was actually them trying to coax the tom from our property onto theirs. They had shot at the turkey as it flew past them, but weren't sure if they hit it. This wasn't the first time they had hunted right on the line. And it wasn't the first time we had confronted them about it. Yes, they were on their property, but whats aggravating is they own 800 hundred acres - many times the amount of land we have. They could easily hunt far enough away from our property that we would never see each other, but they choose not to. This is a matter of common courtesy and respect in my book.
Safety or Lack Thereof
Nothing gets me out of my happy place faster than unsafe firearms handling. I don't want a gun pointed in my direction...ever. And don't try to be funny and say, "don't worry, it's not loaded". People who can't master the simple rules of firearms safety don't deserve to have them. Don't stand around and chit chat with your gun casually pointed in the direction of others. Don't sight in your gun or check your scope's zero by shooting without knowing what's in the background. And don't take shots at game unless you know you have a safe background. People who walk around with their finger in the trigger guard are just asking for trouble.
Anglers have their share of problems, too, with people who operate boats or jet skis in a reckless manner. I avoid fishing a lot of lakes during the summer for this very reason. There are just too many idiot operators on the water.
This is another pet peeve that is not only highly annoying, but also illegal. If you don't belong there, don't be there. It's one thing to be genuinely lost or mixed up, but when you know you are hunting or fishing where you shouldn't be, I have no sympathy. The people who feign ignorance when caught are the worst. And if they shoot game while trespassing, now they've also stolen what doesn't belong to them. Do the work and seek permission like the majority of sportsmen.
Generally Poor Behavior
I cringe when I see somebody fishing or hunting and acting a fool. We joke about the beer drinkin' redneck hunter stereotypes, but there's a reason those stereotypes exist...because some people actually behave that way. How does tossing beer cans out the window of your big, noisy four-wheel drive truck while "road hunting" promote anything but a negative image? Rudeness is not a good way to make a favorable impression on the general public, either. For that matter, it doesn't go over well with other hunters or anglers. People will generally remember a negative encounter more so than a good one. The non-fishing, non-hunting public often associates bad behavior with all sportsmen. We have enough to deal with in protecting our sport without slobs making it more difficult.
What Are Yours?
These are big pet peeves in my outdoors book. What are things you've seen or experienced that annoy you? And it doesn't just happen to hunters and anglers. Campers, hikers, photographers, and anyone who spends time outdoors have seen things that flip their switch. I know my list isn't all inclusive. And that's unfortunate.