Sunday, November 7, 2010

Pet Peeves. Or I'm With Stupid.

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.


texwisgirl said...

Well said!

Being a property owner, we've had the beer bottles and trash thrown onto our land by passing "yahoos" who just want to get it out of their vehicle. We've had reckless shooting in the woods that is part neighbor's and part ours - close enough I could hear the bullets whiz by me in the pasture. We had a neighbor's son help himself to fishing in our pond without permission - a grown son, not a kid (nothing like coming home from work and finding a strange man you've never met on your dock...) So, yeah, there's plenty of folks out there with bad habits who feel it's their right to share them with others.

Thanks for a really well-written post. Hope you run into more good sportsmen and women than bad. :)

Anonymous said...

Brian, this is an excellent post. I think you pretty well covered the areas of Stupidity that immediately come to my mind. The "garbage" problem caused by those who litter or dump garbage in our great outdoors is one of my biggest peeves. I think another is simply rather you are a hunter or angler or otherwise, just follow the rules established in your state and area. The outdoors still has those folks who think it is their given right to hunt and fish where they want and to use whatever method they want. I have a series that I have ran over on my blog where I have attempted to call out some offenders and give them negative publicity for their stupid stunts that got them hauled in for fish and game violations. It is called the "Pull Your Head Out" Awards.

Casey said...

Most of my bad experience is with "crowders", litterbugs, and people who just give the outdoorsperson a bad rep by just being idiots (which encompasses a lot of the things you covered). I may have problems with humans in general, but, when someone who is supposed to be a "kindred spirit" is being an idiot, that REALLY irks me.

Great post, BTW.

Take care -


Rogue Huntress said...

This is a really great post and I can relate to all this stuff. We have big issues with crowding in one of the main areas we hunt deer as it is not the biggest chunk of public land and surrounded by cottage country.
Just this weekend we were calling and rattling from a ground blind in the bush a little ways from a trail when KABOOM, someone on the trail nailed a deer we had likely called in. They were so close we could hear them walking and talking when they came into the bush to retrieve their kill.
Another thing that just pisses me off in this area is when people gut their deer right where they shoot them. We found a gut pile right on a scrape after going to investigate the sounds of crows going nuts. There are tons of places you could dispose of remains other than right where you hunt or more importantly where other people are still trying to hunt! We always toss ours in an old abandoned pit where we also sight in our guns or bows. NOT right in our hunting area where we still want to see deer, not wolves or coyotes. Last year, one of our prime hunting spots for rifle was barren of deer and loaded with wolf tracks after the first weekend warriors dumped their guts right on the trail in.

troutrageous1 said...

"Don't crowd me bro" sums it up for me as far as outdoor pet peeves.

I already know that people are pigs and will certainly leave trash behind. All I can do is pick it up.

Bill said...

It looks as if I could have wrote this post myself. We share a lot of the same pet peeves.

I guess one of my biggest is the amount of trash left along our streams after the opening weekend of trout. Bait containers, empty hook packs, ect. are seemingly everywhere. It truly is a shame.

heyBJK said...

texwisgirl: There are definitely plenty of people who feel they can do whatever they like whenever they like. For landowners that can be very aggravating.

Mel: Your "Pull Your Head Out" awards are awesome! I had to go take a look. Nicely done! I like it!

Casey: I sometimes have problems with humans in general, too! LOL! Maybe it's just me, but there are times when it doesn't take much to annoy me.

Rogue Huntress: It's sad when other hunters do things like that. Being a lifelong hunter I hate to see other hunters behaving with no regard for anyone else. We should be supporting each other.

troutrageous1: You're right, Mike. Unfortunately, there will always be pigs. It's a shame others have to clean up their mess.

Bill: Thanks for stopping by! I do a lot of stream fishing for smallmouth bass and I've seen stuff in the water that I never thought would be there. It makes me wonder how some people's minds are wired.

I appreciate all the comments! Thanks for the feedback!

Ward said...

So far I've been lucky to not have to deal with many of them directly although I'm lock step with your opinion of it all. What makes me mental are shotgun shells. Nothing burns my muffins more than seeing old shotgun shells scattered around the bush. Of all the groups of people that can be out and about it's hunters who should be the most sensitive to human impact on our environment.

Love Kentucky by the way. Been there many many many times. I absolutely love the Lexington area. Must be all those horse farms :)

Albert Quackenbush said...

Hi Brian. Great post. In regards to the garbage, one thing I recommend to my friends and new hunters is to bring a small trash bag with them to pick up the cans and litter that others leave behind. I do understand that sometimes there is a lot more than we can handle, but the stray can or Styrofoam container can easily be put in a bag. It's not ideal, but it's a step in making our hunting areas cleaner and more enjoyable.

While we do share many of the same pet peeves, I am going to play Devil's Advocate here on two topics. The property border and trespassing. I realize I might tick off a few people, but hear me out for the purpose of discussion.

I know that property borders are a hot issue, but what if you are hunting your property and you know the turkeys are roosting on the neighbors property and coming over to yours to feed? Out of respect and safety you might give them plenty of space on the border. Yet, you might hunt close to it if you didn't know if anyone else was hunting the property and you had a better chance of bagging a turkey by being close to the property line. It's a touchy subject, I know and if I know someone is hunting close to the border of my property I usually give them some space, but I am sure to let them know I am nearby.

Trespassing is a hot issue, especially in California. I am unsure of what the law states in Kentucky, but out here if the land isn't posted properly you can technically go on it. Even if it is private land. Now, if you are asked by the property owner to leave you must leave. I carry all of the hunting laws with me in my pack in case I am asked by a someone. Many hunters out here go on unposted, privately owned land for many reasons. You still need to know the firearms laws for county and city for where you are hunting. If you have properly posted your property and people are hunting it, well then, that's a different ballgame and they are to be dealt with accordingly.

Keep up the blogging!


heyBJK said...


Thanks for visiting and the great comments! I know many folks, especially anglers, who routinely pick up trash others have left behind. It's a good practice, although a shame it has to be that way.

I agree about the property border issue. In the case of the neighbors who own land adjoining ours, that was not the first time they had done that. They know our property is much smaller than their 800 acres. And that's 800 wooded acres of good hunting land. The line is marked by fencing and signs. Obviously, they can hunt anywhere on their own property. My thing is if the roles were reversed, I would give the property boundary on that side plenty of space out of respect for fellow sportsmen. Maybe that's just me and they certainly aren't obligated to show the same respect.

Legally, our trespassing laws are similar. If you are on unmarked property and are informed that it is private, you must leave. The people I was referring to, perhaps unclearly, were those who trespass even when they know they can't be there. And even when a property isn't marked with physical signs, there are often other indicators that the property is privately owned. Even if it is legal in a case like that, I feel it is the responsibility of sportsmen to know whether they are welcome, which would make it more of an ethical issue, I suppose.

I appreciate your input! Thanks!