Outdoors

I’m So Over It

I’m cranky, so I’m going to list my grievances

Trends come and go. What seems cute if not downright hilarious the first time or two, often grows tiresome the 20th time it pops up on your news feed. After a spell, you’re done with the latest fad and ready to move on.

Also, it’s fall and I want to be outside, but I’m not. And since I’m not hunting, instead anchored in front of my computer, I’m cranky. So I’m going to list my grievances. And I’ve got plenty. Here are the things I’ve seen way too much of during the past year

I’m so over:

Body count photos. OK, so the boss rewarded the accounting department’s hard work with a day at the local pheasant club. The fields were well stocked, and your coworkers, all 10 of them, managed to kill a few. It’s not that they’re all great shots, but these are birds that spent their lifetime in a pen until the morning of the “hunt.” I’m not judging and I sincerely hope your bonding experience results in greater collegiality and efficiency when you get back to work on Monday. As for that photo of the table sagging under the weight of all those dead birds, while the gang stands in the background swigging post-hunt brewski No. 3, go ahead and take it. Share prints among yourselves. Put it up on the bulletin board in the breakroom if you must. But the rest of us don’t need to see it. And don’t post it on social media. You’ll probably just inspire antis.

Canine breedists. I love my dog. I’m an English setter man for life. But I love hunting with any dog that knows how to find birds. I love Brittanys, German shorthairs, vizslas and even Labs, so long as they hunt. Actually, I love them even if they don’t hunt. Dogs are great. If you’re looking for a dog and ask me about my setter, I’ll tell you what I love about her, as well as what can sometimes be challenging. No breed is perfect. Setters may be the best looking dogs in the field, but after the hunt, while the shorthair guys are relaxing over a refreshing adult beverage, I’m cutting and brushing burrs from her feathery coat.

Fishing snobs. I love fly fishing. I’ve barely fished using any other method for the last decade or so, until this year. For a variety of reasons, 2019 is the first year in a long time that I’ve fished using spinning gear more than I did fly tackle. And it was a hoot. I still love fly fishing best, but if you invite me to join you drowning worms to catch bass in your farm pond, I’ll consider it a generous offer. I’m a fisherman first. A fly fisher second.

Bucket biologists. If you like a type of fish not native to where you currently live, MOVE! Unfortunately, bucket biologists think the answer is to move their fish instead. Most modern fisheries are a mix of native and non-native species. In some cases the two live in a sustainable balance. In others, non-natives have taken over and a new fishery has developed. In either case, dumping a bucket of your favorite fish in your favorite lake threatens to upend that balance.

Helmet-mounted cameras. Great, you’ve got a new GoPro and you decided to mount it to your head while you hunt sharptails. I’ve got news for you — that video sucks. It’s shaky, hard to follow and the perspective makes my brain hurt. You might think shooting video and shooting birds at the same time is the best of both worlds, but it’s really the best of neither. Pro tip: if you want some good hunting footage you need to leave the gun in the truck and focus on video.

Rob Breeding is the editor of www.mthookandbullet.com.