On The Road

Saturday April 3rd was the opening day of Turkey Season in the part of Texas where I happened to be staying between PBR events. My good friends down there are die hard Turkey hunters and invited me to go along in the morning. As I sat there with a Shotgun in my lap and the decoys out in front of me an hour before light, listening to the intermittent gobbling of roosted birds, I was reminded of the Turkey hunting I did with my Dad when I was young in Upstate New York. Where I was raised Turkey and Deer hunting were the only “big” game we had and we took it pretty serious. But what really came back to me on that crisp Texas morning was how much fun Turkey hunting with a shotgun was. Since moving to Montana 11 or so years ago I had only been hunting birds with my bow, and almost always out of a blind. I realized I missed the old school run and gun style of Turkey hunting and really enjoyed the shotgun!

I recently read an article by an outdoor writer and personality whom I have alot of respect for. However I was bothered by one of the points in his article and it has really caused me some distress since. The author basically stated that a hunter who started out his hunt with archery equipment and then switched to a gun part of the way through the hunt to harvest an animal was “giving up” or “cheating”. I have a real problem with this. This particular author is a pure bowhunter, and a great one. He personally chooses to hunt only with a bow and for HIM picking up a gun would compromise HIS principles. Thats great! I admire him for this, but my problem is that he is pushing his choice of weapon on other hunters and judging them for their choices. Consider this-maybe the hunter that switches to a gun from a bow during a hunt wanted to try to challenge himself by using archery equipment but at the end of the day he is a guy with only two weeks of vacation and he really spread himself thin to pay for this hunt. I’m sure he will get just as much satisfaction out of taking home his trophy with a gun. We are under constant attack in the hunting world by uninformed zealots who would love to make what we love illegal. We need to stick together as HUNTERS to make our sport and heritage show a strong unified front. I dont think now is the time for role models in the hunting industry to form little sub-groups based on weapon preference. I love to hunt with a bow but I am not a bowhunter, I also love to hunt with a rifle or shotgun but I am not a gun hunter….I am a HUNTER. I love to hunt. I love the traditions and camaraderie passed down to me by my father and I love the sights, smells and sounds of the woods and the mountains. These things have absolutely nothing to do with what weapon I may be carrying. So to this author I say, please don’t draw lines in the outdoors my friend, we are all in this together enjoying what God made possible for us. We may all share a campfire together one day and I don’t want to be embarrassed to show a picture of a buck I killed with my rifle or a Turkey I killed with my shotgun. Again these are just my thoughts and I mean no disrespect. This author has done alot for the hunting world and I would even consider him a friend, but our strength is in numbers and we are all in this together. Whichever your weapon or weapons of choice who among isnt a HUNTER?

One Response to “On The Road”

  1. Rob Bartley says:

    Right on Ryan! I have noticed the same thing in magazine articles and television shows. The whole outdoor experience is what each of us make of it. Ralph and Vicki Cianciarulo have been preaching the same message as you just have for a few years now. We need to stick together and not look down on others for how they choose to enjoy the experience of the outdoors. Wheather shotgun for turkeys or an AR for predators it really makes no difference. Just get out there and enjoy it!