When I was growing up I used to read in the Big 3 outdoor magazines about "slob hunters". Every other issue or so there would be an editorial encouraging hunters to behave well to avoid alienating landowners and non-hunters. "Slob hunters" was the slogan or phrase that the writers and editors adopted to label thoughtless, crude, or destructive behavior. To tell the truth, I never thought too much about the term or the exhortations. We didn't do that sort of thing and I was fortunate never to really run across any egregious examples of bad behavior. Now, the following isn't really that egregious, I don't suppose, but it is a good example of some low-level carelessness that just can't do hunting any good.
The area I hunt ducks is a stretch of river between towns, but surrounded by fields and houses. Access is via locked gates administered by a conservancy district. You pay an annual fee to get a key. The stretch through which the river runs is a mile or so between levees, the space not water taken up with cottonwood river bottom forest and tangles of salt cedar (tamarisk) and Russian olive. Coming out from a hunt the other day, I let myself through the gate to see the following:
some fellow hunters who had enjoyed a decent morning cleaned their four ducks (two mallard hens, a drake, and a hen widgeon) and left the offal, heads, feet, and wings in the road right by the gate, almost in the access road. Now, what would the folks using that land behind the gate in the background think when they come across the bits and pieces as they go to fetch some of their hay? I'd guess they would probably elevate hunters from the minor annoyance of "guys who drive by in the early morning and make the dog bark" to "slobs". For that matter, quite a few folks ride their horses or bikes down the levee roads, even down there. A bunch of duck guts and heads isn't going to strike them well, either. What I really don't understand is, why there? That levee road runs for ten miles before the next gate, with hundreds of acres of forest they could have cleaned their ducks in and left the remains out of sight. Advertising their success? I tossed all the bits over the edge of the ditch bank for the delectation of the first crow, coon, coyote, or other scavenger to happen upon it. The scattered feathers won't draw flies and I didn't bother to hunt them down. I kind of wish I'd run into these folks as they were dressing the birds, just to ask "why here?" and hope it would shame them into a bit more discretion. It's not a big thing, but, heck, so avoidable.
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