I spend my share of time alone in the woods, but a few days a year, I share the experience with friends hunting whitetail in downstate N.Y.. Some of the guys have been taking the same trip for several years plus a decade without incident, bringing home venison and memories.
This year’s experiences were in line with 2020. As usual we team up to hang tree stands two days before opening day of rifle season. Some of us bow hunt, some chase pheasants, others enjoy camp. All anticipate opening day and few sleep well. Up at 4 am, dressed and out the door to set in a cold dark forest waiting for legal hunting to begin, only to find someone cut your seat in your $100 tree stand. Not one, but two guys had this happen.
Another thing we’ve never seen before was, when first light did finally come, someone came in, saw another hunter and fired his rifle three times into the woods then walked out. We met a Coast Guard fellow from Oregon who had the same thing happen to him. Are these anti hunters, upset locals, or worse?
With Covid 19, hunter education has been done on-line. Is it possible ethics and etiquette can not be taught through a phone or computer screen? When an instructor, (who gave classes free) taught hunter, bow, or trapping classes, they looked you in the eyes and gave you his or her passion. You can’t do that with on-line courses. I think this is too important to leave to remote learning.
I hope this is a safe hunting season, many new hunters are in the woods. I love to see new interest in the outdoor sports. There are enough deer and lands for us all to have a wonderful experience without this kind of harassments. The lack of safety concerns me some. The lack of respect hurts us all. I can only hope these were anti-hunters with a gripe. I would hate to think these were the actions of another hunter; not in our code of ethics.