Just checking our group "pulse", if you will. I'm sure hunting's changed a bit since my first (unsuccessful - but important) season back in 1979. What will make you wince when you go to the woods this fall? Just a few of mine:
1. Hunters who think money can buy skill. These folks are the ones who tend to get lost when the batteries in the fifty-channel, color LCD screen, text-messaging GPS die. Now it appears there are digital riflescopes? What kind of batteries do those use? (I plan on putting a few in my pack, just in case I run across a "stranded" hunter who has a C-note to trade for a AAA battery).
2. Death of the Marksman. Contributed to by No. 1 (above). Seems it's not so important how well you shoot, but how good you look while doing it. I think most of us could be safe buying a box of shells and letting someone who brags about 500-yard shots blast away at us with them at that same range? C'mon now, most of us can barely see something (unaided) that far away. Sniping isn't hunting.
3. A rifle has to kick the bejeezus out of you if you're to prove you're really a man. No wonder the women I know who hunt generally shoot circles around the men? I'll admit, my .375 has vaporized a few prairie dogs, but once the novelty wore off, the pain set in and I was back behind the .243 or the .223.
4. ATVs. What part of "Road Closed" do we not seem to understand? Is it proper etiquette when armed with an ATV to not crash through the Forest Service's locked and posted gate, but rather - to go around it?
5. "Biggest-buck-itis" As if rack size were a measure of the size of our manhood? I don't think I'll ever be prouder of myself than the day I shot my first deer (a 3x4), though I've shot bigger ones since.
6. Food plots? Why not grow a deer in your fenced yard all summer, fatten him up, and blast him come fall? What's so "natural" about a food plot? What's the difference between a "food plot" and "baiting?"
7. Will the kids we bring into the sport respect us as their elder one day because of the gear we'll bequeath them, or by the skills we've imparted upon them?
8. Death of the hunter. The hunter I am nearly certain I will meet this season, though armed with the latest super-short-ultra-mag, digital scope, GPS, walkie-talkie, ATV driving down the closed road will be cursing that he hasn't seen anything in over 100 miles.
I sincerely hope you folks here will reassure me that I won't run into #8.
Just so I'm not accused of flaming, I DO own two GPS units, as well as two well-worn lensatic compasses. I've succumbed to the same marketing and have two "magnum" calibers in the gun safe, though for some reason I shoot "standard" calibers much more accurately. I'd like to have an ATV, but not necessarily to use while hunting (I don't think it'd fit in the back of the pickup in the first place - where would the deer/elk/pronghorn fit?). I can make a 600-yard shot on a 12" steel plate with a HB .22-250 Varminter off a bipod, but I'm a better shot when the range isn't so long.
Errbody hunt safe this season.