Friday, April 3, 2009

What Is Wrong With Texas Sportsmen?

I have recently seen Texas sportsmen attack others and separate ranks over a bunch of issues. It has become quite the thing to call other people names and inferior if they do something different than the way you think is right, ethical or moral. I can not understand where all these people get the attitude that only their methods are acceptable. If a method of hunting, fishing or any other outdoor sport is legal and approved by the State powers of regulation then have at and have fun.

A famous person once said that we should all stick together or surely we would hang apart. There are enough ANTI groups out there without us becoming our own enemy.

I have received derogatory email about other groups, heard lots of name calling, even seen threats made over some of the things I am about to cover. Many of us need to step back and take a look at ourselves and get over whatever it is that bothers us about others enjoying the outdoors in whatever legal way they please.

The first issue is hunting a high fence ranch, boy does that start fights. The next is hunting bait or feeders. You can even add food plots planted to draw in game birds, waterfowl and big game to the list. What difference does it make as long as it is done legally and fair chase. If you do not want to hunt one of those scenarios then don’t but stay out of other people's business.

The dyed in the wool bowhunters are up in arms against the crossbow people. I have read so much conflict over this I get ill. Who cares if you use a Compound bow, Longbow, Recurve or Crossbow? If you do not want to use one of the above then don’t. Many hunters do not want to share the woods with those that use a different weapon than they do. Those days in Texas are over; we have too many people here not to share our Outdoors. I will use whatever method I want, thank you very much.What difference does it make if you hunt turkey with a shotgun, rifle or bow but that seems to be another topic to fight over? That is not even taking into account whether you use a call, decoy or pop-up blind.

I have heard fights about gigging flounder or shooting catfish with a bow by those that fish with a rod and reel. There are people that want to restrict what caliber you can use for whatever game because they want to decide what is an ethical caliber to hunt with and what is not. Most of the hunting heroes of old would have been shooting guns that this group would not approve of today. Daniel Boone and Davy Crockett carried Kentucky squirrel rifles but lots of big game fell to those small rifles. How many Mule Deer, Elk and Bear fell to the old 30/30? Kids today can not even hunt a squirrel with a pump up pellet rifle as that is now against the law. How many of us as kids began hunting by using a pellet rifle on squirrel? I know my friends and I did.

I get email about hunting exotics on Texas ranches and how it is like hunting livestock. Those hunters have never hunted exotics such as Aoudad in the Big Bend Country or free ranging Axis Deer around Sonora. If they hunted any of the thousands of free range exotics or those behind high fences on large ranches, they would find that most are as difficult if not more so than a Texas Whitetail. What about hog hunting or pheasants which are neither one native game. It always seems that many that want to ban or outlaw something have never done or know really nothing about it.

Another issue is what age can you take your son or daughter hunting. The State has even got into this issue and made laws to such. I can tell you on my place no one will tell me at what time my children or grandchildren are ready to hunt with a rifle. That decision will be made by me and the parents. How in the world can you pick an age and say that works for all kids? I killed my first deer when I was six years old but I also was driving a tractor and plowing by nine. It just depends on the maturity level of the child and how they were raised. I have know grown people that I would not let hunt alone on my place.

A lot of what other people are trying to force on everyone should be decided by individuals or landowners. That is much of our problem today, too many want the government to do everything and are no longer willing to stand up and be responsible for themselves. Step up and be a man or a woman and not a subject.

I often hunt predators, varmints, hogs and even deer with an AR-15 platform rifle. I pulled it out on a hunt the other day and had someone say that I could not use it to hunt. When I asked why, they said it was an assault rifle. It is a semi auto rifle no more no less. ASSAULT IS A VERB not a rifle. Talk about being brain washed. They then said it was not ethical because it held over 5 cartridges. How many rounds does granddad’s 30/30 hold folks?

I recently had a hunting buddy tell me that it would not bother him if they banned AR-15 rifles as he did not have one and none of his guns are on the liberals ban list. Guess what, they want them all not just the AR-15 and when they get some they will come back for more. Your kids .22 semi-auto rifle and your semi-auto shotgun are on the list.

In my favorite sport of Falconry, the United States Fish and Wildlife recently released the new Falconry Regulations to be adopted by the State. Some Texas falconers have decided that the regulations need to be stricter and they want to decide who can get into the sport and who is qualified to teach new falconers. They also want to decide what birds other people are allowed to use in falconry. If you do not want to fly a certain bird or practice falconry a certain way then don't, and quit trying to have laws created to hold others back. If this continues, the ancient sport of falconry will die out in a generation maybe less.

Many others sit back as certain methods or sports are attacked and outlawed. Recently trapping has been under attack and live pigeon shoots have been outlawed forever. I have heard some say that they did not mind, they never did it and maybe it should be illegal. Remember the pigeons used are causing millions of dollars of damages a year and many areas are screaming for tax dollars to help get rid of pigeons. The people that trapped them for sale are now unemployed and we will all have to pay to have pigeons trapped, killed and poisoned in the future. How far a jump is it to outlaw bird dog field trials where pen raised birds are planted, flushed by a dog and shot? What about stocked hunting preserves or falconry sky trials? Not too far a jump for the antis in my opinion. When predator trapping is gone and predators take over how will that effect the game populations where you hunt?

I can’t believe the thought process of some of these people that claim to be SPORTSMEN as they sure are not what I grew up knowing as sportsmen. We all need to step back and evaluate our methods and make sure we are pursuing the sport as we believe we should. Are we preventing or trying to prevent others from enjoying other outdoor pursuits? We also need to get our noses out of everybody else’s business and leave that up to those that enforce our hunting and fishing laws. There are plenty of people that will push to outlaw your sport and they are trying to divide and conquer right now. If we are not careful we will eventually regulate each other out of our outdoor sports. Then everybody can sit around and play video games or watch stuff on TV. Think about it, Wild Ed

You might like to check out a discussion on ethical hunting at the following link to a friend's Blog.


gmt said...


Great post...I completely and totally agree with you....Welcome to America.....The Land of the

Albert A Rasch said...


Great post and very valid points.

Now let me ask you, are there that many falconers out there, that the number must somehow be restricted? That has got to be the most ludicrous thing I have yet heard! It must be some old guys that don't like the younger fellows hunting with an I-Pod in their ears. I'm just guessing that's all.

The crossbow issue is another one that drives me mad! For God's sake let em hunt; if it gets ONE more person out and into hunting, it has done its job!

Thanks again for your great comments and participation.

The Rasch Outdoor Chronicles
The Range Reviews: Tactical
Proud Member of Outdoor Bloggers Summit

Wild Ed said...

Albert there are less than 300 licensed falconers in the Great State of Texas. Falconry is the most over regulated sport in the USA. A study done by the USFW department showed that the only impact falconers had on raptors if any was positive yet the unreal regulations continue.

Anonymous said...

Great article Ed and you are right on in your views. Ricky

Anonymous said...

Couldn't have said it better. By the way, if you fishermen think you are not in this fight, you are sadly mistaken. Access to beaches, restriction of vehicles and harassment by local officials is already taking place all over the county, including Texas. Like Wild Ed says, sportsmen better stick together or we are all going to be looking for some other ways to spend quality time with our families.

tom said...

You already saw my two pence at Albert's and I think we agree. People should do what they want and mind their own business about what others do as long as it isn't damaging to game stocks and legal.

I hunt with an AR at times and have gotten literally crucified a few years back on a hunting board for taking a Large big game animal with a bolt action .223 in TWO DIFFERENT WAYS. Make that three ways: Some people crucified me for using a .223. Some people crucified me for it being a head shot (more people than I ever imagined are staunchly anti-head shot but I'm of the theory that you don't eat antlers and I'm not a brain eater, myself). The balance of the people crucified me for all of the above.

It was my hunt. The animal was ethically and cleanly hunted and fell with one shot. I told them if they didn't like it they could pay for my next hunts and I'd be glad to use any suitable rifles and ammunition they provided me for free to meet their specs.

I don't care what people say about "poodleshooters" or "mattell toys" in a disparaging way. They've taken quite a bit of game, large and small. They and Mini-14s are the go to culling rifle of a number of ranchers and ranch hands I know and have known.

God help my non-internet oriented friend if he ever posted to many of the blogs and forums that his go to rifle for everything of late is a .204 Ruger.

Well Stated Wild Ed,

Anonymous said...

Why can't we all just get along?.............

Wild Ed said...

Tom my daughter and my wife hunt with .223 rifles. I have taken cull deer and exotics for several ranches and used a .223 and never lost an animal while culling. It is all in bullet placement. I guided for many years and spent a lot more time trailing deer shot badly with a magnum the shooter was afraid of than I did small calibers that the client shot well. We head shoot all our does as we are harvesting them for meat. I have taught my wife and daughter to take a rest before shooting so they can place the bullet where it needs to go.

tom said...

Our first Texas neighbors that hunted when dad's posting took us to San Antone had a son my age that became my best friend. His second gun (after a .22 marlin) was a handed down O/U .222/20 gauge Savage from his older brother. God only knows how many deer fell to that gun, he and his dad tended to not let tags go to waste as they mostly lived off game meat. He never lost a deer that I can remember. His dad would have whooped him for wasting ammo.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

I think you are so right about this. Sportsmen and women need to work together or their won't be anything left for which to work. It's that simple.

native said...

You said it all Ed! Great post, lets just hope that people are really listening.

TOTWTYTR said...

I'm not a hunter, don't know if I ever will be. I am a shooter and an effort to curtail any use or type of firearm is an attack on all gun owners.

Your friend should understand that the AR platform is the first because it's an easy one to demonize. All too soon his scoped bolt action .308 will be reclassified as a "sniper rifle", just like the ones used by the military and that too will be taken away.

He'll complain then, but it will be far too late.

Anonymous said...

Well said.