I thought that it might be interesting to the readers of the "Outdoors" page to generate a list of miscellaneous do's and don'ts involving the outdoor world.
By the time you finish reading this column, perhaps you will find one that is applicable.
If one does ring a bell, apply it and who knows, if you do, the outdoor world might become a little bit better place than it was before.
So, here goes:
-- Do get involved with one of the many, fine, outdoor organizations in this general area. They range all the way from the Capitol City Gun Club to Quail Unlimited. Pick one in which you are interested, make the effort to join that organization and then get actively involved. It is much better to be part of a group process that produces positive results than to sit back, do nothing and constantly complain about what is wrong in the outdoor world. You can make a definite impact by getting involved. Take that first step today.
-- As I have advised before, don't wait until you are at a boat ramp to load or unload your boat with fishing equipment, bait, armloads of clothing, lunches, coolers, etc. And for darn sure, don't wait until you are tying up that ramp before you try to start your boat for the first time that year. That's the last place to be when you discover to your (and everyone else's) horror that the boat motor won't start. Be considerate of other boaters and have your boat ready to be quickly launched, when it's your turn. Most importantly, be patient while you're waiting for those ahead of you to launch or retrieve their boat.
-- Do try to practice "catch and release" fishing, when and where possible. If you are one of those folks, like me, who like to fish but don't particularly care for the taste of fish, turn your catch loose to live for another day. That makes more sense than killing everything that you catch. When you do "catch and release," remember this important tip: As soon as you lift the fish out of the water, hold your breath. If you have not released the fish by the time you run out of breath, take a big gulp of air and put the fish back into the water. It needs to breathe too.
-- Don't be an obnoxious camper. When camping overnight at a campground be considerate of the other campers. They certainly did not pay to spend the night next to a group of people who stay up into the wee hours of the morning, partying, loudly talking and laughing and playing music. The Great Outdoors is a place to be appreciated, not to be resented. Be a good neighbor!
-- Do help stop the poaching of birds, fish, small game and big game.
No matter where you are, if at any time, you see anyone doing anything that looks illegal or suspicious, don't get personally involved but do note all the details that you can, such as: Location, date, time, descriptions of individuals, descriptions of vehicles, license plate numbers, etc.
Then, as soon as you can, call one of these numbers:
In Nevada: Operation Game Thief (OGT): (800) 992-3030.
In California: Turn in Poachers (TIP): (888) 334-2258.
Remember that you can remain anonymous and can also receive a nice cash reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of poachers.
Those low lives can not poach if they are in jail!
-- Don't be a fish hog. There are a few people (very few!) who are extremely inconsiderate of other fishermen. When those jerks discover that they can catch lots of fish in a small creek, stream, river, pond, lake or reservoir, they don't know when to stop. They keep returning, again and again and again. In this day and age, you certainly don't need to keep a limit of dead fish every time you leave your favorite fishing spot. Worse yet, the fish that those dummies kill could have been released back into the water for not only their own enjoyment at a later date but also for the enjoyment of other anglers. Wanna bet that they do not belong to any sportsman's club.
-- Once again, do be very careful when traveling in the outdoors at this time of the year. We are in a very serious drought period. In fact, according to some experts, it is the worst ever in recorded history. Our backcountry is tinder dry and just waiting for one spark or flame to burst into flame.
This is an extremely dangerous time, so please be extremely careful.
Don't drive off established roads, there is too much danger of a spark or hot muffler starting a fire.
If you must smoke, do so inside your vehicle. And be sure to keep that butt inside the vehicle.
If you need a campfire, douse it very carefully. Then, do it again, to be doubly sure.
-- Don't infringe on other anglers. If you fish from shore, don't move in right next to other fishermen, just because they are catching fish. Give them some room. If you fish from a boat, don't troll too close to other boats or to shore fishermen, just because they are catching fish. Give them some room, too. I've never understood why some boaters want to crowd the shoreline at the same time that some shore fishermen want to cast as far out in the lake or reservoir as they can. Geez, maybe they should change positions.
-- Do use your rear-view mirrors when driving down the highway pulling a trailer or in a motor home. This is my No. 1 pet peeve. Some folks never pull over at pull-outs nor do they pay any attention to the traffic stacking up behind them. A classic example was in Alaska in late June, between Fairbanks and Anchorage. An old "geezer" in a motor home had 28 of us stacked up behind him. 28! He apparently could not understand why everyone passing him was honking their horn. Those rear-view mirrors are not decorations, use them.
-- Don't "mean-mouth" other sportsmen. I've never understood why the following occur:
Some fly fishermen look down their noses at "Bait Dunkers."
Some bait fishermen think that fly fishermen are "Pompous."
Some archers ridicule rifle hunters as "Sound Shooters."
Some rife hunters poke fun at "Stick Shooters."
Some boaters snicker at shore fishermen at their favorite lakes.
Some shore fishermen enjoy hassling passing boats.
Etc., etc., etc.
Geez, guys and gals, the bottom line is that we are all sportsmen and sports women, no matter how we hunt or fish. Let's respect one another and our choices of how we enjoy our sport. If we do respect each other, it will be a far better world. Let's stop the mean-mouthing and become fellow sportsmen and sports women mutually enjoying what the Great Outdoors has to offer.
-- So, do any of these ring a bell?
If they do, it might be worthwhile to consider making some changes.
-- Bet Your Favorite Pigeon
Bet your favorite pigeon that he can't name another one of my all time, top, pet peeves.
If he says, "It's those folks who slowly drive a large Buick, Cadillac, Chrysler, Lincoln or Oldsmobile in the fast lane completely oblivious to traffic stacking up behind them," he knows me very well