Utah Congressman Jason Chaffetz underestimated the collective voice of hunters across the country when he introduced his bill — H.R. 621. Basically, this bill would have allowed nicely more than three,000,000 acres of public land to be sold off in what Chaffetz describes as “The long overdue disposal of excess federal lands…”
The reasoning? Fiscal duty and the argument that if the land were below state manage as opposed to the feds, it would be managed for better income. There’s a hell of a lot of precedent out there that argues otherwise, which implies that an awful lot of the federal land that ends up being transferred to state ownership then gets decorated with a for-sale sign. Following that, it is no longer yours or mine. It’s private.
What surprised me about this problem is that it’s largely a western dilemma right now. This is not meant to say that bowhunters across the nation shouldn’t be concerned, because they need to. But the ten states that would have been impacted by H.R. 621 location all west of the Mississippi, most by at least half of a day of drive time or a lot more.
Even understanding this, hunters banded together and bombarded Chaffetz with messages that told him he wasn’t in a position to give up land that belongs to all of us. To his credit, he heard us loud and clear and admitted so and killed the bill. That is a big win for all of us, but to me also shows one thing else that is going on in our nation.
Even though I grew up hunting public land, I didn’t rely on it solely. I do not today either, but I do hunt at least four or 5 states a year whilst never ever setting foot on private ground. Public land is essential to me for a lot of factors. About seven years ago, as a struggling outdoor writer, I was looking for a way to differentiate myself from the pack. The apparent route to take was to turn down most of the guided/outfitted hunts I was presented and go do items on my personal. On public land.
What I accidentally fell into was an undercurrent in our hunting culture exactly where an awful lot of us are tired of the one particular-percenter mentality surrounding bowhunting. Now, I’ve got nothing at all against anybody going on a guided hunt, or purchasing a killer piece of deer ground to grow bucks. I enjoy America — a lot — and I enjoy our possibilities to do as we please.
I just feel that an individual in my position, who is being paid to dispense hunting tips, should probably be actually hunting. Not just displaying up and being told where I’ll kill anything. Again, I’m not saying I will not go on guided hunts, simply because I will at some point. I just feel that it’s my obligation to hunt exactly where other folks hunt, and to knowledge what most of us encounter.
There is no far better way to do that than to chase whitetails, elk, mule deer, antelope and turkeys on public land. I firmly believe that just as I firmly admit there is much more to it for me personally than boiling it down to a company selection.
We Are Different
I pointed out that I love America, and I certainly do. A single of the motives I really like it so much is that we have public land. A lot of it. There is no spot in the world that provides up hunting possibilities to everybody very the way we do. Even if each and every piece of private ground got leased up and most of us got locked out, we’d nonetheless have places to hunt. Granted, they may possibly not be dream properties that we see on outdoor television, but to be fair, they never ever were. At least not for deer. Western critters are somewhat of a diverse story, although comparing public versus private elk hunting is is an apples-to-aardvarks endeavor.
Either way, no one sets foot on most public land expecting idiot animals with cute names that have been shielded from arrows and bullets for most of their life so that they can mature. That is not how it works. Rather, you’re permitted the possibility to hunt. That is essential. You can go out on public land, and aside from a really modest percentage of tightly controlled parcels, you can generally target what ever critter you’d like.
That indicates that not only do you have the freedom to roam wherever you’d like inside the boundaries, you can also hunt for yourself. These are two components of public-land hunting that I am personally a extremely huge fan of.
Go Ahead, Puff Your Chest Out
Of course, if you do happen to uncover some achievement on public land you are probably going to be damn proud of oneself. I say, as lengthy as you don’t get too gross about it, go ahead. Really feel proud. You’ve participated in the most hard hunting in the country and come out on top. You deserve a few high-fives.
Ditto for anyone who contacted their state reps more than H.R. 621. If you took the time to get involved and tell our elected officials to preserve their grubby hands off of our land, I applaud you. You have played a little, but really essential, function in maintaining this country remarkable. And you have done one thing that can not be understated.
You have sent a message that you won’t put up with an individual messing with the land that belongs to all of us. Confident, that means we will constantly have a place to hunt and fish. But it also means our children, and our kids’ children will have a spot as effectively.
Nothing at all could be much more critical than that.