Wednesday, February 03, 2010

A Tough Sport

I used to think that the deer hunting industry was competitive and that egos got the best of some people. Turkey hunting competitions were also bad. There were a lot of assholes out there and a lot of backstabbing occurred. Then I competed in waterfowl calling competitions. It was ten times worse. But I’ll tell you what, the predator hunting industry is 100 times worse.

These are not my words but rather a paraphrase of a conversation I had with a well-known predator hunting “expert” who was kind enough to speak with me for about an hour during SHOT. We had a nice conversation, and I believed we had established a good rapport. We spoke about coyote hunting and about the predator hunting industry in general. A few hours later I learned about a conversation he had with another predator hunter. My name was brought up in passing and this same guy said that I was a smart kid, but I was not a hunter. It only got back to me because of how absurd that statement was. This other predator hunter and I had a good laugh at the “expert’s” expense. You see, this other predator hunter knew about my obsession with coyote hunting. The industry “expert” had no idea of my hunting experience but was eager nonetheless to make that statement to a near stranger.

I’ve had worse directed toward me. I have thick skin, the result of being a young Ph.D. I even crack a smile when I hear such things.

I’m not going to tell you that I have killed more coyotes than the “expert” in question. I probably haven’t. I may never kill as many, but that really isn’t the point. I’ve hunted for many years. I’ve killed my fair share of animals.

What separates me from this “expert” is that he is paid to be in the industry. His job is to hunt. I’m like you. I have a job that doesn’t involve hunting. Hunting is a hobby. Coyote hunting is my passion and obsession. I do it whenever I get a free moment. Sound like you?

Perhaps it is my demeanor that is misleading. Perhaps it is my style of dress or my speech. Maybe I need a southern twang, a cowboy hat, and a fistful of colloquial phrases to fit in and be accepted as a hunter.

Perhaps it is just me and my history, but I try not to judge a person’s hunting ability by how they look or sound or by their age. I’m nearly 29, and I have been hunting for almost 20 years. Many of those years were dedicated to marksmanship and the pursuit of coyotes. Does that make me a hunter? Despite my nickname of “gran cazador blanco,” probably not, especially to someone who has hunted for 30 years.

My point is simple. There is no standard by which someone can be elevated to the label of hunter. There is no panel of judges or wise hunting guru to bestow such an honor.

It is simply a matter of perspective. I know a few military snipers who think you aren’t a hunter until you have put crosshairs on a man knowing that you will determine when he takes his last breath. The people who perform such deeds look at our sport and laugh when we swell with pride from our hunting accomplishments. Over the top? How about the USDA animal control officers who literally kill thousands of coyotes over the course of a career. They see these “experts” on TV and video high-fiving each other after calling in a triple and only putting one in the truck, and they are appalled. I know they are…they tell me about it.

My humble advice to my “expert” friend would be to be careful about what you say about other people. It might make you look foolish in the eyes of others. Worse yet, it may provoke someone else to make that same statement about you. Maybe this is the hunting lesson of the day for my esteemed predator hunting colleague.

PostScript:

I got an email from this expert yesterday asking me for free advice on how to improve their company's products. I politely declined. Had he not spouted off about me to someone who has hunted with me, I would have been more than happy to help.

8 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Great minds discuss ideas. Average minds discuss events. Small minds discuss people."

10:31 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

See, now if he would have been "cool", he would have gained something. This is a classic case of "what goes around, comes around". Back stabbers always lose... Thanks for sharing.

10:42 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Great minds discuss ideas. Average minds discuss events. Small minds discuss people."

Actually, I think he did discuss an idea through the example of an event using a person as a subject. Perhaps the previous comment couldn't figure that out.

8:16 AM  
Blogger Gary said...

Do you realize you used the words "I, me, my, mine" >20 times in the "ICC" post and >40 times in the "Tough Sport" post?

You sound like you're applying for a job. Try changing the topic.

9:45 AM  
Blogger Dr. Charles R. Shawley said...

Gary, thanks for commenting on the blog. Just to clarify, it is a blog...kind of like an online diary containing posts regarding my interactions in the predator hunting industry. It is not a news site. I'll assume you realize the absurdity of your statement regarding the job.

2:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hmm, this reeks of the "dirty four" at Predatormasters, Barry Jeff, Michael and James. Backstabbers deluxe. Was the dude in the cowboy hat and "southern twang" also wearing gaudy looking snakeskin boots? HI B BAR!!!

7:12 PM  
Anonymous Dawg Hunter said...

Hey Gary, or should I say Clever Gary?! You need to run your worthless ass back to deserthunter (predator monster lite) and let us adults here converse intelligently. Talk about someone who lives vicariously through their keyboard, geesh! You're no better then the scum bums at that largest predator hunting site.

Oh, man up and open up your blog so all of us can read your worthless drivel, CLUCK CLUCK CLUCK!

8:19 PM  
Blogger Dr. Charles R. Shawley said...

For the record, it wasn't anyone at PM.

11:25 AM  

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