Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Keeping Secrets: A Code of Ethics

 When you're trying to learn how to hunt, fish for or wild-harvest anything, you'll often find that people are very protective of their water and hunting grounds. While social media and online forums are a good place to start if you have an interest in an outdoor activity, chances are that people aren't willing to give out precise details about things like location. Social media has changed the outdoor experience in a sense that it makes things a little more inclusive for others. While there's no point in arguing that nature is for everyone, "chasing reports" not only has a negative impact on the localized ecosystems of areas that are hit hard by outdoor enthusiasts, but it has a negative impact on the exploration of new frontiers, discovering new fishing holes and hunting grounds, spreading out a wild harvest that would otherwise be wiped out rather than thinned out. Some people have developed a specific management program for their favorite spots that works and sharing those spots with you might not be a part of that.

Beyond the impact on the environment, there is a code of ethics among outdoor enthusiasts that keeps the experience as something to share with each other, rather than giving and taking. While it might sound like sharing is synonymous with giving and taking, sharing an outdoor experience with someone else is far different than giving someone a GPS location so they can go there and "take." The code of "I'm not going to tell you where I got this, but I will be happy to SHOW you." As a curious mind, it is in your best interest to befriend other outdoor enthusiasts for this reason rather than ask them twenty questions with the expectation of harvesting their leavings.

Don't be offended when somebody says "no, maybe or maybe later." Sometimes it's also in your best interest to let someone else scout an area and decide later on if they want to bring you along. Being consistent, but not pushy is a great approach to bringing those kinds of outings to fruition. It also doesn't hurt to offer something in return instead of being the guy who always needs a beer, a swivel, some split shot, a hook, a pocket knife, a shotgun, and a place to use all those things. If you have an offshore boat but you want to drift a river for steelhead, there's no reason you can't offer a ling cod and rockfish trip for a steelhead float or vice-versa. I can't tell you how many people have asked to take me fishing and don't even have a license, much less their own rod. At the very least, pitch in a couple bucks for gas. Don't be that guy.

This piece was published by The Good Men Project August 31st 2014:

Suggested Reading for the Locals: 5 Hikes to explore in or near Corvallis.

Great article in the Statesman's Journal about hiking near Corvallis. Highlights my favorite area hike, Beazell Memorial Forest, which I was unaware was the largest park in Benton County until I read this. Great photos as well, worthy of mentioning here and sharing for my own readers. Enjoy...