It Is Called Respect
Our world seems to have turned upside down in the last few years – some would say this is an understatement. Living in the rural West does protect us from some things, that is, until we turn on the television.
I feel privileged to live in the rural West with family, friends and work. The reason I say this is because of the respect everyone has for one another.
In the West, we sometimes take respect for granted, of course, until we’re disrespected.
Ever since hunting season started, I have seen total disrespect from a number of hunters. This seems to get worse every year, as landowners see the erosion of private land rights on their properties. Most landowners know there are going to be gates left open, fences cut and trespassing occurring on private lands – we’ve gotten used to it.
This year, we were fortunate to have quite a bit of rain in our area – over two inches in two days.
Issues arose when elk season opened the day after it rained and deer season was still in full swing. We are now facing completely torn up roads on federal and private lands, just in time for everyone to ship their livestock.
Every dirt county road, two track and some off-roads are now really degraded by hunters. It is total disrespect for the land and for those who live in the area, who use these roads to get to town or their pastures.
I’ve visited with a number of landowners who always said, “Fall is our favorite time of the year.”
But, I don’t hear it anymore.
I think some hunters must believe their hunting license gives them the right to disrespect the land and private property and do whatever it takes to fill their tag. I believe most hunters now just road hunt or take their side-by-side through any place they want.
For many, walking to hunt is an exercise of the past.
In the last few years, I have seen more destruction from side-by-side ATVs, mainly on federal and state lands. For those who waited until the roads dried up, thank you for your respect. We all appreciate you and hope you had a great hunt.
I recently learned those who live in rural settings are a lot alike, as my wife Peggy and I spent a couple of weeks in Tanzania, a country in central-eastern Africa. Just like the American rural West, the people in the rural areas of Africa were very respectful.
There were many small landowners who had a herd of goats or cattle they took out of the compound during the day to graze and returned in the evening for protection from lions and other predators.
They all had a couple of things in common, and they were happy and respectful of others.
In dry areas, there was a lot of poverty, where families lived in two- or three-room houses with dirt floors and a cooking fire on the ground. Their prized possessions were plastic buckets used to retrieve water from down the road – they walked everywhere.
The trip made both of us really proud to be Americans and from the rural West.