He loved the woods, the animals, and the hunt. What he didn’t count on were the hunters.
Following his boyhood dream, he earned his license as a Registered Maine Guide and landed a job with an outfitter.
Then came the group of hunters who returned to camp bragging about how they had chased a moose with their truck. There to hunt deer or bear, they had just happened onto the bull. They laughed, describing how close they had gotten to the animal and how wildly he had run.
Then came the hunters who used their truck to drag a bear back to camp. A half mile or more of high-speed travel over rough ground left the carcass battered: the hide torn and stripped of hair, the meat covered with dirt.
Then came the hunter who, having already taken a bear, illegally shot another one on the last day of the hunt. The tag on the animal belonged to an inexperienced and luckless companion.
Then came the hunter who wouldn’t keep his rifle pointed away from people, even when reminded.
Had these been isolated incidents, he might have stuck it out. They were not.
Had his fellow guides been as outraged as he was, the outfit might have tightened ship. They were not.
So he left.
When this young man and I crossed paths a few years ago, he was still a hunter. But he’d had enough of prostituting his skills to guys who cared nothing for what he loved.
When I consider the future of hunting—how it will fare in the public eye, and what meaning it will have for generations to come—it’s not anti-hunters I worry about.
It’s these guys.
© 2010 Tovar Cerulli