I’m often amazed at how far we’ve come in the area of conservation. The care that many people exercise when utilizing our natural resources is a testament to our appreciation for what we’ve been given as well as a much greater understanding of just how precious those resources are.
Times have changed greatly from when my parents were kids, and their parents before them. In those days there was no such thing as conservation. Tires were thrown into creeks; they sank, and were forgotten. There were trees and there was water and as far as many were concerned, there always would be. Of course, today we realize that is not the case. At least, most of us do.
I don’t often climb up on ye old soapbox, but every now and then something really just ticks me off.
Case in point: Two weekends ago, on the opening morning of bow season, I came across what I believe was the trail a fellow hunter had marked to find his or her stand site. Now, I don’t have any problem with someone marking the way to his stand. Outdoor aptitudes vary greatly from one outdoorsman to the next. Just because one hunter could walk blindfolded through two miles of cedar swamp and wind up at his tree stand does not mean that the next hunter wouldn’t wind up in Canada. I can accept that. What I can’t accept is someone sticking empty beer cans on tree branches to mark their trail through the woods.
After recognizing that the cans I’d found were possibly marking someone’s trail, it still took me less than five seconds to decide to pick up every last one of them. I’ve never purposely obliterated someone else’s trail before, but if I did indeed do that on this occasion, I’m not too bothered by it.
If you need to mark a trail to a spot in the woods that you can see from the parking lot, perhaps you need to find a new hobby. If you need to use 36 empty beer cans to mark that trail — one every 3 feet, approximately — then you really need to find a new hobby. At the very least, stop spoiling the outdoors for the rest of us. When I head out into the woods I don’t want to be picking up after an inconsiderate litterbug.
Now, to that litterbug I have just this to say, “You’re welcome.”
You might not be able to find the spot where you wanted to put your stand, but you also aren’t facing 36 counts of littering. At $500 apiece, I figure we’re square. Also, a roll of biodegradable marking tape costs about $3 — think about it.
Doug Berdan is a columnist and outdoor humorist who also writes under the pseudonym Remington J. Crockett.