Reading through several threads recently leads me to believe many of us have forgotten we have an obligation to be good stewards of our outdoor adventures. It MATTERS what we do and what we say. This is especially true when you take into consideration how people that DO NOT recreate in the outdoors perceive us and more importantly what we pass onto future generations, like our children and grandchildren. Oh yeah, I already see this comment coming, ďI donít care what people thinkĒ. On so many levels I truly empathize with that sentiment, we all have to live our lives to the best of our ability and hopefully towards the fulfillment of our happiness. Itís in that vein where you have to consider how weíre perceived. Fishing is not a right accorded us, itís a privilege.
Iím reading replies that specifically state, they rip the gills out of fish or puncture their swim bladder and throw them back in. If thatís not bad enough these individuals act proud and boastful of this behavior. When pointed out that isnít proper or ethical behavior, these same individuals attempt to hide behind the veil of legality because the CPW wants all of those species eradicated. Wait what? You know legal does not always equate to ethical or moral or responsible? Let me demonstrate with a personal example.
While hunting by Buena Vista I shot a buck and didnít get a clean kill but knew it was wounded pretty good. If youíve been hunting awhile you know not to give immediate chase as the adrenaline will likely push the animal enough to where you canít recover it. I knew by not pursuing it, it would lie down and then I could track it. So, I returned back to camp and grabbed a couple buddies and went back to find my buck. Sure enough not a quarter mile from where it was shot it had bedded down. At that point one of my buddies put the final shot into him. Guess what? He tagged and kept the deer! No really, he did. He didnít do any of the work in locating it, or what it took to actually know how or why it was where it was when I shot it. He literally reaped the reward of my hard work. You know what the law says about this? It says it is his deer, perfectly legal, not necessarily moral or ethical. After that he never saw one of my camps again.
How does this relate to the fish that was returned to the water after having gills removed and swim bladders punctured? Why torture the fish? It can be cleanly killed. While Iím not certain throwing them back in the water is legal, it is legal to simply kill and discard some species here in CO. Just because itís legal does NOT make it moral or ethical. Our children and grandchildren are watching us. Attempting to explain this sort of action to them is beyond me. Granddaughter: Why did they do that? Me: Because they can. Trying to explain to them about the CPW and fisheries doesnít matter to a 10-year-old. What they do know is what they saw. Yes, I know you will still try to defend your position.
How are you going to defend it when your privilege is taken from you? Iím talking about people that are not outdoorsman. We can argue the finer points of this type of action all day and night. But people that donít participate donít understand and guess what? THEY DONíT CARE. But they vote. Ok stop for a second, this is not about what side of the political aisle youíre on, but the fact non outdoorsmen have a large input at the voting booth about what we do. Just because we live in CO where hunting and fishing and being outdoors is a HUGE financial boon may not be enough. There are individuals and groups actively seeking to halt what we take for granted.
Check out this article about PETA involvement at an annual fish sale in Australia
What Iím trying to say here is.. what we do matters. If youíre going to kill the fish at least try to dispose of it responsibly. Whether you eat it, put it in your garden or at least donít just chunk it aside on the bank then rationalize your position by saying, it will feed the crawdads and pelicans. How many of you have seen a gut hooked 10Ē rainbow where the angler has cut the line and left the treble firmly in the belly of the fish and ďreleaseĒ it. Only to watch an Osprey or Eagle take the dying fish? Where do you think that hook is now?
When these threads pop up, I have mostly learned to stay out of them. I know, no matter what I say, it is unlikely to change someoneís mind. I am trying to sway you now at least to a degree. Please consider what you do and how itís perceived. Itís our obligation to be good stewards of our passion for the outdoors.
Smelly, CO 6/13/2020 5:39:47 PM
Go get em AWB ! 👍One line sums it up. ď legal does not always equate to moral or ethical or responsible ď. Lots of guys fret over ď looking the part ď. But couldnít care less about what their behavior looks like to others. I get the population control thing. Not only is it better for that specie of fish. It better for the fishery Canít see any reason someone canít take those fish home and dispose of them discretely . I can hear people now, ď Oh thatís a burden ! It shouldnít be my problem ! ď Well . The PETA folks are making the elimination of ALL Bloodsport Their problem. And we should avoid giving them ammunition to use against us.
bron, CO 6/13/2020 6:18:04 PM
I agree totally Jim. Great blog!
SirGreg88, CO 6/13/2020 6:55:09 PM
Totally agree--especially in today's environment. Many are 100% feelings Facts are unimportant. I am not against hunting at all and I love eating almost anything from the field. One of the reasons I don't hunt very often is because I hate the thought of maiming an animal that I fail to retrieve. Many years ago I had several "friends" who would park the truck and get drunk---shooting prairie dogs and anything else that moved--including fish. I'm sure many will think I am a pu$%#@ but it just isn't what I call fun. They never checked on anything they shot and I know they injured a lot of wildlife. I confronted them when we got back to town. They weren't so tough without the gun. I never hung out with them again. My 2 cents.
jshanko, CO 6/14/2020 9:16:23 AM
I'm so glad someone finally brought this topic forward. Jim your right on the spot, I'm on your side of the fence. Stewardship and conservation of our resources should be paramount. People have gotten so lazy about there actions, whether is killing fish or just littering. The younger people take for granted the blessings of nature that surround us and will spoil it for others to follow in there tracks. I'm starting to believe that having morals is a thing of the past, not taught by parents or educators any more. Great blog AWB.
Ryan, CO 6/14/2020 1:14:20 PM
Iím surprised that thread went as far as it did. I hope many who posted there read this.
Vic-B, CO 6/15/2020 12:44:10 AM
I donít post much on any social media but once in a blue moon to get info. This was a fantastic and well written article and I appreciate someone in the community sticking up for something worthwhile. Itís truly sad to see our communities and beautiful outdoors being uprooted by these transplant attitudes. The ethics of these fake outdoorsmen is just sickening! The saddest part is the 21st century ďmenĒĒ have lost there balls literally. sticking up for something when they see it to be wrong is ďscaryĒ I see way to many people turn the cheek because ďI'm gonna mind my own businessĒ ďOhh well not my problemĒ ď Iíll speak my mind on the internet but not to someones faceĒ ďnah Iíll let the rangers deal with them but never report themĒ If you truly love your hobby youíd man the hell up and police your own. Donít let these mourns ruin our outdoors, our way of life, our communities our place of peace. You see something ethically, morally, physically wrong say something donít be a damn coward! Ultimately when you keep your mouth shut these are the people that will take everything away that you love about the outdoors. These are people looking out for them selfies not you. They are the ones that make laws tougher, why restrictions keep changing, why land gets shut down, why you need to drive 4 hours further than usual. Itís because others canít play nice. People are tough guys on the internet but anytime I try confront to people in reality they are just a bunch of p***** Donít let these Mountain Dew, pizza pocket internet trolls ruin your day! Say something and educate these fools with words or fist of need be. So at the end thank you for sticking up and saying something when you knew it was wrong. Thatís true sportsmanship and honesty at its finest!
kicker, CO 6/15/2020 5:34:41 AM
Can't fix stupid.
SGM, CO 6/15/2020 6:59:25 AM
Jim, fully agree. We have talked about this from time to time on past fishing trips. Hope this article gets thru to a few folks and changes their outlook.
Ray Ray, CO 6/15/2020 3:32:15 PM
I've witnessed bad behavior at Rocky Mountain Arsenal, No people aren't killing fish by maiming them but they blatantly break rules that are clearly posted around the lake. When someone points out to those people the violations they are committing they usually respond with hostility. No ranger to tell them not to so why should other fisherman care? Crazy behavior for a National Wildlife refuge!
Jim McFarland (anglerwannabe), CO 6/16/2020 10:33:44 AM
Hi All. Thank you for the support! It's not just PETA but there are many entities like them and far more extreme. The only way for us to keep our outdoors safe is to be good stewards and to make sure we vote! BTW being good stewards means we sometimes have to turn people in. I'm not bashful about that in any form. Let the law deal with it. As mentioned above, I've noticed no matter how polite you try to approach folks, they immediately become aggressive.
Gunny Airborne, CO 6/16/2020 1:14:28 PM
Very good point, good write and I agree totally. We donít always have to remain in the box so to speak.
Coyute, CO 6/17/2020 7:29:07 AM
We are supposed to be a lot of things. Some are just better than others.
i2fly, CO 6/17/2020 4:44:46 PM
Jim, you know me we have fished together. I certainly like and respect you and your opinion. However there is a serious inbalance in regards to the pike at spinney. The CPW has requested that we as anglers remove as many pike as possible. So, they donít have an opinion. The request is based on facts. The pike are out of control. At 53% of the fish that needs to be thinned. I know the pike population we never be erraticated. Never! Spinney is the star lake of the 3 South Park lakes. IMO. But if the pike are allowed to go unchecked then the lake will fall on hard times.
We are supposed to be Sportsmans. Fair enough! So rather than kick the trout guys in the knee. What is your solution? Something has to be done. When nature is out of balance one species or another will crash. From my observations first it will be the trout. Then the pike will follow. Because the damn things will eat themselves out of house and home. The CPW will stop stocking trout. Itís a matter of economics. This has happened once already 2000-2001. We simplify cannot continue feeding pike expensive trout. Iíd venture to say 90- 95% of the fishermen come to Spinney for Big Trout! Not big pike. Yeah I pulled those numbers out of my bottom. However Iíll bet itís close. Now letís consider the businesses that rely on the fishing. No trout no business, fact! Ok to the Sportmanís side what are we supposed to do. Nothing... I had a special day Monday. I did catch some recently stocked trout, 5 to be exact. Everyone reminded me of bubble gum on the sidewalk. ABC already been chewed! They were still trying to make it but I seriously doubt they will. No one wants to kill, but give us a possible solution. Does anyone have an idea? If you do letís hear your solution to this. Or is it just, donít talk donít tell.
yard dogs, CO 6/17/2020 4:57:18 PM
Couldnt agree more man!
jdavis, CO 6/17/2020 5:51:41 PM
i2fly I like what you have to say. Making hard decisions is hard and no one wants to do it. A lot of times how it should be and how it is just don't line up and that's often when tough decisions have to be made.
I hate the idea of killing a fish and not eating it, but if its for the overall good of a fishery I get it. I'm not going to set here and try to arm chair quaterback the pike situation at Spinney. I'll leave that to the people who are paid to do it and hopefully are using facts to inform their policy.
If we must kill a fish to help the fishery then lets at least be decent about it. Why some people are so happy and boastful about killing a fish is beyond me. Lastly, please don't remove trophy Pike and use some BS hand waving to say the CPW wants you to.
Good post AWB. I would be so pissed about that deer situation with your "buddy"!
Jim McFarland (anglerwannabe), CO 6/17/2020 6:59:41 PM
WOW awesome. Dialogue like this is what we anglers\outdoorsmen (and women) need to be doing. Not name calling, even though topics like this can easily get heated. Don great post, but I do not and am not taking issue with whether the pike should be removed or not. It's how they're being killed and then disposed of. I actually have a much larger point that is alluded to within the blog and was hoping a discussion like this would start.
Jim McFarland (anglerwannabe), CO 6/17/2020 7:00:06 PM
ummm Brad... agree with don or me? lol
Jim McFarland (anglerwannabe), CO 6/17/2020 7:04:46 PM
J - you're tracking what I'm getting at. I do have a problem with how they're killed. It's unnecessary and also how they're disposed of. Pike are a very edible fish, and even you don't eat them, you can donate. CPW actually has an entire procedure on how to do it.
Jim McFarland (anglerwannabe), CO 6/17/2020 7:06:46 PM
FxR - When I was a kid we used to shoot gar from a bridge. What is the difference from say 1970 and today? Why is that important?
Ajax5240, CO 6/17/2020 7:47:05 PM
Great blog Jim! Not sure how it took me this long to see it. But, very well done!! And, PS.. I hope that guy chokes on a piece of the deer meat!
Ray Ray, CO 6/18/2020 3:25:13 PM
since the bio-mas in spinney is out of balance does anyone if the cpw has implemented gill netting , According to studies of pike behavior they move into the shallows to spawn . This would be the best opportunity to capture and remove large amounts of pike , plus egg strip the large females to reduce their numbers. The captured fish can either be donated or relocated to lakes in the front range
FXA0, CO 6/18/2020 4:17:04 PM
I liked the deer story. :)
FalconPilot, CO 7/11/2020 8:06:06 PM
I suggest we have have pike fishing tournament in Spinney to remove the excess pike. $1000 first place prize for most poundage and $500 for the largest pike. Fish could be donated to homeless shelters for a fish fry.
Until that happens I will still be killing every single f#$&ing pike I catch in our beloved Spinney Mountain Reservoir.
team FMFO , CO 7/11/2020 9:18:55 PM
^^^ WOW !!!
Walleye Guy, CO 7/12/2020 9:25:32 AM
FalconPilot, CO 7/11/2020 8:06:06 PM
I suggest we have have pike fishing tournament in Spinney to remove the excess pike. $1000 first place prize for most poundage and $500 for the largest pike. Fish could be donated to homeless shelters for a fish fry. Until that happens I will still be killing every single f#$&ing pike I catch in our beloved Spinney Mountain Reservoir.
May I suggest spear fishing?