Serving Kenly, Selma, Smithfield, Princeton & Pine Level since 1973

No excuse for bad behavior

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I have defended, or at least argued, a case for more information many times when the public becomes outraged at a hunter or angler. Many times, it is due to the angle of the story where certain details are either left out intentionally, or even unknowingly.

Then, there are times when there is no excuse for bad behavior. Recently, a story with international appeal struck a nerve of not just the general public, but the outdoors industry and community as well.

Larysa Switlyk, the television huntress host of “Larysa Unleashed,” caused international controversy after a hunt in Scotland for wild sheep. There have been many instances in the past few years of huntresses posing with their kill, whether it be a lion, giraffe, or alligator that should have not garnered the attention they have. However, this particular case is far beyond the trophy shot.

Larysa unfortunately posed with her take while holding a bloodied sex toy during an all-female hunt. No one knows why she did it, and she refused to apologize for the incident. Several of the other hunters left the hunt early due to her behavior prior to the photo, and the guide service cut the hunt short afterwards.

While hunters need to support other hunters, we also must admit when something is awry, and the community has come out in force to reprimand this one, as it should.

Meanwhile, there are other issues within the outdoors community that show a disregard to ethics and proper behavior.

We all have constantly been bombarded about the federal government shutdown. There are plenty of articles to keep your interest, whether you are for or against it. One of the repercussions of the shutdown is the skeleton crews around and in the national parks.

Unlike past government shutdowns, the parks have remained open. However, with the lack of manpower to properly maintain and enforce rules and regulations, the parks have succumbed to the visitors and what they leave behind.  Many of the parks have been taken care of by volunteers for such things as trash removal and property maintenance.

A recent volunteer group in the Great Smoky National Park cleaned up items you would expect from typical littering, such as drink bottles and cans. Things you would not expect to clean up were car parts, dirty diapers and animal remains. One group found where someone had basically dumped all of their garbage in one area.

Parks like the Yosemite and Death Valley were having to switch to day use only due to restrooms becoming overflowed, trash left in all areas and vehicle use in natural areas destroying the landscape and flora, in what would usually be pristine untouched locations.

It shows that it is not just the hunting community that can push things too far. People in general can be their own detrimental creatures to the lands that they preach they love and want to protect. It seems it would be common sense that if a park is not operating, one should not leave their trash in bins, at campsites, or on the side of the road or in the open landscape.

Bill Howard is an avid bowhunter and outdoorsman. He teaches hunter education (IHEA) and bowhunter education (IBEP) in North Carolina. He is a member of North Carolina Bowhunters Association and Pope & Young, and is an official measurer for both.