Saturday, January 29, 2011

Going Back

It happened to my Dad quite a few years ago, in the north woods of Minnesota. Dale Spartas, fantastic photog and well, decent friend, also speaks passionately about it happening to him. During my college years, it happened to me, before I even knew how serious it was. For sportsmen, it is one of the most despicable acts known. I don’t have a name for it, but simply, as Dale calls it, “Going Back.”
Going back is when you show a so-called friend, one of your hard-earned hunting or fishing honey holes and they make it their own. It can be an inconspicuous stretch of stream that holds larger-than-average trout. Maybe it is a hidden drainage that offers up more big bull elk than normal. For some reason , the classless act seems to torment bird hunters more than most. Maybe it is our need for elbow room, the onset of dwindling access or maybe we are just solitary folks. Regardless, many of us serious bird hunters are very careful who we hunt with. We will often hunt alone, before we hunt with some we don’t know or trust.
I won’t defend any guy that “goes back”, but for some, they are just ignorant. When it happened to my dad, the scofflaw had the gall to brag to my Dad about a recent hunt he just had in the very grouse and woodcock covert that was previously shown to him. I caught my college friend red-handed, just as he and his dad were returning to their truck, exiting the pheasant bonanza that I had driven him to the weekend before. Needless to say, I didn’t stop to chat.
Poaching another man's spot isn't always black and white. How about on private land, if the landowner says you are both invited back, when it was you that introduced the two? Can your buddy go back when he pleases or only with you? Same question applies to Block Management. It appears in a public pamphlet, but you did the groundwork to determine good from bad Block Management? Bottom line, if in doubt, don’t go back.
So, Dale, don’t you think after all of these years, we can finally hunt together in Montana? Let's hunt your Hun stuff first.....


  1. Good article. It is called ethics and so many are never taught "how to do the right thing." If we talk about it more, maybe more will understand this topic and make better choices. I do think it is often due to ignorance, but for some people, they know it is wrong, but just can't help themselves. They soon show their true color and gain a reputation that isn't "glowing." Thanks for writing this.