Does anyone else find it absurd that there are those among our citizenship — who are considered adults — who must to be told “Don’t Shoot the ‘No Shooting’ sign!”?
Sadly, a drive in the country will reveal plenty of “No Shooting” signs and other road signs perforated with bullet holes. You’ll also discover piles of shell casings — trash left behind by those with little regard for others. To those involved in these activities, it’s time we sent the message: grow up!
Yes, I know this doesn’t apply to everyone who takes a firearm to the country to hunt or target shoot. But there are enough gun owners involved in this silliness that it paints all of us into a rotten picture. Now is a perfect time to knock it off!
The industry is enjoying a renaissance of gun ownership, with Americans rediscovering that it’s OK to own a firearm and actually enjoy shooting, whether that’s plinking, hunting or organized shooting matches. Plus, hunting is making a comeback. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service reports a 9 percent increase in the number of hunters between 2006 and 2011.
To actually see growth in hunting is good news for numerous companies in the industry, especially given the challenges of finding places to hunt. More landowners are posting their lands, with many of them saying they took the action because of poor conduct of hunters: discarded trash and failing to ask permission to hunt.
Getting to the point where gun ownership, recreational shooting and hunting are growing has taken years of effort and enormous amounts of resources from every segment of industry. That effort is diminished when recreational shooters and hunters disregard the law and show a lack of respect for others, including landowners.
Sending The Message
Tread Lightly!, the national nonprofit organization that promotes outdoor ethics, addresses such poor behavior through its campaign “Respected Access is Open Access.” The public service announcements (PSAs) are well done, with just enough punch to send the right message.
The campaign was created in partnership with many in the hunting and shooting sports community, including Yamaha, NSSF, Dallas Safari Club, National Wild Turkey Federation and Boone and Crocket Club.
Your help is needed to expand the delivery of the “Respected Access is Open Access” message. If you have a publication, even a newsletter, consider providing space for the campaign’s PSAs. The PSAs also will work on websites and Facebook pages, plus Tread Lightly! offers web banner PSAs.
Visit www.treadlightly.org and click “education.”
Supporting such campaigns — along with checking our own actions, whether at the range or in the country, whether we’re target shooting or hunting — will improve access for all of us. It will also send the right message to everyone that we are responsible gun owners who respect others.
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