You can post all the hashtags you want, but please knock it off with the geotagging and mapping bird hunting spots. Social media hotspotting is not cool man. Name a state. Name a region. Name a large city with a good BBQ restaurant. But don’t name spots. I know it’s not just hunters. It happens in fishing and mountain biking, sometimes splashing back on hunting. I’ve lost many a blue grouse hunting spot to user-created mountain bike trails, many of them spurred on by social media stoke. And I’ve given up a lot of spots over the years.
Once you see a place making the rounds on social, you can bank on it getting more traffic. And the thing about free spots, places that a person didn’t have to earn with boot leather and gas and miles and time, is that they don’t hold any value for the recipients. The guy who found a spot on a social post is likely going to post it for his followers. He’ll tag it proudly, even stack a three-day pile of birds on the tailgate to make it seem extra juicy. And then he’ll drive away to hunt another spot that someone else posted. And that little out of the way patch of public ground that you hit once or twice a year and was always good for a covey? Now there is a well worn parking spot, complete with some Keystone cans and an empty box of golden pheasant loads. There might even be a couple of dead bird carcasses lying in the ditch if you can get there early enough in the season.
Constituting somewhat less than half of what remains of the MOF writing crew comes with a certain notoriety – certainly not fame. And in a world that long left behind blogs for more “social” media long ago, it is notoriety that is limited in scope. We accept that. We are not effective hash taggers. We are not even on Facebook. Our Insta account is an after thought. We are writers. And MOF has always been a repository for writing that doesn’t fit elsewhere.We have always said what we think and feel. And we have taken our lumps for it, much of it deserved. But we haven’t run from it. When we write something and the angry hordes loose fire from their keyboards, we let them comment. Maybe we are just too damn old. Maybe our experience as writers in print steeled us for the peanut gallery.
For whatever reason, I am often surprised the softness of the social media mavens. Earlier today, I noticed a person I follow on Instagram had posted a tailgate-trophy photo and tagged it with a very specific, very small western town, off the beaten path. Now I don’t know the guy, but judging by his photos he seems like a good dude. He has bird dogs and kids, likes hunting and hole-in-the-wall bars. If I was a more likable person, maybe we could even be friends. I didn’t want to be rude and comment on the photo, so I dropped a private message. “Hey man. Great photo! Maybe next time, consider skipping the location tag. Some of us like to hunt there too!”I figured I’d get a response, maybe even an indignant one. Instead I got blocked. I didn’t see that coming, but maybe I should have. We live in a world where people don’t have to talk to people they disagree with. They don’t have to hear opinions they don’t like. Don’t like CNN? Try Fox. Don’t like Fox? Try Newsmax. Disagree with a perspective? Block it.
So here in a place that can only be ignored but not blocked, I beseech you. Please knock off the geotagging. Even if you don’t care if a spot gets blown up, someone else does.