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.
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But how will all the hot upland groupie girls know where to find you if you don’t geotag your spot? And they won’t know how big your dick is unless you post a nice tailgate photo of a stack of bloody birds?
A public place I hunted as a kid was well known but what not everyone knew is that it had 80 acres attached that you had to wade a wide creek to get to. Loved that place. Any time in the season you could get skunked, get a few or get a limit of pheasant. The not knowing was part of the fun. Told a lot a lot of people where I got the birds but told no one about crossing the creek.
I just want to say thank you. I’m not a hunter (in a fact, have an aversion to guns), but there are many in my family who do hunt, and I have the greatest respect for them and their respect for the natural world and the animals they hunt. In fact, my nephew introduced me to this blog. And he did because of the loner in me, the one who likes nothing more than to wander into nature spaces that are not populated with humans, the silence, the sense of being part of something so much vaster than I.
So, I write first with the deepest appreciation for your writing, the writing of all those on the blog. Second, for the wonderful way you call out social media. It is wreaking such havoc. It gives such free reign for unkindness, even cruelty, and for mindless, thoughtless acts like you describe, to say nothing of eroding human connection. And third, simply for the places you describe that should not be destroyed by cans and bottles and cartridges and myriad human footprints, all for the momentary, fleeting boast on a facebook. I may not hunt, may not like guns, but I appreciate the beauty, the synchronicity of man/woman and dog, the silence with the approach, the beauty you move through.
So thank you. And hope you have a peaceful, safe holiday, with some joy splashed in there, despite these Covid times.
Well said, Greg! I totally agree with your perspective on this. Good bird hunting spots are rarefied and people really need to use better discretion. Jeff B.
I am a one person one dog hunter . I hunt almost all public land . I put in the miles , the sweat and the effort to find places that have birds . I have had lots of empty bag days . So when I have success it is of great value to me . Allowing others the same process is honoring the hunt. Thank you for your post .
I’d add, no more skylines either. Or mirror your images prior to posting.
You called it. There is an increasing belief that “success” is measured in body count. If I go “hunting”, I should find and kill something. These people haven’t learned about the experience. I just wanted to say I support you and if it matters, I believe in your words. Keep it up if only for those of us who still appreciate it.
Geotagging? Heck, I don’t even tell my wife where I’m going.
Amen Greg! I wish I could hide my truck at some spots. I am so paranoid I could see someone figuring out what I was doing down in that canyon and start telling the wrong folks.
I’ve considered army surplus camo net…
As a 50+ year hunter, most of which with my dad before he passed, I would take photos of hunts for our own recollection and consumption at some later date. The tailgate trophy photos that we see now seem to have a completely different purpose on social media. Then comes the inevitable curiosity and inquiry by other hunters finally leading to full disclosure in many cases.
Greg, I am a first time reader and writer here, but you have captured an area of thought that I couldn’t quite put my finger on until I read your assessment of what is going on. The trend is distasteful and damaging for all of the reasons cited by you and the commentary that follows.
Sadly, social media hot spotting may pull the curtain down on the sport for many traditional (old school) hunters.