December 10, 2021
I have been a fisherperson for as long as I can remember. Whenever I fish in my own or other states I always try and follow the regulations. I know these are in place to protect the waterway habitat and to provide the best return on the fishery populations. While I love to catch fish, I am not big on keeping what I catch. I have on occasions kept the fish, but mostly I return them immediately to the water. My thought is this way they are there for the next angler to enjoy, or even better, for me to catch again after they have gotten bigger. One of the difficulties I have with hunting is it tends to nullify any form of catch and release. Once you shoot something you cannot immediately release it back into the habitat.
Lately, Melissa and I have begun to explore more possibilities of subsistence living. We are among the growing number of people who would like to have less of a carbon footprint through a subsistence lifestyle. While this may eventually mean living off the grid, there are certain things we would like to retain. We would like some form of electricity (sun, wind, water, and geothermal could work). We would need a reliable water source for drinking and watering the vegetables we would need to grow. Our container garden is one of my efforts to become familiar with plants and how to make them thrive (still a work in progress). We are not at a point where we are willing to give up eating meat. That means I would need to keep fish and hunt what is available from the land. As I have begun to research how to accomplish these goals, I am constantly met with regulations.
Years ago, I contemplated getting a compound bow for hunting. Last week I had a conversation with several friends who I knew hunted to gain more knowledge on the subject. One of the comments was how much practice it took to become proficient with a bow, and they suggested I try a crossbow. Later in the week one of them brought a bow by my office for me to test. All I needed to do was buy some bolts (arrows) and find a place to shoot. No problem. I looked online and found the closest ranges to me were over an hour away. That is when the regulations kicked in. I bought a target and thought I could shoot against the shed behind our house. I checked the Game and Fish regulations and it said you could practice on private land, but you should check local regulations. When I called the local PD, I was told it was illegal to shoot an arrow within the city limits. I thought was set. I had the bow, the bolts, and the target, but the regulations meant there was nowhere for me to practice.
Thoughts: Since I work in a small town, I decided to check their archery regulations. I called the mayors office and found I could shoot within the city limits if I did not cross anyone else’s property line. That means I need to get permission from my work to set up the target on the land, but then I will be abiding by the regulations. Living within the regulations set by others can often run contrary to the goals we are trying to achieve. Like my fishing, they are in place to meet what someone decided to be the better good for all. When we live together in communities, we are bound to live by the regulations those communities have adopted. That is true for fishing and archery, and it is true for vaccines and masks. Do the work. Follow the science. Change is coming and it starts with you.