Don't let a few bad hunters spoil it for everybody
It's always a few bad apples that give the rest of the basket a bad name.
Hunters are no exception; while the vast majority are responsible outdoorspeople, there are always a few who poach, trespass, abandon hunting dogs and generally act irresponsibly.
We remember one case where a flock of tame geese were shot and left in a pile during duck season. A landowner near Max reported several deer carcasses skinned and left to rot in the borrow pit alongside a county road. He reported seeing a white Oklahoma pickup truck in the area a short time earlier.
Many other reports, during the current deer season, have been received of deer being skinned and abandoned irresponsibly in the Southwest Nebraska countryside.
The Kearney ABC station recently recounted a report of hunters washing and cleaning their deer in a carwash.
As we said earlier, such cases are the exception rather than the rule. The vast majority of hunters are good stewards of the land, and appreciate the chance to get out on a bright autumn afternoon to pursue game.
Their fees collected through the Pittman-Robertson act, as a tax on sporting goods, as well as donations to the National Wild Turkey Federation, Pheasants Forever, Ducks Unlimited and other groups go directly into creating habitat that not only increases wildlife, but allows non-hunters to enjoy millions of acres of songbirds, fauna and wildlife at no charge.
But for those who do not want to be responsible, fines for wanton waste of wildlife range up to $15,000 or more.
If you are a hunter, act responsibly. Obey regulations and when you are a guest on someone's property, treat it with respect.
If you see someone violating the rules, don't look the other way. Get a license number and/or description and call Nebraska Wildlife Crimestoppers at (800) 742-7627 to report it -- you may even receive a cash reward.
Being a responsible outdoorsperson will not only help preserve a wonderful opportunity today, it will keep it available for generations to come.