COLUMN: Influx of newcomers threatens our freedoms | Sports

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Sandi and I went fishing the other day. We were messing around near Lily Lake and since the little truck had a few rods in the back, we decided to wet a line and see what was there. The fish were feeding on top, but not at all interested in what I was offering. I should have had my fly rod with me.

Still, it was a perfect fishing day with Bluebird Day. A pleasant day spent on the water, with little snacking for entertainment or dinner and above all delicious, no fish to clean up. But there was more than one bug in the ointment, so to speak.

I remembered why I usually leave the lower parts of Beartooths alone for fishing trips until after a couple of hard freezes in the fall: bugs. As in biting insects and biting insects and quite simply plague insects. Up there, insects reign supreme in summer and that’s probably where fishermen originally conceived the notion of catch and release.

These high mountain biters do it, practice catch and release, that is to say. After getting their pint of blood, they appeal and share the wealth with their countrymen. Much like non-resident anglers and fishing guides. These bloodsuckers, bugs, not anglers, literally developed the original catch and release. There is no shortage of aggressive biting insects or non-resident fishermen here in the summer.

Unfortunately, like angling enthusiasts, overexploitation of the resource ends up causing a decrease in productivity which ends up affecting the long-term survival capacity of the resource. In other words, while fishing and releasing is a good thing, too much of a good thing can destroy a primary resource and prevent its recovery for years into the future. Do not believe me ? Look at what has happened to the North Fork fishery over the past two decades, as G&F has stood there and watched, if so.

Not to criticize those residential fishermen along the freeways who often keep a trout or two for supper, but I saw some guys from out of state (fishing license?) Heading to their vehicles with six large trout at least 18 inches or more in hand at one time. He was just a fisherman. There were three more, all older men, sneaking behind the bushes with heavily loaded fish nets. Game wardens around? Not likely. It is not a one-off observation either.

I haven’t seen anyone from the G&F department make an effort to keep tourist anglers and impulse anglers under some sort of control by checking licenses along this strip of asphalt since Craig Sax retired. Say whatever you like about Craig, he’s spent a lot of time trying to protect this resource.

As we walked along, later that day Sandi and I stopped for lunch on one of the larger pullouts accessible from the Cooke City Highway. After satisfying this basic need, I decided to check the sight of the gun I was packing. Since the area we pulled over was no ordinary campground, I thought it would be okay to trigger a few laps. This was not the case. Either we were too close to the freeway or too close to the ripping stream on the other side.

Anyway, a young man working for the Forest Service came over to explain that bouncing balls off the biggest boulders in the area, even though I thought it was totally safe, was a no-no. It was the first time I had heard of it, but the guy in the forest service explained to me that it had been the rule for several years.

Now this is where I could pull out my soapbox and fervently tackle the loss of our freedoms over the years since I was a young man, but to what end? As explained, this was probably a reasonable law, with the use of forests increasing over the years. The point is, when the human population reaches a certain density in any situation (and yes, tourists are often considered humans), it is unwise to simply unplug the artillery and fire at non-sensitive targets.

A perfect example was the other day when Sandi and I took a walk around Clark and down the road to Line Creek where we lived. Even though it was already quite crowded by the time we returned to Cody, the past few years have made the problem worse. Places where we hunted deer and antelope barely 20 years ago, I wouldn’t take a shot for love or money. So many people have moved from all over the United States, building new homes and arranging outbuildings for their idea of ​​a rural way of life, that there isn’t enough room to dangle a dead cat.

Not to mention shooting game, which is a moot point since the influx of citizens caused either the death or the departure of said animals. When humans move in, critters come out. Most of the time, with no alternative habitat available for colonization, this population of creatures, whether deer, antelope, sage grouse, or whatever, is gone forever. There are only a limited number of life forms that can use that many hectares of habitat. And although the deer and goats were still there, everywhere you look there’s a house or building in the background.

Besides using the country for archery hunting, the use of any modern firearm seems to be a bit irresponsible and, due to the proximity and number of homes and citizens currently in residence, maybe a little dangerous for the people who now live there.

I think this pandemic-related population shift from the most populous states here to the more rural states is going to destroy our freedoms when it comes to hunting and wandering in the woods. You can’t put that much garbage in a 2-pound bag before it bursts.

The delicate country, and Wyoming, is pretty much the same thing.

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