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Selfishness and Hunting, Meet Matt Rinella and Tag Allocations

Sytes

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Ugh... there was a reason philosophy of science wasn't my cup of tea...

Rational egoism, in a nutshell.

I'll stick with passing out thumbs up. Ayn Rand once wrote, "..." haha!
 

Bux_N_Beards

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Is it “selfish” if the motivations of Hunter A also include doing these things to protect the resource from an over abundance of pressure or higher than intended harvest?

Personally, I don’t feel it’s selfish - I feel Hunter A is adapting to the realities of the current environment and acting accordingly.

I’ll also add that while a lot of the focus of Matt’s piece has been on Western US hunting, it’s happening all across the Eastern US and particularly in the Southeast. One needs only to attempt to duck hunt on public lands in Arkansas or attempt hunting the turkey opener in Mississippi or Alabama (which opens nearly a month before many northern states) to see the effects. The resource can’t take it much longer, and we’re seeing the opportunity Hunter A hopes to protect being chipped away via reduced seasons, bag limit reductions, etc. And these effects are spilling over into private lands as well in the form of increased lease prices - different topic but some true selfish behavior comes into play on that front for those with the means.

While Matt’s delivery may not be the best and he’s pretty dug in on his side, I can’t say that after 35+ years of hunting different species across the US that he’s entirely wrong for taking his position.

I’ve been similar to Hunter A, and will likely continue to be some adaptive version of him going forward based on the changing dynamics of the world we live in. I’d love to think it’s all unicorns and rainbows, but it’s not.

Sorry if I digressed from OP’s question, but this topic is a sensitive one for me that has been discussed amongst my inner circle of hunting buddies for several years. I’m glad we’re having the conversation on a larger scale now. I see that as a positive.
 

MarvB

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The reasons a lot of people hunt is to get away from people. I deal with people nearly every hour I'm awake...its nice to just unplug, grab up my rifle, and not have to worry about anything, or anyone else for a while. Selfish? I don't think so.
Many of us, in our lives and jobs, spend an awful lot of time dealing with and helping others, so keeping hunting personal and to yourself for YOU, IMO, is not selfish. People need something that's theirs, and theirs alone. I won't be guilt tripped into having to help people just because someone else thinks it would be good for the sport.

Ditto, esp these two parts above. I do though at time find myself in that mental quandary if both really enjoying the sharing of a “special place” with family or friend along with the irritation and angst when I find an “unknown” impeding upon said special place. I think we all, if even unwilling to admit it, covet our own piece of heaven even if such is public for all.
 

Dougfirtree

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I considered addressing scarcity and the resource itself in the original post.

As it relates to the idea of recreational opportunity, user experience, and the health of the resource, I'm not sure we can really generalize which will result in a net gain for that resource. Surely it is case dependent. Some argue that more advocates and users will result in greater support for habitat enhancements, greater access, and better funding for managers. Others argue that more advocates and users result in an experience so unwholesome that it eventually defeats the purpose.
And some (myself included), might say that rather than a lot of new advocates, what we really want is a higher percentage of advocates in a much smaller population. Hard to look at this question without the backdrop of a human population so big that it's causing all manner of damage to the natural world. Tough fix.

Also, as a dude from NY myself, I'm now left to ponder why I don't make enough money to spend person A's yearly salary on my hunting trips. Seems I'm doing this wrong...
 

Randi

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The fair criticism that M. Rinella comes across as selfish -- in addition to the past and surely future discussion around tag allocations -- got me thinking about the concept of selfishness as it relates to hunting. I posed the same questions on another forum; maybe they're rhetorical, maybe they aren't.

Hypothetical person A is generous with their money, generally speaking. Gives 10-15% of their income each year to educational aid organizations, a religious entity that helps homeless people get into rehab, conservation orgs, and has spent a full year's salary of their mid-life income to adopt a child with special needs.
That same person is frustrated by increasing human activity in the areas he/she lives, hunts and recreates, and would prefer that those places and activities not be publicized so that his/her family can fully enjoy them for the next few decades. This person makes low wages and absorbs a high cost of living in order to live where they do. This person also mentors a couple of new hunters each year but asks them to keep areas quiet and not share them with anyone else.

Is that a selfish person?
Is it OK to be selfish with things that are not required to sustain a reasonable quality of life?

John Doe from NY does not require the opportunity to hunt the west in order to maintain a good quality of life. Nor do I, or probably everyone on here. Anyone who has traveled the country and world a bit knows the depths people live in every day, many through zero fault of their own. If you have not seen such, your opinion is irrelevant. Whether or not John Doe should have the right to the same hunting opportunities as every other resident of the US is not the point here, that's a completely separate issue.

What I'm trying to dig into is the accusation that those who wish to preserve their relationship to quality hunting and outdoor recreation for their family are selfish. It's just kind of assumed that wanting to keep a certain standard of outdoor opportunity = selfishness = BAD. We'd probably all agree that being selfish is an undesirable human trait. However, I'm not so sure it's that cut and dried, as it relates to the "wants" of recreation and not the "needs" of life.

Thoughts?
Selfishness is the quality or condition of being selfish. Being selfish means lacking consideration for others; concerned chiefly with one's own personal profit or pleasure.

Without being too specific because I am riding in a car, there are thresholds to selfishness. No, I don't think it is bad to be concerned about your future experiences or your children's, even if to some degree it is to the detriment of others.

Though they are separate issues I think it is related. I often think of GiveWell's estimates on effective altruism. Roughly, they figure that for every $2,300 you spend in the right places(mosquito nets for example), you can save the life of a child in a developing country. One could quibble about the amount, but life itself is sure as hell a requirement to sustain a reasonable quality of life. Have you spent a similar amount on something you deem more important? Was it as important as the life of a child you don't know? Is this not an example of egregious selfishness? It does not take special pleading to think it so, and yet, I've spent way more on unnecessary things, and wonder if I have abandoned the lives of children across the globe.

Hypothetical Person A seems like a good guy/gal. And selfishness, being a subset of morality, like morality is so multivariate considering things like proximity, sanity, hope, happiness, net-reductions in all the bad things, and yes, even convenience, that I wonder how meaningful an accusation could be. My own desire to limit the opportunity or awareness of others seems tied to two of those chiefly:Sanity (my own) and Hope (the future).

Rereading the word salad I just wrote, I don't know. I think it depends. I believe strongly that many confusing discussions revolve not around binary states of being (Selfish/Not Selfish), but thresholds, and whether or not those things are net good or bad and to whom, and those are complicated as hell.
Confounding variables... added nuance?

The guy from NY in aggregate pays for wildlife management. You look at any western state, it's 10 to 1 who pays for wildlife. The Hypothetical Person A, and his family + mentees can't absorb the cost of removing NY guy from the equitation. John Doe might be paying equivalent to Person A's salary to go on a hunt.

So we are left with a situation where Person A needs John Doe, but also despises him. John Doe doesn't get a vote, Person A does... and therefore could actually eliminate the issue if they wanted, so in effect they are directly responsible for John Doe hunting in their state.

Further, Person A is in a state that receives far more in federal benefits than it takes in, therefore to some extent John Doe is 'paying' for person A's life style both with their vacation activity and his tax dollars.

I think both people are making sacrifices, and trying to arrive at similar ends the best way they can... one person is living 'in it' the other is trying to make a good living and get out there as much as possible. I'm not sure either is selfish in and so far as they try to be respectful of the others circumstances.

These are very well written and thought provoking statements.

I think one of the things my parents did in an effort to educate myself and my siblings was to "show us" by taking us to other parts of the world, as well as areas in the U.S. where a blanket, a tent, a sandwich was needed and appreciated when received. It did make us count our blessings, instead of whining about a new pair of shoes
 

neffa3

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How much of this is simply resisting change? 50 years ago people were having the same complaints, yet it things have changed, and now the current generation has the same gripes.
 

Nameless Range

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How much of this is simply resisting change? 50 years ago people were having the same complaints, yet it things have changed, and now the current generation has the same gripes.

Maybe a lot of it, but I think a valid question folks can ask is at what point does a place go to hell for keeps? Same goes for activities on offer.

Passions can be extirpated. Places as we know them can go extinct. Maybe only personally, in which case the charge of selfishness could be brought up, but also in the absolute sense. For everyone. Forever.
 

neffa3

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Maybe a lot of it, but I think a valid question folks can ask is at what point does a place go to hell for keeps?
But that's completely subjective. Your grandfather may already think it's there and not worth any additional effort, but clearly the Californians think otherwise. Will that not always be the case?
 

Nameless Range

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But that's completely subjective. Your grandfather may already think it's there and not worth any additional effort, but clearly the Californians think otherwise. Will that not always be the case?


Sure, mostly, and I don't wanna go down a rabbit hole. But near-consensus in subjectivity is meaningful and seems to exist. Also, some things seem to have the potential to objectively end for everyone and not really on a gradient.

People in the past fought for that which they subjectively valued to prevent their version of "hell for keeps", lost some battles and won some, and damn aren't we pleased with some of the wins.

But your point is taken. Much of it is just preference, shifting baselines, etc..
 

wllm

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How much of this is simply resisting change? 50 years ago people were having the same complaints, yet it things have changed, and now the current generation has the same gripes.
Couple percolating thoughts:

My FIL tales the tale of seeing his first elk on his ranch at age 10 (because before then that part of CO didn't have hardly any), about getting 3 buck tags a year, about a 3 day deer season in CO, and now how crowded it is.

Whatever Matt Rinella says about recruitment... I wasn't hunting in 03' @Oak was it way easier to get permission back then? Did more people, demonstrably, hunt private?
CO 2003 deer tags - 116,040
CO 2021 deer tags -101,814
CO 2005 elk tags - 257,198
CO 2021 elk tags - 212,667

I've chatted up a bunch of MA hunters; all of them were boomers, I've only met 1 millennial hunter in the field to date. To a person MA hunters have said how different it is now and how much of shit show it use to be... essentially way less participation now days but also different tactics. In the 70-90s deer drives were super popular, but now it's all stand hunting. Historically all firearm, now a lot more archery.

All of it just makes me think it's vastly complicated, with lots of different variables + regional differences.

Last thought, @SnowyMountaineer I can't find fault with your hypothetical folks, and there is one thought of Matt's I 100% agree with; it's incredibly selfish to use up 'opportunity' while not enjoying it, and doing it just for the likes. If you're burnt out on hunting, if you don't need the meat, have a garage full of antlers, and don't enjoy being on the mountain go do something else.
 
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neffa3

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Couple percolating thoughts:

My FIL tales the tale of seeing his first elk on his ranch at age 10 (because before then that part of CO didn't have hardly any), about getting 3 buck tags a year, about a 3 day deer season in CO, and now how crowded it is.

Whatever Matt Rinella says about recruitment... I wasn't hunting in 03' @Oak was it way easier to get permission back then? Did more people, demonstrably, hunt private?
CO 2003 deer tags - 116,040
CO 2021 deer tags -101,814
CO 2005 elk tags - 257,198
CO 2021 elk tags - 212,667

I've chatted up a bunch of MA hunters; all of them were boomers, I've only met 1 millennial hunter in the field to date. To a person MA hunters have said how different it is now and how much of shit show it use to be... essentially way less participation but also different tactics. In the 70-90s deer drives were super popular, but now it's all stand hunting. Historically all firearm, now a lot more archery.

All of it just makes me think it's vastly complicated, with lots of different variables + regional differences.

Last thought, @SnowyMountaineer I can't find fault with your hypothetical folks, and there is one thought of Matt's I 100% agree with; it's incredibly selfish to use up 'opportunity' while not enjoying it, and doing it just for the likes. If you're burnt out on hunting, if you don't need the meat, have a garage full of antlers, and don't enjoy being on the mountain go do something else.
how much different is this conversation if we focus on the "recreates" portion of the OP vs the hunting portion?
 

wllm

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how much different is this conversation if we focus on the "recreates" portion of the OP vs the hunting portion?
Similar, different specifics, depends on the type of recreation. I don't think it changes all that much.
 

BirdManMike

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The desire to preserve a relationship to quality hunting and outdoor recreation for ones family isnt selfish in itself. In terms of what we are talking about here, ie western hunting -- selfishness begins with actively trying to limit enjoyment of others to ones own benefit, be it advocating for more favorable tag allocations, limiting of use or opportunity for others, or, in the case of Rinella article, censorship*.

A lot of the time, even here on this forum, the desire to keep others from enjoying what is perceived as theirs is based on some arbitrary line on a map with some additional, arbitrary criteria show sup. The Montana state border, for instance. The hunting in the northwest portion of the state has largely deteriorated (or so people seem to say, anyway), right? Well, should the people who have been hunting the same valley, mountain, prairie, or steppe in the Custer, SW Montana, central MT, etc, etc, for a few generations somehow care whether you are 5 generations NW MT? Not a chance, you are no better than Tony from New York (seriously, Tony is from NY - Joe is from somewhere less Italian in my mind). And, Tony has contributed more financially to funning FWP buying a tag that single season that you have the past 20!

I dont really know anything about Mark or the other Rinella. I can say with (relative) certainty that their hunting isnt limited the same hollow year in, year out that their grandpappy hunted.

*The money for exposure nonsense that social media brings is selfish in its own right, of course!
 

neffa3

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Similar, different specifics, depends on the type of recreation. I don't think it changes all that much.
Really? I disagree

We have tons of systems in place to limit hunting for the benefits of certain users groups, we are constantly updating and changing those system, often making them more exclusive uses.

While we are doing the exact opposite with general recreation in most places, unless we have reached the physical capacity of our human infrastructure (e.g. traffic jams in NPs).

We are clearly being more selfish in the hunting space than in the recreation space.
 

88man

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more peer group conversation

I pay my sportsman activities forward its just how I was brought up and all that with a trapper as a father. Almost all my friends who hunt devote some level of money & TIME to habitat projects and youth experiences.
You can't keep it all to yourself the public owns it and we need good stewards in the future.
 

OntarioHunter

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I generally don't have a problem sharing my hunting spots with people I know. Most folks don't have the ability or desire to hunt as hard as I do so I don't worry too much about competition. However, I only divulge public hunting spots. The last thing I need is for someone who discerns my identity on this forum showing up at a property owner's or outfitter's door claiming I sent them then behaving like an asshole.
 

wllm

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Really? I disagree

We have tons of systems in place to limit hunting for the benefits of certain users groups, we are constantly updating and changing those system, often making them more exclusive uses.

While we are doing the exact opposite with general recreation in most places, unless we have reached the physical capacity of our human infrastructure (e.g. traffic jams in NPs).

We are clearly being more selfish in the hunting space than in the recreation space.
It's hard because it's consumptive v. non-consumptive and federal versus a state owned asset.
The feds can't actually make NR specific rules.

I'm more just commenting on the frustration of locals versus non-locals on crowding.

Once things hit a certain point residents are happy to eat their own, I've already seen CO residents want to give county residency preference/wester slope preference. AK probably will ban non-local resident hunters from hunting what a quarter of the state next fall?
 

neffa3

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It's hard because it's consumptive v. non-consumptive and federal versus a state owned asset.
The feds can't actually make NR specific rules.

I'm more just commenting on the frustration of locals versus non-locals on crowding.

Once things hit a certain point residents are happy to eat their own, I've already seen CO residents want to give county residency preference/wester slope preference. AK probably will ban non-local resident hunters from hunting what a quarter of the state next fall?
I tend to think they're both consumptive.

And the fed completely have the right to restrict access, maybe not based on state of residence, but they could restrict all kinds of activities. The difference is that they don't because we don't demand that they do.
 

wllm

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I tend to think they're both consumptive.

And the fed completely have the right to restrict access, maybe not based on state of residence, but they could restrict all kinds of activities. The difference is that they don't because we don't demand that they do.
Yeah... it's more a vib thing...

 

BuzzH

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more peer group conversation

I pay my sportsman activities forward its just how I was brought up and all that with a trapper as a father. Almost all my friends who hunt devote some level of money & TIME to habitat projects and youth experiences.
You can't keep it all to yourself the public owns it and we need good stewards in the future.
That's great and good on you and your friends for helping others.

Just curious how many of those you've helped have invested anything else other than buying a license paying it forward.

That is the issue with R3 that I'm having a hard time reconciling with the need for more hunters. Are we REALLY creating anything other than more consumptive users and crowding the woods? I'd have to say if we are creating advocates, I'm either blind or there just aren't that many advocates being created. I think R3 and websites like these have given already existing hunters more readily available information (meaning they apply all over the place), hunt harder in their own states, and mine areas better than where they used to hunt.

Just lately on a couple threads here, season setting meeting in Helena 20 people show up as an example. One would think with 130K+ Resident elk hunters, there would be a better turn out. Same thing in Wyoming, same faces for the most part attending meetings, pushing for change, securing habitat, yada yada.

I don't think R3 is having the desired results and if it is, someone is going to have to show me some conclusive evidence to the contrary.

To be fair, and not to just bust the chops of those entering the sport, there are thousands upon thousands of hunters that have been at it a long time that also do nothing more than buy a license each year. Never write a letter, never attend a meeting...so they're not above my criticism of those that only consume our areas and wildlife.

The one place that I believe Matt Rinella is being extremely selfish on is the positive side of social media on hunting ISSUES. I learn of a lot of issues either via forums, email, etc. Issues that I would have likely not heard about any other way.

As a positive example would be this recent corner crossing case, even though Matt may not like Steve's platform, to deny its usefulness is to deny reality. He put out the corner crossing on one of his platforms (instagram I think) and within 24 hours about 30K in donations poured in. Donations that could potentially open up a bunch of public land for all of us.

So, I think maybe even Matt is being a bit selfish when he only looks at the downside of how Steve's platforms are impacting him negatively. There is some upside to be considered as well.

Who has all the right answers?
 
Yeti

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