Selfishness and Hunting, Meet Matt Rinella and Tag Allocations

ElkFever2

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Do I think Steve has created a monster? No. He's definitely created a highly influential media empire. I haven't seen where he's been corrupted by greed or power. He still emphasizes hunting for reasons that are palatable to emerging demographics. He brings attention to issues that he thinks are important.
“MeatEater, Inc. brings together leading influencers in the outdoor space to create premium content experiences and unique apparel and equipment.” Earlier this year the mission statement was to create educational and entertaining outdoor content. It appears that it was updated to encompass their growing emphasis on commercial products.

Steve’s company is built on wildlife held in the public trust, and public land. It will continue to consume these resources to enrichen corporations. It’s poorly-bridled capitalism let loose over poorly-protected public resources. Steve’s positive messaging masks just enough of the crap taste of that dynamic to make his products and content palatable to a large hunting audience.
 

ElkFever2

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We keep doing this because we think in the long run we are a net benefit to hunting. Are we correct about that? I'd like to think so. Only time will tell one way or another.
I admire both your assessment of your organization’s net effect on hunting, your willingness to engage on these tough topics.

I am a lifelong hunter, and I have become about x10 more active in conservation advocacy as a result of stumbling on an old OYOA episode on YouTube in 2018. Your content paired with HT was a perfect combination to become more inspired, more educated, and more networked. So it does “work”.
 

longbow51

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This is an interesting read. I know I have said this before, but the comparison to fly fishing in the 90s is apt, with one vital difference; there's no catch-and-release hunting (unless you're me shooting at pheasants). I was on a state committee to look at overcrowding on Montana rivers. Cogent facts were that Montana outfitters advertised magnitudes more than in other western states, newsgroups were flourishing (everyone knew what was hatching where, and when), THE MOVIE was released, and a generalized drought drove more pressure to the tailwaters.

Limiting outfitters is fought bitterly to this day, almost always losing.

In the 90s, before outfitters leased up most of the ranches, pretty easy for local folks, and even polite out-of-staters who planned ahead to gain access for deer; admittedly a little tougher for elk. No longer.

So, it's not really a matter of selfishness, but of carrying capacity of public land hunting, and by extension, fishing. So yeah, trying to fish the Madison or Missouri in season is a pretty miserable experience devoid of solitude, but you do catch fish; whether it's worth it or not is an individual decision. I think this is what Matt is driving at.

Another comment about Steve. Have enjoyed him through the years, and bought his books, cooking and otherwise.

Recently, though, he seems to be a bit of a dilettante. We all miss once in a while, but it's becoming a pattern. He went hunting with a flintlock, muffed a bunch of shots through his unfamiliarity with the set trigger; clean misses, but could just as easily have been a wounded animal. Who goes hunting with a rifle they have only fired a few times? Not a good lesson for newbies.

I get the recruitment of advocates argument, but when is the resource "loved to death"?
 

Dougfirtree

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“MeatEater, Inc. brings together leading influencers in the outdoor space to create premium content experiences and unique apparel and equipment.” Earlier this year the mission statement was to create educational and entertaining outdoor content. It appears that it was updated to encompass their growing emphasis on commercial products.

Steve’s company is built on wildlife held in the public trust, and public land. It will continue to consume these resources to enrichen corporations. It’s poorly-bridled capitalism let loose over poorly-protected public resources. Steve’s positive messaging masks just enough of the crap taste of that dynamic to make his products and content palatable to a large hunting audience.
I see some of the same stuff you do. However, there is one area where (with huge respect for Fresh Tracks), it seems to me Steve's tv show may be "ahead" of FT on these issues. Meat Eater is starting to dedicate a much larger percentage of its episodes to hunts that are not exploding in popularity and putting strain on the resource/enjoyment of others. Maybe it's time for more hunting tv to be focused on squirrels in Missouri, whitetail does in Pennsylvania, catfish in Kentucky, etc. I personally like seeing hunts like that mixed in with the highly competetive, desireable western big game hunts.
 

wllm

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I see some of the same stuff you do. However, there is one area where (with huge respect for Fresh Tracks), it seems to me Steve's tv show may be "ahead" of FT on these issues. Meat Eater is starting to dedicate a much larger percentage of its episodes to hunts that are not exploding in popularity and putting strain on the resource/enjoyment of others. Maybe it's time for more hunting tv to be focused on squirrels in Missouri, whitetail does in Pennsylvania, catfish in Kentucky, etc. I personally like seeing hunts like that mixed in with the highly competetive, desireable western big game hunts.
Until the squirrel guys get on here and start screaming about ruining their spots…
 
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CRMarks

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I also think a lot of the basis for this discussion, and the fundamental need for it be had, is borne out of the very difficult balance faced by fish and game departments to manage our game animals from both ecological and economic perspectives.... which are often diametrically opposed. Western states in particular rely heavily upon the revenues to support state operations and the numerous rural communities scattered across them amongst our public lands.

I think one of the greatest examples of this difficult balance is typified by the efforts to reintroduce predators (e.g. wolves) into various states. I know this is probably going to get the discussion side-tracked, but permit me a bit of latitude on this one. Elk and deer populations are naturally held in check by the carrying capacity of their local habitat and the population of the predators active in that area. In unaltered environments, the synchronized population dynamics of the elk and the wolves rise and fall depending upon the quantity and quality of primary production within their habitat.

With the eradication of predators (e.g. wolves), this portion of population management must now be entirely assumed by humans (e.g. hunting) and disease (e.g. CWD). With changing climatic conditions altering natural cycles of fires, growth, succession, etc., the production side of the carrying capacity equation is now more volatile than ever. As mentioned before, states and communities rely heavily upon the revenues generated by hunters pursuing big game in the western states.

So, wildlife managers are pressed to maintain access to hunting opportunities (tag allocations) to ensure continued economic input while also needing to balance this access with what is needed to ensure a healthy herd. I know many many folks oppose the reintroduction of wolves and there are definitely concerns; however, their MANAGED (emphasis on this) reintroduction will likely help restore balance and curb the growing threat of CWD across our herds. This again presents a challenge and an opportunity for our game managers, but returning to the selfish aspect of this thread, the continued demand for increased tag allocations without consideration of the dramatic changes to our public lands over the last few decades and without any changes to the current management system, is in my opinion very selfish and short-sighted. Selfish for our current hunting community taking from our future community.
 

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