Just Do Good

Daryl Kirby | December 24, 2019

The Hippocratic Oath all medical doctors must take and are supposed to abide by says, “First, do no harm.”

A motto that GON Editor Brad Gill and I subscribe to here in making this magazine and all that goes with it is “Just do good.”

Simple enough concept, really easy to say. But it’s not always easy to hit that mark, is it?

Some months it feels like we’re so caught up in the daily grind of producing articles, running down and interviewing sources for news stories, processing deer contest entries. I look back at an issue of GON and wonder how we did. Did we do good?

Our motto has a double meaning of sorts. When we first start saying this, “good” is meant to look for ways to use our power of the printed page to promote and highlight people, groups and events that might uplift others. But it also means just do a good job. We’ve never taken the easy path. Even when the ground is rock hard, we’ll hit that hard pan one more time. Dig a little deeper, add another layer.

An example of that extra effort is our annual VOTES survey. Simply tallying these results takes a crazy amount of effort. But did you realize that for years we’ve taken the time and effort to keystroke every comment and include it in an online version of the article? We don’t have room to put them all in the magazine—it would take 20 pages. But we allow every single voice to be heard in an article that everyone can see at

And we don’t pick and choose the comments that we like or agree with. Even the guy who suggested DNR stock anteaters to combat the fire ant problem… Every comment, every voice has a place to be heard.

A question on the survey each year is Rate Your Deer Season, which gives us county-specific ratings that can be compared to historical trends. It was through VOTES about 20 years ago when GON began to first realize deer hunters were growing dissatisfied with their hunting quality.

Ratings went from mostly good and excellent year after to year, season after season, and then we began to see seasons when the majority of deer hunters rated their hunting quality as poor. They also told us why. It took about five more years of this, but finally coyote predation combined with overharvest of does on hunting-club tracts became an issue in parts of Georgia.

If you’re thinking, “I see this same Rate Your Season question every year, I’m not going to respond.” Consider this. That you see it every year and respond is what makes the survey valuable. Just take a few minutes and do it. I also want to mention that next time you call the office to renew your GON, give them your email address. All members who have their email address in our system get the VOTES survey in an online version through something called Survey Monkey. It’s super easy and super convenient. And we never share email addresses—never have and never will.

Finally, this all leads me to mention another article in this issue of GON. It’s written by a young man named Shaye Baker, who first crossed paths with us when he helped start a bass fishing team at Auburn. Shaye did some writing, did some fishing reports, and he was a regular on tournament weigh-in stages picking up checks. After college, Shaye pushed all his chips to the middle of the tournament bass fishing table. He went all-in, and he won. There are countless young people fishing high school and college level circuits who want the life Shaye had. He was full-time in the bass fishing biz, traveling the circuits working for BASS and top companies. He was one of the young rock stars of the industry.

The first lines of Shaye’s article: “Bipolar… manic depression… mental breakdown. Those are all ugly words. Words used to label people with problems…”

That’s heavy stuff. I know you subscribe to GON to read about awesome fishing techniques and see your fellow GON brothers and sisters with their big bucks. This article is out of the ordinary for what you see in GON, but it is one that might have more impact than any we’ve done in the more than 30 years of making these magazines.

I hope it will. If it helps just one person, we’ve done good.

Shaye’s done good.

You can read Shaye’s article online at Wired2Fish.

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