Pack It In, Pack It Out

Kids Outdoor Outpost August 2018

Joe Schuster | August 9, 2018

It hits me every year. It seems that as soon as the smoke of the Fourth of July fireworks dissipates, I start to think about the upcoming deer season. As my wife and I took a drive home one recent evening, we caught sight of a large doe, a spotted fawn and a buck feeding together just off the shoulder of the road on the fringe of the woods. Usually the doe and the fawns will be close by each other, and bucks tend to stay together in bachelor groups. I can’t recall seeing what looked like a “family” together. Was that buck the father?

My middle son was home on leave from his duty with the Army, which always means that we are going to sling some arrows together. We’ve been doing that together since he was a little kid, and it’s always a satisfying moment to watch and see what a strong bowhunter that he has become. We also take time to kick around the area that we hunt near where we live. Our agreement with the landowner has us posting the property, keeping an eye out for trespassers and poachers and removing trash from the roadside. It’s been a win-win situation for both sides for over a decade and one that I’ve been very thankful to have.

Throughout the year, I pick up roadside trash as part of the Keep Forsyth Beautiful program. At both ends of the mile-long stretch of road are signs from this beautification program and the words “Hunters Feeding the Hungry,” to give recognition to the venison donation program that I head up serving Forsyth, Dawson and Hall counties. That stretch of road always seems to receive continual tosses of the same types of trash throughout the year. I can never understand how or why someone would throw a fast food bag of trash or beverage bottle out the window of their vehicle.

As I started my sons hunting, we would have some great walks through our hunting property. Many times, I would stop and pick up a stray bottle or candy wrapper. My sons would ask me why would I pick those up. They’d say, “We weren’t the ones who threw them there.” I explained that it’s all about respect of the land. Respect the landowner for the opportunity he has provided to share his land and the game that walks upon it. Respect the animals that you pursue. Respect yourself, as we are all stewards of the land that we hunt on. Let’s talk about plastics for a moment.

Have you ever heard of something called “The Great Pacific Garbage Patch?” I recently saw a picture of it. It’s an incredible accumulation of trash floating in the Pacific Ocean. It holds millions of small pieces of plastic and has been said to be as big as Texas. According to the website, it covers about 617,000 square miles, contains about 1.9 billion pieces of trash and weighs more than 90,000 tons. The ocean currents meet to form whirlpool effect that trap this debris. The garbage patch mostly consists of plastic from bags and water bottles and styrofoam, most of this coming from land-based sources.

Remember the phrase, “Think Globally, Act Locally.” The next time you are out in the woods, stop to pack out some of the trash that has been dropped. Just think how much better our game lands would be if we just pitched in to pick it up.


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