Public Land: Putting the Unity Back in Community

Alyson Rausch // February 28

Being an outdoorsman comes with great responsibility. Not only to the game we pursue or the ground we walk on but also to those around us walking on that very same ground – on our public land.

As an outdoorsman, it’s easy to get caught up in your own hunt. We spend hours, days, weeks, months, and sometimes years preparing to be successful. Therefore, when that hunt is interrupted by someone else, it’s easy to be disgruntled and act impulsively. I have seen this firsthand on public land, either from the group I’m with, or others we encounter in the woods or on the road. It’s frustrating to watch. 

As hunters, we pay to maintain the land, the life within it, and the roads and trails through it. So why don’t we maintain our relationships with those around us who also have a right to that land? I am a firm believer that if we are to preserve centuries worth of tradition in the outdoors, we have to become a single fighting force and respect those who share the same passions and may end up side by side with us in the woods.

I have seen the bad. I have seen people become territorial and question your right to public land or an area frequented by “regulars.” I have seen and heard the frustration in the voice of a disgruntled hunter while they tried to convince me that I don’t belong in that area and have no business being in their space. I have been annoyed and walked away to keep my distance and avoid conflict. 

Public Land: Putting the Unity Back in Community

However, I have also seen the good. I have seen the hunters at the local bar congratulating someone on their recent trophy buck or wall-mounter walleye. I have heard people offer help to a lone hunter or group in need of an extra set of hands. I have seen a gravel road in the middle of the woods packed with two lanes of parked trucks and a crowd of hunters congratulating one man on his recently harvested black bear, passing around cold brews and toasting to a successful day in the woods. 

I don’t intend to make it seem as though most people are rude and unsportsmanlike outdoorsmen. In fact, I notice the opposite in most cases. Regardless, I believe it is important to remind others as often as possible that unity within a community of outdoorsmen is key to the survival of our traditions. After all, in order to preserve our ways of life, we need people to have our backs. 

Giving respect, getting respect, and sharing resources are not just being sportsmanlike…it is a duty we need in order to uphold ethical and moral standards on public land.

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About the Author

Alyson Rausch

Aly is 23-years old and is from Central Wisconsin! Since she can remember, she has been involved in the outdoors. Even before she had her hunter's safety license, her Dad would take her and her sister duck and pheasant hunting, and she developed a passion for waterfowl and bird hunting. It wasn’t until 8 years ago that she began deer hunting. She fixed up an old Browning compound bow and soon bagged her first buck, EVER. From that moment on, she has not only fallen in love with archery hunting, but the practice and art of archery. Aly also loves to pursue black bear. In addition to hunting, she loves to fish both open and hard water. Ice fishing definitely takes the cake, because there is nothing like the excitement of watching your tip-up pop up and pulling a nice Walleye or Northern Pike through the ice. In short, if it involves hunting, fishing, or the outdoors...she’s in!