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Frustration

On May 11, 2008, in Uncategorized, by Meghan
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This post is probably going to come across as whiny because I’m going to complain about something I’m unable to change. In my current state of frustration, I don’t really care.

In the nearby national forest, I spend the fall dodging all kinds of hunters on trails and roads. Realistically, this means I mostly don’t go to the national forest unless it’s for a short run from an unoccupied trailhead; I can sometimes pull this off when the weather or time of day is bad for hunting. All winter long, I actively avoid certain national forest roads because Native Americans “hunt” bison from their truck windows, seemingly oblivious to their surroundings. Throughout the year, I keep a careful eye out for people whom, as a young-ish female running alone, I find potentially threatening. If you think it’s excessive that I assess people for their ability to do harm, then you’ve probably not yet had the unforgettable experiences of receiving solicitations for sexual favors from or been videotaped by strange men while you’re alone in the national forest.

Today, because we all were headed for the same trailhead, two bear hunters told me to turn around, “if I knew what was good for me.” I sure did know what was good for me, so I took a short-cut trail directly back to my car, wiping tears of frustration from my cheeks as I ran, ending my planned 5 hour run after only 90 minutes.

On so many levels, it’s just so freaking unfair. However, it’s blatantly clear that this area of national forest was not created for and does not exist to support the kind of recreation I want to do. It’s also blatantly clear that my interests and I are in the minority in this little piece of the world, and nothing I say or do is going to change this fact.

 

14 Responses to “Frustration”

  1. Audrey says:

    It IS unfair Meghan. Truthfully I did wonder a little how you always headed out alone b/c that’s something that I worry about when I head into the woods here or am out running by myself in sketchy/isolated areas (not in boston so much but when i travel). It sucks and it makes me just as mad.

  2. Kevin says:

    I am sorry that you had that experience Meghan. I am a hunter, and it really upsets me when nice people like you have encounters with brutish, chauvinistic, and abrasive hunters like the ones you mentioned in your post. Behavior like that is a black eye on all hunters and gives us all a bad name.

  3. Bob Gentile says:

    (sigh))))

    Hope ur feeling better today Meghan, that is some BS, but please be safe then sorry out there and IF you have those encounters in the future continue on with your instincts and head back home.

    See ya soon, think about how much fun we are going to have at KM and also think about HOW funny it will be to watch me MOVE around the next day…(ohhhhhhhhhhhhhh joyyyyyyy)

  4. JeffO says:

    They were certainly rude. Most of us head out there to escape the hassles of humanity. We’re even willing to trade the dangers of humanity for the danger of being eaten by predators. At least predators are simple and fairly predicatable. Humans aren’t.
    I didn’t know hunting was allowed this time of year.

  5. olga says:

    Meghan, dear, I am so with you, and I wish we could change minority into majority. That is crap! Hunting for pure pleasure is totally crap! I understand when you do it for food gathering, but just to pull a triger in some adrenaline rush killing an animal that you are not even going to serve at the table? When we did a run in Smith Rock and beyond, we came across people just randomly shooting – not even hunting. There were at least 30 runners in territory, and those boozed shooters with families (wives and small kids including) had just decided it’s their time to get drunk, crank the music and disturb the peace. I so wanted to kick their asses…but there were many, with beer and shotguns. I wish hunting for “fun” can be totally prohibited. Do men really feel manly when they shoot a deer in a forest??? How about those men go to Alaska and try to survive by doing same? I wonder if they could…
    Oh, and about “other” safety issues…that bothers me a lot, especially since I did have a very bad experience back when I was a teen. This feer is worse than a feer of been dead by cougar, and I AM scared of cougars.

  6. Meghan says:

    Hi y’all! Thanks for the comments. Re-reading my post, I think it comes across as anti-hunting, anti-hunter, across the board. Thus, I wanted to comment on my own post to clarify myself.

    Though I do not hunt, I support certain types of hunting. For example, I support people who hunt prey species for personal consumption, like the folks around here who hunt deer, elk, and pronghorn, then eat their finds all winter long.

    I don’t support the hunting of the rare species for trophies, around here that’s black bears, mountain lions, bighorn sheep, and (very soon in the state of Wyoming) wolves. I don’t support the so-called “hunting” that the Native Americans do with bison around here because I believe they do it dangerously. And, I certainly don’t support any kind of hunter who proceeds recklessly and with general disregard for the local land and people.

    Finally, I believe that public land is just that, and everyone should be entitled to do their own thing, within the regulations of that land. It’s common, for example, on other public lands to have areas that are closed to hunting during the various seasons, so that the non-hunting travelers can safely pass. Here, there are no designated areas that are closed to hunting for the specific purpose of providing hunting-free zones for non-hunting travelers. During hunting seasons, this area of national forest is managed to support hunting traffic. Everyone else must simply get by.

    I’ve written a lot in this blog and my old one about hunting, so if you wish to read more about my thoughts, you’re welcome to peruse. I’m hoping I didn’t offend anyone with the tone or the implied ideas of this blog entry.

    Meghan

  7. Meghan says:

    Audrey- It is unfair! I, too, get a little sketched when I’m traveling and I don’t know where I am. Sometimes, you just want to have a worry-less run!

    Kevin- I really hope my post didn’t offend you, as it wasn’t intended to harp on all forms of hunting. Please see my other comment. Thanks for visiting!

    Bob- Le sigh. Yes, I feel fine again today. Thanks for caring. You and I will both be gimpy. Can you believe I scored such a cheap ticket!?

    JeffO- You’re so right! Most other animal species behave predictably, while us humans are the deviants in our expected behaviors. There’s a black bear season and a wild turkey season going on right now, just through the end of the month, I think.

    Olga- I’m sorry you had that experience at Smith Rock. I have a few friends whose hobby is shooting. However, they go to designated indoor and outdoor ranges. They contain their recreational shooting because, not only can unregulated, recreational shooting be dangerous, but it can be environmentally damaging in several ways. I, too, fear humans way more than any wild animal.

  8. kendrara says:

    I’m sorry the world had to be that way, too. The other day I was remembering an attack that happened to me out in the woods near Jerry Johnson hot springs… luckily it turned out okay for me except for the fact that I still think about it and I get mad. And sometimes I’m running somewhere and I see someone and I reverse directions specifically so as not to pass them because I’m scared. And then I get mad that I’m scared. And people tell me not to run in the woods alone, too, even women do, who are just at risk, to me, sitting at home alone. Thank you for drawing attention to all your readers that as tough and free as we may seem to be, and as we deserve to be, we need people out there to behave with respect and dignity. Of course the ones reading your blog already do.

  9. elizabeth says:

    Hi Meghan. I’m sorry. I would react the same way. Come over to the Big Hole valley and run with me anytime! It is a big hunting area during the season, but I’ve never had any problems. Its very rare that the dogs and I even see another person on our runs. I love it here, although its a very cold part of MT and we have a month of terrible mosquitos, but no Grizzleys or Bison!

  10. Danni says:

    That’s such BS. The only good thing is that hunters don’t usually seem to get too far down the trail.

  11. Runningdoctor says:

    Yeah, I remember being kicked off an ATV trail by some guy wth a gun (he was ok with ATVs but not runners, I guess).

    For the first 10 minutes, I didn’t think much of it and just ran back to the road. But then, wow, I got so super pissed off for days. This guy was threatening me with a gun!

    Now, you could have called the police, I suppose, if you felt they were threatening you. Not that it would have done much good.

  12. Iris says:

    I feel your frustration! If I had to wait for someone to run with me every time I wanted to hit the trails, I’d rarely get to go. After a guy exposed himself to me a couple months ago (yes, on trails in a park), I was angry enough to start carrying bear spray – not for wildlife, but humans!

  13. Meghan says:

    Kendra- Gasp! It sounds like an awful thing happened to you, and I’m very sorry for that. I agree wholeheartedly in that I hate how weak this phenomenon makes us very strong women feel.

    Elizabeth- I’m so glad you’re able to run without interruption. I may take you up on that offer someday! Thank you!

    Danni- Yup, yup!

    Runningdoctor- Thanks for reading and commenting. I have called the police once in the past, when the guys harassing me were drinking and driving. Sorry that you were harassed by the ATV’ers.

    Iris- Oh no! I cannot believe someone did that to you. That’s simply awful! So sorry for that.

    To all- Doesn’t it seem like we all have a story to tell? It’s so sad!

  14. Trail Goat says:

    Have you ever considered running with a bigger gun than these folk? Simple backcountry reckoning tells us that he with the big gun wins any dispute.

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