Hunting Public Land: The Ethics of Lying

I am a terrible and unwilling liar. That's one reason I'm not a more successful public land hunter. If I run into anyone out in the field, I have a hard time not telling the truth about what I have seen and shot. Good public land hunters are a close-mouthed bunch, and not above fibs, sins of omission, misdirection, and the occasional outright lie.

For instance, the other morning I was out scouting turkeys on the local WMA and saw a truck coming down the road toward me. I recognized it as belonging to a friend we'll call Mr. T. He is one of the best hunters I know, and he has a lot of his success on a crowded public area. We're really more like friendly acquaintances, although we hunt together a time or two every year. He and a friend had been out hunting since before daylight. We stopped in the road, rolled down the windows and compared notes. He told me where he had heard a few birds and seen one. I told him what I had seen, which was nothing but some other hunters.

He said "We're cold. We're going to go get breakfast," and drove off. I headed the other way until I reached a place where the river had risen over the road, so I had to turn around and go back the way I had come. On my way out of the WMA I passed Mr. T's truck parked at a spot I have always suspected he likes to hunt.

Mr. T may have been on his way to breakfast, but he left out the part about stopping at his honeyhole on the way to the cafe.

I didn't take it personally. It's just part of public land hunting. Or is it? Who do you lie to, and to whom do you tell the truth?