Who do you think is the most regimented, obsessive and detail-oriented group of “outdoorsy” people out there? The Latin-spouting entomologist fly angler? The micrometer-minded benchrest shooter? The trophy white-tail fanatic who analyzes terrabytes of trail cam data?
Nope, nope and nope.
For my money it’s gotta be birdwatchers. I know of no other group as involved in the minutiae of their chosen interest as birders. Not only do they obsess and debate the most arcane taxonomic details of the birds they watch, but they scrupulously and compulsively record everything. State lists, life lists, year lists. Everything they see and do is recorded, verified and checked off .
Now I – and I suspect many of you – consider myself a “birder” albeit a casual one. I don’t lose sleep over what sub-species of junco visits my feeder and all of my “birding” trips involve dogs and shotguns rather than binoculars and field guides. Still, I admire the hard-core birder’s devotion to pursuing that lifelist and I’m curious if any of you do something similar with hunting or fishing. I know many turkey and sheep hunters try for their grand slams but what about the rest of us? Is there anybody out there with a similar goal for say, catching all the various regional sub-species of trout or largemouth bass or bagging each of our quail species?
I for one am really interested in obscure sub-species of popular gamefish. Two that come to mind for me are the greenback cutthroat featured on Flytalk a couple weeks ago and the Guadalupe bass found (unfortunately) only in Texas.
Through a potent combination of bad weather, trout-fishing ignorance and general incompetence I whiffed on catching a greenback cutthroat during a recent trip to Colorado, despite some excellent advice and suggestions from Tim Romano. But once I learn how to tell the difference between a brown trout and a cutthroat I’ll be trying that one again, and I’ll hopefully be chasing some Guadalupe bass later this fall.
So let’s hear it, what’s your personal hunting and/or fishing lifelist? What’s your Grail quest? It can be as exotic or as pedestrian as you wish, but it must be something you’re actively trying to achieve or plan on achieving. Let’s show those birders that we can be as obsessed as they are with chasing obscure and unknown species.