Public Lands & Waters photo

To the alleged duck hunter(s) who visited the east side of Fort Supply Reservoir in Woodward County, Oklahoma on or around the weekend of December 29-30th: I’m sure you don’t give a damn, but I picked up all the empty shell boxes, used wet wipes, plastic bags, candy wrappers, pop cans and other assorted garbage you left strewn across the parking area this past weekend. You’re welcome. That was right classy of you.

You know, I expect that kind of behavior from the methheads who sometimes use these isolated areas of the lake to toss out the toxic leavings of their mobile meth labs. I expect it from the littering, drunken slobs who throw their beer cans and fast-food containers out the window as they drive around the lake looking for road signs and assorted wildlife to shoot up. I even expect it from the don’t-know-any-better high school kids who sometimes throw parties out here, far away from the prying eyes of their elders.

But what I don’t expect is this kind of behavior from my people, fellow hunters, people who ostensibly should have the greatest respect for the land from which we derive our greatest pleasure, our sustenance, and indeed, our very meaning. Most of us have been taught to venerate our public lands, treat them like they’re our own, because they are.

This little piece of public ground (one I’m very fond of, by the way) offered up its treasures to you, and you responded by treating it like a dump. I don’t know how you were raised, don’t know what kind of role models you may or may not have had, but since it’s a new year and therefore the perfect time to turn over a new leaf, here’s a suggested resolution: Try really, really hard to stop being jerks. Instead, make a concerted effort to cultivate a minimum level of class, dignity and ethics. Try mightily to refrain from being an obvious disgrace to your sport and your culture.