The third and final presidential debate is tonight, and I’ll be tuned in and keyed up. Keeping in the spirit of the debate (but without actually discussing politics, because frankly, my nerves could use a break), I thought we’d talk about the art of debate in the field, ie., conflict resolution.
Hopefully you’ve never had occasion to stand your ground in the woods, but I know it comes up. One of the most frustrating stories I ever heard was from a woman who’d shot an elk while hunting with her husband, then was approached by a conservation officer who could not be convinced that her husband hadn’t shot the animal for her. Wow.
And we’ve all seen too many headlines (hell, one is too many) of territory disputes ending in injury, or worse.
Thankfully, I haven’t experienced anything nearly that frustrating or serious. But I was on a duck hunt a number of years ago with a landowner/guide, who certainly made life a little less pleasant.
I was still new to shotguns, and this particular morning I was using a borrowed one that I’d been given a half-hour earlier. I have a long neck, so I’d fit a Velcro pad on the stock so my cheek would be better positioned. I happened to be sitting next to this landowner in a floating blind when I had to take a minute to readjust it.
But he quickly decided he’d had enough of me. He turned, said, “That thing’s just a gimmick,” ripped the pad off, and threw it across the blind, where it skidded into the water.
Well, it didn’t turn into much of a debate, because even though I was mad as hell, I was still very unsure of myself in the field, and besides, this guy seemed to have a temper, and my little gadget was gone for good. I backed down, I’m afraid to say, and just made the best of it.
What conflicts have you encountered in the field? Or rifle range, sporting goods store, wherever. And how have you resolved them? (Hopefully, more effectively than I did back then!). -K.H.