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Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Piling On

Sometimes it doesn't matter what kind of effort and persistence that you apply to a field of study. In certain circles, if you make one "mistake" then the whole house of cards collapses around you. Take the case in point of legendary sports-hunter Jim Zumbo and his comment on assault rifles as analyzed by Dave Johnson. Because Zumbo had the temerity to question the sanity of using military assault rifles by sportsmen, it looks like his 40+ year career in outdoor writing and hosting has entered an immediate twilight zone. All advertisers, NRA members, and hunting publishers have virtually left him as virtual road-kill. This story has opened my eyes more than any one in recent memory to the mass psychology of specific segments of the population.

As for myself, practicing the sport of fishing much more than hunting, I would suggest a useful analogy would involve the obvious questioning of using dynamite or poison as a fishing technique if that turned into a "popular" practice employed by a rabid fraction of fishermen. Thinking back on someone who showed the same contrarian viewpoint as Zumbo (but didn't back down), I would consider that publisher George Pazik made a similarly bold pronouncement during the oil crisis in the mid-70's. His frequent suggestions in the pages of Fishing Facts magazine that oil would not last did not seem to offend his readers (at least to the extent of calling for his head) even though gasoline serves as the lifeblood of any serious boating angler. But then again, fishermen don't have a lobbying arm quite like the hunters do with the NRA.

I look forward to hearing what the hosts of my local "Bear Facts and Fish Tales" radio show have to say about the situation. At least one of the hosts of the show seems to have that same hateful response to contrary viewpoints, lately launching diatribes against cross-country skiers who venture across his snowmobile path on the way to his favorite ice-fishing hole.

Not road-rage this mind-set, something more akin to a pathetic hobby-rage.


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