What it used to be

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Posted by JRM on December 05, 2000 at 16:04:46:

In Reply to: Must you hunt?? (+) posted by mattschechter on December 04, 2000 at 20:37:37:

I have been hunting only a couple of months now, but it has been a blast. I don't hunt anything on land, and don't even own a gun (unless you count a paintball gun or two). But I've really enjoyed learning to spearfish. And I've really taken to free-dive hunting. It reminds me a lot of scrambling mountaineering, not a lot of junk to lug around. It's pretty much just you and the ocean. (Please note, I free dive with a partner, but it isn't like SCUBA when they're right next to you all the time. We take turns on the surface, so when I'm down I'm all alone). It's so peacefull.

As a new hunter, I feel that I have missed much of the heyday. But don't blame spearos, or even sport fishers for that matter. In the North Pacific region last year commercial fisherman landed something like 30 million pounds of rockfish. RSD estimates something like 2.5 million certified divers in America. That means every certified diver in the country would have to have shot 12 pounds worth of rockfish last year to equal the impact of commercial guys, and that doesn't include SoCal. So I agree with the post about purchasing seafood.

I was elated last Sunday to bag a big "red snapper". Almost a two footer. I got it using my pole spear, and I was really proud of the achievement. I was bringing it back on the boat, when an old-time diver looked at it and said "nice fish, I remember when there were lot's of those." Due to commercial overfishing, those big fish are getting rarer and rarer.

So I guess my answer to "must I hunt?" is another question, "must you dive?". No. But it is something I enjoy doing. My wife doesn't hunt, she takes pictures. And that's great for her. But she doesn't have to do that either. It's a hobby. It's a sport. It's something we like to do. Given the extremely limited take of spearfishers, it's negligable. And there's almost no waste, no "by-catch". So no, I don't *have* to hunt; but I choose to. I respect your choice not to hunt, and it seems you respect my choice to do so. But I would really recommend that you try it once or twice. It may be something you find you enjoy. I did...


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