Few things chap the hide of ethical shooters like seeing other shooters who leave the impression that we're all just a bunch of selfish, thoughtless slobs.
How many times have you been to a public land shooting range and been disgusted by the mess left behind by previous shooters? I'm guessing more than once. I know I have.
It's angering. It's frustrating. It's embarrassing.
Yes, it's embarrassing, because whether fair or not, the fact is that slobs like those who leave messes for others to clean up do represent all of us. And you can bet that a negative impression lasts a lot longer than a positive one.
At a time when the shooting sports and hunting are under attack like never before, why on earth would anyone want to give those opposed to what we do even more ammunition (pardon the pun) to dislike us?
I've heard it. "You should have seen the mess those slobs left. A**holes!" Heck, I've said it myself! You can imagine what nonshooters must think and say.
This goes for hunters and anglers too. I can't tell you how many times I've seen trash from anglers and hunters in the field. I know we all have. It angers me that I have to pick that garbage up, and yes, we ethical sportsmen do have to pick up the garbage of our slovenly, thoughtless brethren. Always carry a small plastic bag in your pocket and do a little trash cleanup when you see it.
And if the mess is significant call your Warden or the local authorities and report it. You never know, they might catch the slob next time around and dissuade him from repeating the crime with a nice little (or big) fine. We all need to be stewards of the land and of the resources we have. Not only for prudent reasons of public image and to help safeguard our activities, but because it's the right thing to do.
Next time you're at the range and you see someone about to leave after shooting, and they've left a mess behind, hand them a trashbag and politely explain to them why it's important to not leave the range in that condition. If they balk at you, take their license plate number, take a photo of them and the mess they left, and report it.
We work too hard for our rights and privileges to have thoughtless slobs ruin it for the rest of us.