One of my accomplishments in life was earning the Eagle Scout award. Somewhere in the process of working towards Eagle, I had to learn the Outdoor Code. For those of you who are not familiar with it, here it is:
As an American, I will do my best to -
Be clean in my outdoor manners.
Be careful with fire.
Be considerate in the outdoors.
Be conservation minded.
I want to speak about the fourth line, "Be considerate in the outdoors." This is one of my underlying philosophies of most everything I do. Most of my life has been involved in the outdoors in some way. As someone who follows the beliefs and philosophies of the Seminoles and Muskogee Creek, the native people of the southeast, this is also inherent in their ways.
A few days ago I saw a video on Youtube where the vlogger was letting his dog chase after a wild turkey. The bird was clearly in distress. When I brought this to his attention, the response I received was scorn and hate. How dare I even challenge his right to let his dog run loose in the outdoors and harass the native indigenous wildlife. I am not going to say who this vlogger is, but he is a pot head who lives in San Francisco, and this one incident on the video and the reaction I received from my comment said all I need to know about him.
That turkey in the video might have been sitting on a nest. I wonder if the dog caused the death of any of those birds? Most Native American tribes hold turkeys in high regard, including the Seminoles and Creeks.
Below: Rock Eagle Mound in Georgia. Guess what? It's not an eagle, but a turkey.
We need to do everything we can to allow wildlife to live its life and not be harassed by man or man's predator pets who have it in their very nature to kill other wildlife.
As a park ranger, I am always confronted with wildlife. But I am a keeper and steward of it, and my mission is to preserve the natural resources. Not to crush those big ugly grasshoppers that are everywhere in the park during the summer. I have seen cottonmouth water moccasins so many times I lost count long ago. Bugs, bees, spiders, and things that most people would want to kill, I need to leave alone. I am in their home, and they have a right to be here. Our natural areas are diminishing, and every year it seems that man is destroying more wildlife and wildlife habitat. I used to see gopher tortoises everywhere when I was a kid, and now have become so scarce I am not allowed to pick them up.
I take exception with mosquitoes, which I have here in abundance. I do not like or care for them. But I will never run out of them. The other week, one bug trap used to count mosquitoes, the size of a soup can, collected 2,000 mosquitoes in only one hour here. But I have seen the Seminoles themselves allow the mosquitoes to bite them and remained unharmed, because there are stories that the Seminoles have about how even the mosquitoes have their place, and at one time saved humanity. I respect their belief. I know that the mosquitoes have their purpose and place, even if I am not fond of them. Many other animals need the mosquitoes for their food to survive.
If you are ever going to seek to understand the indigenous American cultures that go back thousands of years, and if you ever seek to understand the natural world and environment while in the outdoors, you will have to have to live by the Outdoor Code. Be considerate in the outdoors. Otherwise, you will never understand the Earth and the people of the Earth. You will just be an invader in the outdoors and never progress beyond that. Mr. San Francisco will never find what he seeks until he shows that he will live by the Outdoor Code. Just my honest opinion!