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A day at the Adk Sportsmans Dinner

Notes from the North Woods

Snow cover makes for an easy portage when hauling a guideboat into the ponds, early in the season.

Snow cover makes for an easy portage when hauling a guideboat into the ponds, early in the season.

The rendezvous provides an opportunity for prospective guides to take the NYSDEC guides license exam, and it also provides further opportunities for training and certification for member guides.

Like the old trapper’s Rendezvous of the Rockies, the current day gatherings provide member guides with the opportunity to share the company of like-minded professionals, and to compare notes, tips and tall tales. As usual, there were more tall tales than truths, and plenty of laughs.

However, I was also involved in a more serious discussion concerning a response I had sent to a request the association had received for a guide. Earlier in the year, a gentleman had sent a request to members of the association seeking the services of a licensed guide to assist him in achieving the goal of becoming an Adirondack ’46er.

Although he had already climbed several of the high peaks, he wanted to hire a guide to help him tackle some of the more remote peaks which require a base camp. His request described a desire to find a competent, experienced guide to help him achieve his goal. I had considered responding to his request, until I discovered the caveat he had included, which read simply, “and please, no hunters.”

I reread his request, which was pretty simply and straight forward. Hunters need not reply. He wanted a competent woodsman, or woman to accompany him up and down the High Peaks. But, if the competent guide also happened to be a hunter, then he was for some reason, no longer safe or competent company.

It was the first time I had experienced discrimination based exclusively on my choice of recreational activities. It didn’t sting, but it was an insult to all fellow hunters. It wasn’t a matter of race, or creed, or religion, or any other persuasion. I was unqualified simply because I hunted. Needless to say, I responded to the request in rather firm terms, and I asked fellow members to consider the obvious discrimination.

Joe Hackett is a guide and sportsman residing in Ray Brook. Contact him at brookside18@adelphia.net.

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