Monday, September 6, 2010

Redneck Recreation?

Start of Elk Season
With blue skies and warm weather, Saturday saw the beginning of the archery hunting season. I have been looking forward to this weekend ever since my parents bought me a bow for graduation in June. And with months of target practice and several hours pouring over maps of potential hunting spots Dad and I hunted hard all day Saturday and this morning. The exciting part of the archery season is its overlap of the elk rut, when ideally you are more likely to run into a bull that's not quite right in the head for thinking about some pretty little cow. It's still a little early for the rut and bulls aren't bugling yet, so no luck for us, but it was an outstanding excuse to get outside, feeling some crisp fall air, and seeing some rugged country. Montana boy forever, eh?

Redneck Recreation
As I mentioned before, I've been shooting my bow a lot this summer as well as getting out and cutting wood with my dad. Spending a whole summer back home starts to give the back of my neck a reddish hue... All summer long we have been working on a new term to describe our different hobbies. I would like to consider myself a gravity sport junky (I love to rock climb, mountaineer, ski, mountain bike, cycling, kayak, and raft) and spend a lot of time staying in shape in order to excel at them all. However, I am also a sportsman, with hunting and fishing in my arsenal of outdoor hobbies. Living in western Montana also offers wood cutting, fur trapping, riding a snow mobile, or dirt biking.

I don't remember where it first started but we have coined the term of Redneck Recreation to include any number of pursuits that certain gravity sports friends might not understand or relate to. To further define "double R" (Redneck Recreation), consider these three comparisons:
1. When I climb mountains or tear down mountain bike trails I have a great appreciation for the world around me, especially the earth and its various features. However, it really only goes as deep as the geosphere level. On the other hand, hunting, fishing, and even huckleberry picking (more on the RR end of the spectrum) interacts with the world on the biosphere level. It has more of a feel of the hunter-gatherer roots of ages past.
2. Sports like mountain climbing and skiing have origins based on the need for transportation. However, these sports as we know them today really didn't start until after the Industrial Revolution when the blue collar working man or woman was able to think about leisure time and not making a living by working all week long. RR tends to be more on the necessity end of of sport rather than leisure or entertainment. Take fishing for example. The purist would look at fishing as a challenge in and of itself to catch the fish with an artificial lure, potentially tied at home and release it relatively unharmed back into the stream from whence it came. The RR enthusiast could throw on a home-tied fly or a worm as long as it is attracting fish to take back to the dinner table.
3. Finally, you could say RR includes anything that yuppie, purist, mountain people would snub their nose at. Flatbed diesel trucks loaded with 2 cords of firewood, a ski rack on the back of a snow mobile, or having a shotgun in the cab of your pickup from September until ski season to shoot grouse on the side of the road.

So get outside and embrace your inner redneck!