The “Arena of Consequence”

What happens in the mountains does not stay in the mountains


By Jim Unmacht, Executive Director AZSFWC

If you’ve ever watched Steve Rinella’s show “MeatEater”, maybe you saw his second episode in Season 8 called “Blue Mountain Bugles”. If not, he was bow hunting elk in Washington and made a less than perfect shot on a nice bull. He had a blood trail, but needed to head back out the next day to try and locate the animal. With the help of another hunter who happened to glass the dead animal, he was able to harvest it, but unfortunately lost some meat to spoilage.


In each show he ends with some closing comments. Here’s what he said in that episode:

“In describing a life lived close to nature, I talk about the arena of consequence, meaning, this is a place where actions produce results that you have to live with. What happens in the mountains does not stay in the mountains. It goes home with you in the form of a complex cocktail of emotions and physical goods. We got a lot of meat, but not as much as we could have gotten. We killed an elk, but not as well as we should have killed it. All you can do is sift through the complexities, for whatever lessons you can find. Then you move on, better equipped, hopefully, for the next go around.”


We all are part of the “arena of consequence” in everything we participate in; be it hunting, angling, shooting, mountain biking, bird watching, hiking, camping, riding, off-roading or even checking cards in our trail cameras.


Regardless of what we enjoy, our individual and collective “actions produce results that you (we) have to live with”. Do we take that shot? Do we ride that trail? Do we hike that mountain? Do we go down that road? Do we look ahead at how our current practices could impact the future of what we enjoy?


Right now we are “sifting through the complexities” of the camera issues. There are passionate calls on both ends of the spectrum, on one hand “ban” and on the other “no ban”. Is there a solution somewhere in the middle? I don’t have that answer, but do wonder how all of this will play out, not next year, but in 10 or 20 years.


On many fronts we are in a changing time. We must think past this season and beyond our tag. We must look at what we do now and think about how it will be viewed in the future. Do we want to control that, or do we want others to do that for us?


There might have been a time when what happened in the mountains stayed in the mountains.


Today and in the coming years, “What happens in the mountains does not stay in the mountains.”


Will we be “better equipped” and ready “for the next go around”?

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