Hunting Diversity

Gazing out from the top of the M, an old man and I chatted about the town sprawled out before us. Bustling Boz Angeles annoyed him. I instinctively defended my home, eventually pointing out the surprising amount of diversity we have relative to our population. Bozeman may not have equal race representation, but otherwise it's a melting pot.

“Diversity is overrated,” he said. “I’ve lived all over the world, including the Soho district of London, which is about as diverse a place as you’ll find. You know what diversity brings? Conflict. Nobody can agree on anything.”

This got me thinking, and what I began to realize is that Bozeman has the best of both worlds. We do, in fact, have shared fundamental values—among them being a love of, and concern for, the natural world; a tendency to value relationships and experiences over blind accumulation of cash; a sense of community; and a friendly, live-and-let-live attitude. There’s no shortage of cool towns in the Rocky Mountains; what draws us to Bozeman is comfort within our environment and kinship with our fellow residents. We feel at home.

And yet we’re a diverse bunch, what with our range of hobbies and interests, disparate geographic and educational backgrounds, and varied political and religious beliefs. We are liberals and conservatives, hippies and rednecks, artists and mechanics, vegetarians and carnivores. And, as autumn arrives in Montana, we are hunters and nonhunters.

That’s right, hunting season is here, and this issue of Outside Bozeman pays tribute to both this age-old Montana pastime and the indifferent spectators who endure it with grace and good humor. O/B editor-at-large Drew Pogge is one of those affable noncombatants; read his amusing commentary on page 68. Also check out Andrew Crowe’s account of his first bowhunt (page 36), Dave Carty’s tips on pet safety during hunting season (page 59), and Christina Campbell’s explanation of wild game’s nutritional benefits (page 49).

We also honor the great diversity of Bozeman’s outdoor world, ranging as it does from conventional sports like mountain biking (see Bill Bilverstone’s hilarious account on page 40), to more esoteric activities such as caving—on page 60, James Cummins gives a rundown of this strange subterranean pursuit. And on page 24, Rick Bass offers a rather unique approach to the use of bear spray. There’s also plenty of fishing stories for all the trout addicts among us, as well as the usual assortment of humor, area attractions, and gear and book reviews.

So as the fall season settles in around us, consider how lucky you are to live in a place where you can be pretty much whoever you want to be. As long as your behavior doesn’t harm others or dishonor the community at large, go ahead and do your thing. After all, if hunters and nonhunters can live in harmony, I’m pretty sure the rest of us can too.