Aerial Gunning of Wolves is not Hunting

Aerial gunning of wolves is predator control. It is only related to hunting because the method is to shoot the animal. Aerial gunning benefits hunters (both subsistence and sport hunters) by reducing the kill of caribou and moose by wolves. This activity makes more game animals available for human consumption.

Hunting pits the outdoor skills of an individual against wild animals accustomed to being pursued from the time they hit the ground. It is normal behavior for game animals to be pursued and they don’t care whether they’re hunted by wolves or humans, they just know they have to stay alert to survive.

bull-caribou-at-finger-mountain-by-dickie-byrd-croppedThis photo was photographed by Dickie Byrd along the Alaska haul road. Thanks Dickie.

It’s also normal for human predators to hunt. It is how we stay in touch with our instincts and our surroundings. Human hunters require habitat for hunting which benefits all wildlife. This is one of the keys to the success of the North American wildlife managment model, which has been successful in providing habitat for and restoring many animals species that dwindled during settlement days when management was not considered.

It takes guts  for Sarah Palin to do the right thing for her constituents regardless of mindless attacks by far left groups who have little first hand experience with wildlife. We’re not talking about the family dog, we’re talking about animals that can overpopulate and subsequently decimate game herds.

Although I haven’t been directly involved in wolf control, predator control generally involves cases where the a predator population has risen to a point where it is out of balance with the management plan for an area.

The areas in Alaska where these activities occur are remote and unreachable during the time of year when wolves are most vulnerable – winter. That makes them more vulnerable and saves the users/taxpayer money.

This is not sport. This is management.

Mule Deer Foundation Convention

I’ll be leaving for the Western Hunting Convention and Big Game Expo in SLC tomorrow morning. The event is also the MDF convention with big banquets on Thursday and Saturday (Feb 5&7 2009).

The event fills up the Salt Palace, which is huge. There will also be a concert on Friday night and Jeff Foxworthy will be MC at the Saturday night event.

The show is a typical hunting trade show with many booths where exhibitors display info about their products. Most interesting are the guided hunting trips all over the world.

The best part of the trip is getting together with my MDF friends from all over the country. I’ll have to work hard not to get too carried away and come home with something I can’t afford.

We’ll also be talking about making MDF a better organization and stuff like that.

Missing the Point About Conservation

For many years I’ve supported conservation organizations and believed that I was making a difference by doing so. Like most of my friends in conservation I have done so without really worrying about what I was getting in return. I’ve believed that the cause helped wildlife and helped to minimize attacks on hunting
Recently I received an email that made me wonder about some of my hunting brethren.
 
Here’s what (name deleted) had to say. 
“My Friend and I are Traditional Archery Hunters and interested in becoming members of MDF, we are both retired and belong to the Diablo Bowmen Archery Club in Clayton California.
I live in Discovery Bay, and (also deleted) lives in Magalia near Paradise.
For years I have belonged to Phesants Forever, Doves & Quail Unlimited, Ducks Unlimited, North American Hunting Club, California Deer Assoc. California Wildfowl Assoc., none of which has ever helped me in my quest for hunting property access. All they seem to do is ask me for more money and support, but they have never ever enabled me to get hunting access.
 
So why am I writing to you? I’d like to be up front and ask if joining MDF will lead to us being able to gain access to hunting areas either open to members of MDF or Public Access ? This may sound a bit selfish but to tell you the truth every one of the “Clubs” organization I listed above have just been a magazine subscriptionand a junk mail source, to which I “donated” moneies not recognized by the IRS as donations.
 
As I am now retired, I like to gets some return on my investments.
 
So bottom line should we join?

(name deleted)”

Needless to say I responded with a “no.” Based upon this man’s statement, he will be no happier with MDF than he has been with the other groups he has previously joined. This man does not understand that we need to conserve our resources in order to enjoy them.

He should have read the mission of each of these organizations and if he had, he might not have sent this email.

By putting money and effort back into the resource we are making an attempt to assure our activities produce a net gain for wildlife. We could do nothing, but over time the resource would dwindle until neither hunters or anybody else would be able to enjoy the pleasure of viewing, hunting and eating wild game.

Access would be worthless if there were no game animals to hunt.

It would be hard to feel good about ourselves if we did nothing but take and never gave back. For me, giving back is an important part of feeling valued and happy.

We’ll never know for sure the effectiveness of our efforts, but at least we know we tried and for me that’s good enough for me.

 

More Youth Hunt Photos

Here are some shots of the recent youth hunt. These were taken by Ron Spradlin.

darren-and-hunter

Darron Solero, CWA Regional Director, set up the hunt and cooked the prehunt wild game feed of mallard and honker breasts. His son, Hunter, came along for the trip.

ron-and-robbie-around-the-fire-croppedRon and Robbie around the camp fire.

in-the-cattails-readyRobbie at the ready.

robbie-in-pond-moving-positions-croppedRich in the distance, Rob and Robbie on the move.

robbies-first-duckFirst duck, a hen pintail.

lola-hands-over-greenhead-croppedLola does the job on a greenhead.

robbie-with-greenhead-readyFirst drake mallard.

ron-and-robbie-at-the-hunts-endRon and Robbie at the end of the hunt.

robbie-with-ducks-geeseRobbie with his birds.

A First-Duck-Hunt Jackpot

robbie-with-his-haul

Youth hunts are supposed to be a good opportunity, but this was ridiculous.

Fourteen year old Robbie was on his first duck hunt and he must have been impressed as we headed for the pond. Thousands of ducks and geese were rising from the marsh as we approached.

Snow geese were exploding from the water with a roar of wings. Pintail, wigeon and teal were zipping about. White front geese were making their signature yodel calls.

Our first set-up didn’t work out, so we moved a little closer to the grind and Robbie made the first attempts of his life to bring down a duck. Lola and I were there to retrieve the birds and set up in the cattails behind Robbie, his grandfather Ron Spradlin and my brother Rob. After the first shot I remember hearing some chuckling as Robbie got his first appreciation for the speed which ducks travel.

And, at the same time waterfowl went airborne in all directions. Spring, teal, wigeon, they were everywhere.

Now there were plenty of targets. After four or five whiffs in short order, I began to wonder how long it would take Robbie to get the hang of it. Then a flock of ducks came in low in front of us and down came a hen sprig. Lola did her work and we were on our way.

I think he hit three in a row including a greenhead that came to our calling. After a miss, he downed another greenhead. Impressive for a first duck hunt.

As the birds thinned out, we could see that quite a few wigeon were working another part of the pond a about 150 yards away so we shifted. On the way a flock of specs appeared and headed directly for us. We ducked into the cattails and Robbie reloaded.

On his first shot at a goose he connected and now were were cooking. Shortly after arriving at the next setup, several huge flocks of snow geese appeared on the horizon. The low-flying geese passed directly overhead and with three shots Robbie downed two.

A few minutes later severl groups of Ross’s Geese decended upon us and with that Robbie had six geese. Lola and I spend about a half hour rounding up snow geese which seemed to be dropping all over the pond.

At about 11:00 AM, Ron declared that he and Robbie had enough and we headed back to camp for sandwiches. What a day. In the end Robbie had fired almost two boxes of shells and had collected four ducks and six geese. What a first duck hunt.