Household chores and remodeling projects are interfering with my ability to enjoy the open hunting seasons. My household chores are currently centered on remodeling, refurbishing and painting the garage and my office, which is attached to the garage, so it is in my interest to finish them. But, I'd rather be hunting. Right now our small game seasons are open but the special early goose season will close after the weekend and I've missed it! Fortunately our grouse and partridge seasons will remain open until January so I still have lots of time to hunt and make up for the seasons I've missed.
I enjoy these special early seasons but I try to remember that the hunter, in any special season, is just a management tool--the early seasons and extra deer tags are attempts to gain some control over increasing wildlife population numbers.
I am all in favor of these special seasons and the availability of extra deer tags but I wonder what these seasons and tags are doing to the mindset of many hunters. Is there a danger that too many tags and seasons with generous bag limits encourage a "kill 'em and stack 'em" attitude that is opposite to hunting's traditions? Perhaps this diametrical positioning of the two attitudes is confusing us, as hunters, when we try to understand the "why" of our hunting. We want to believe we hunt for reasons that are personally esoteric and these reasons are removed from the actual killing of a game animal. Yet, when we go hunting and fail to kill our game we usually feel that we've missed something. I don't believe the honest hunter can deny the desire to bag the game being hunted. That desire to be successful must be put in perspective when it is compared to the abundance of excess tags and special seasons. If the "extra" game killed is going to a food pantry or given to the extended family is the hunter being altruistic to assuage a sense of "taking too much" from the field? Perhaps professional hunters could accomplish the same goals of population management and the meat still be donated to food pantry programs. If the hunter could be removed from the game animal population control tool box the delicate balance between the desire to kill a game animal, the demands of ethical hunting, and the principles of wildlife management could be more easily maintained.
Not too many years ago people who killed more game than they or their family could use were called game hogs. Today we seldom hear that derogatory term. Has wildlife management given legitimacy to the person who was once the game hog? True or not, I believe that the majority of hunters follow the old standards of conduct and kill only what they can use, whether they are hunting in a special season or using additional tags. Good hunters are, by nature, guided by a sense of what is right and that sense is not a product of management but is their nature as ethical hunters. glg
9 months ago