Thursday, October 15, 2009

Thoughts on Early Snow Storm

Throughout the day I’ve been jotting down notes about this snow storm. I know many of you are way ahead of me on receiving the first snow of the year but today’s storm has my full attention! I am not happy about the storm for several reasons and at the top of the list is that I’ve still got several chores to complete before I can write off my office project as “completed.” Also, as a hunter, I am concerned that if this snow does not melt away in the next few days the opening of pheasant season will be interesting. Not that the opening will be delayed, but the early snow will make the birds hold longer, giving hunters and their dogs an advantage they don’t normally have in the opening days.

This advantage is troublesome. On one hand it is great for hunters because it is easier to get a limit of birds, but the easier limits have a price—lots of birds killed early in the season. The ideal, then, is for nature to provide a counter-weight by dumping more snow later in the season to be a counter weight to the earlier easy hunting. The later snows often provide late season birds an escape by preventing all but the most dedicated hunters from penetrating the bird’s hiding places in thick cover.

Unfortunately, the problem of weight-counter-weight is that it has other consequences, if the temperature drops too low, as it did last winter, the birds struggle to survive the cold. I believe there is something that hunters can do to have a positive influence on game bird populations when it is a little too easy to get a limit—practice self restraint.

Suppose a hunter is able to easily shoot a limit of birds on day one of the hunt. On the next day, if the birds continue to hold close and the shots are still fairly easy, reduce the number of birds killed by one bird. If the limit is three roosters a day with two or three days limit a possession limit, then reducing the second and third day’s kill will keep two birds in the population and increase the population’s chances of surviving late season severe weather. I know some people will argue that if one hunter doesn’t take the birds then another hunter will. That’s not true. Certainly, another hunter may ignore the restraint idea and kill a full nine birds over the three days but the two birds the other hunter didn’t kill are still in the population and the number is up by two.

After witnessing last winter’s devastating kill of game birds with the prolonged cold weather I have come to the belief that hunters can take the imitative to protect the game bird populations by insuring that hunting remains just that—hunting. When it is too easy the “hunting” difficulty index begins to drop and we should practice self-restraint. I’d rather have a great hunt and kill one or two birds that I am proud of than a hunt where the birds were too easy and I feel somewhat uncomfortable.

What do you think?

While I was at the SEOPA Conference several people asked me why I don’t have any advertising on my Blog. I didn’t have a good answer. Many suggested that while letting Google put up advertising wouldn’t help the content of my blog they didn’t think it would hurt because the advertisers have no control over the content of the blog, beyond the rules imposed by the site’s owners. So, my question to you, my readers, is whether you think I should allow advertising? I’d really like to hear your opinion. I haven’t made up my mind and don’t propose to do so too quickly. Let me know your thoughts. glg

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