Sunday, October 24, 2010

Hunting In Mild Weather, Cats that are Pets, and Feral Cats

Cookie and I have tried a couple of times to get on some grouse but the mild weather and hunting pressure has made them as nervous as a virgin when the fleet's in and they flush just about as far as I can see! As for the ducks, they aren't too interested in moving around much. But there is hope, there is weather starting to appear. I got a little taste of it today and I am hoping for more later this week. I much prefer to hunt birds when there is a strong chill and little wind, just a soft breeze for Cookie's nose.

After short hunting attempts I've returned home to renew my efforts at getting the yard ready for winter. That means pulling the root veggies and all of the flowers. I always feel guilty pulling flowers that still have some color in them so I clip the ones that are not gone and put them over on the little graves of my cats. Funny how my cats generate such feelings yet when I see feral cats I have the exact opposite. Feral cats destroy ground nesting bird populations and can even wreck the cottontail population. I am always amazed at the people who truly believe they are doing their cats a favor by dumping them in the country. They are often the same people you see signing up to protest hunting. This disconnect in their brains is the source of so much damage in nature, yet when they are confronted with this fact they pass it off as lies to protect hunting. The root of the problem? Some say it is in our classrooms and perhaps they are right, but is it the teacher or the support being given the teacher? I am not talking about pay and benefits but the parental support. If the only parents in the classrooms are of the same sort of mindset as the people who dump their cats to "save them from being killed" while the parents who know better, whether hunters or just more informed individuals, stay home because they don't want to be bothered--what is going to be taught? Perhaps another case of "we've met the enemy in the mirror?"
Think about it.


Jim Tantillo said...

Hi Galen,
there is a lot of mythology about feral cats out there--very little evidence, for example, that they "destroy ground nesting bird populations," except perhaps in isolated island settings.

If you send me your email address I will send you a copy of a paper I wrote on this topic a few years ago:

Tantillo, James A. 2006. “Killing Cats and Killing Birds: An Overview of Philosophical Issues Involving Feral Cats and Wildlife.” Consultations in Feline Internal Medicine, Fifth Edition, ed. John R. August (Philadelphia: Elsevier), 701-708.


Galen Geer said...

Love to read it. Send it to:

Evelyn Edgett said...

Up herin my mountains, we have a lot of feral cats. Some may have been dumped, andsome have simply wandered away from the farms they were bprn on. I have honestly seen little evidence of them negatively affect the small game population. We still have tons of rabbits, squirrels, and other small critters. The wierdest thing I ever saw, however, was when my oldest dog(she is over 10),ran down a road runner and ate it. My cats don't even TRY for those things, but this old broad caught one. ANother interesting thing about the game around here--even though I have dogs anw wolves--the game animals hang around with no problem--even deer nest in my driveway near the canines.

Galen Geer said...

You've been lucky! In the area around M's family farm there is growing evidence the feral cats are a problem. We've counted as many as six feral cats during one drive around the section so we know they are there. But, oddly enough, there is a growing coyote problem. I've always liked coyotes and admired their ablity to survive but I've talked with several hunters who have hunted that section and the ones that border it for partridge and they claim the birds have been pushed or killed off by the cats and coyotes. How true is the claim? I don't know. glg

Evelyn Edgett said...

Well, we have a lot of coyotes up here lately, too, but they don't seem to be really affecting the game as much as I would have thought. A few nights ago, we heard them yipping and howling really close to our home. I just grinned at my husband and started getting my wolves to howling for about 5 minutes, then gave them the signal to hush. It was nice and quiet for the rest of the night.....