I understand that many people are against hunting and fishing. They believe it’s cruel to hunt down an animal, shoot it and take it home and eat it. However most of them have no clue about effective wildlife management and the need to control animal populations to keep them healthy.
Have you ever heard of carrying capacity? It’s how many animals a given section of land can support without being overgrazed.
Allow me to explain. Say a given area of wilderness has a carrying capacity of 100 deer and 50 elk, meaning that there are enough plants to feed 100 deer and 50 elk. That year, the deer produce 20 fawns that survive and the elk produce 10 calves that survive. As winter approaches, the populations consist of 120 deer and 60 elk. The winter is not as harsh as usual and most of the animals manage to survive, but there is a scarcity of food for them by the end of winter. The next year, there are 30 fawns and 15 calves that survive, putting the herds at 150 deer and 75 elk. Remember that the land will only support 100 deer and 50 elk. That winter, all of the animals are competing for the little food available. Many of them get weak from hunger and get sick, generally with a form of pneumonia, which is infectious and spreads through most of the herds. A large number of deer and elk end up dying from the pneumonia or starvation. When this type of winter die off occurs, it usually ends up with 70% to 90% of both herds dying. The remaining animals are weaker and still may carry disease, meaning the remaining herd is less healthy than it was just 2 years earlier. Sometimes this can spell the end of the herd if the next winter or two are also harsh. The land is so overgrazed that it takes years for it to recover, if it recovers. Sometimes the overgrazing allows inedible plants to invade the area, pushing out many of the plants that the animals rely on. In just 2-3 short years, you end up with 15-30 deer and less than a dozen elk, all much weaker and less healthy than before. You also end up with a destroyed ecology, making recovery of the populations difficult at best.
That’s why it’s important to have properly regulated hunting to keep the herd numbers in check to what the land can support. Had there been regulated hunting in the area described above, wildlife management agencies would have allowed 20-30 deer and 10-15 elk to be taken during a controlled hunt. By doing so, they keep the land from being overgrazed and keep the herds healthy.
Whenever I get into a discussion with an anti-hunting person, I ask them if they’ve ever seen a deer dying of starvation? I have and it’s a horrible scene. The deer look like skin on bones with no muscle. You can see their labored and raspy breathing. Their eyes look sunken and fearful. They don’t have enough energy to flee any predators including humans. If it were me, I would much prefer taking a quick death from a bullet instead of the long grueling and painful death from starvation.
Knowing how important it is to properly manage animal numbers and the ecology of the land, imagine this happening to an entire state the size of California because that just may be the future of The Golden State.
According to a report from The Outdoor Wire I just received:
“SACRAMENTO—Jim Kellogg, the last, and one of the first, pro-hunting California Fish and Game Commissioners, has turned in his resignation, part of what appears to be a mass exodus of long-time pro-hunting state employees from the DFW and the F & G Commission.”
“Preceding Kellogg’s resignation, Executive Director of the Fish and Game Commission, Sonke Mastrup, turned in his resignation just weeks ago, and DFW Deputy Director Dan Yparraguirre retired last week. Fish and Game Commissioner Jack Bayliss has also turned in his resignation to the Commission. These departures follow many others in past years, leaving a department that many feel has “lost its way” under the leadership of Director Chuck Bonham.”
“Other pressures, of course, are from Governor Brown’s appointments of non-hunting and fishing appointees Eric Sklar and Anthony Williams as members of the Fish and Game Commission who ignore DFW scientists and biologists, and are heavily influenced by non-consumptive, anti-hunting animal rights groups.”
‘This reporter held a phone interview with Kellogg on Dec. 31 regarding his decision to resign, and here’s what he had to say:”
“‘Frustration just finally got to me,’ Kellogg said. ‘I’ve been on the Fish and Game Commission longer than anybody since it was established in 1870, and I’ve been appointed by 3 governors. I feel I’ve done a good job of representing hunters and fishermen. For the first 10 or 12 years on the Commission I won for them more often than I lost, but for the past couple of years, I’ve been losing more battles than I’ve been winning on behalf of hunters and fishermen.’”
“‘It’s been frustrating,’ Kellogg said. ‘Finally, after getting rid of the two pain-in-the-butt commissioners (Ed. Note: Michael Sutton and Richard Rogers,) the governor appointed two others that have never hunted or fished, (Ed. Note: Sklar and Williams)!’”
“‘When hunters are gone, the animals will be gone, too, because there will be nobody to replace the money spent by hunters and fishermen for habitat, fish and wildlife programs,’ Kellogg said. ‘Nobody else will put up the money. My fear has always been that we would lose the right to hunt in California. It probably won’t happen in our lifetimes, but probably will in our grandkids.’”
I’ve had dealings with some of the anti-hunting do-gooder bleeding-hearts groups and have found that they act out of ignorance and emotions. While pursuing my wildlife biology degree, I spent time working summers with and volunteering with the Arizona Game and Fish Department. One year, I helped set up new deer census transects on the North Kaibab and on the north rim in the Grand Canyon National Park. The transects use a series of steel spikes with a small metal ring on the top, being strategically placed in the ground. Using a rope of a given length, you loop one end of the rope on the ring and walk a circle looking for deer droppings. The number of piles of deer droppings counted are then plugged into a formula that helps provide an estimated population size. After we set up a number of new transects, the AG&F discovered that members of a national environmental group went out with metal detectors and removed most of the spikes, thus making it harder to figure out population size and how best to maintain the right carrying capacity of the area.
On another occasion, I was conducting a special research project on an introduced herd of bighorn sheep in southeastern Arizona. I had full permission from the rancher whose land the bighorns were on, Arizona State University, Arizona Game and Fish Department, Us Fish and Wildlife and the Bureau of Land Management to access the area of the bighorns. On one of my trips to the study area, I encountered a locked gate across the rugged dirt road in the bottom of a canyon. I found out that another environmental group had purchased a small strip of land less than 100 feet wide across the bottom of the canyon where the only road leading into the area passed through. I contacted the group and explained what I was doing was studying the bighorn to help their survival and had permission from everyone to access the area, but they refused to allow me to pass through their gate. They said the bighorns would be better off without any intrusion, failing to realize that the sheep were on a working cattle ranch. I ended up cutting the chain on their gate and completing my study. When they protested and threatened to arrest me, the various agencies I was working with got involved and ended up permanently removing their gate.
I share this to say that many anti-hunters haven’t a clue how to really help the wildlife and the environment that they claim to be protecting. In most case, their bleeding-heart actions will do more harm than good and it appears that the entire state of California could see the devastation of their wildlife and habitats at the hands of anti-hunting liberals that are taking over their control and management.