Some call me Kirk Werner
The November 24 issue of SI has a pretty decent article about hunting- most notably about the rise and spread of predators. Not exactly the magazine you would typically expect such coverage, but it has a good message. Among other things the article talks about how the number of hunters country wide is way down (10% in the past decade), and how it's having an effect on wild game numbers. Basically not enough hunters to help manage game, and while this brings cheers from those who think hunting is cruel, the results are that "as hunters have stepped back, animals (particularly predators) have stepped forward, with potentially disastrous consequences for all." A professor of environmental science is quoted in the article as saying that what is happening is "the recolonization by wildlife." The first sign he says, "was when the herbivores returned," a reference to the overabundance of deer, moose and elk in North America. After the herbivores, he says the carnivores are never far behind, and we're just beginning to experience that (he gives statistics on the increasing number of wolves. A third phase of animal recolonization is "the parasites and diseases returning in full force." As hunters we all know the important role we play in conserving healthy populations of game. Critics, I suppose, would rather see herds of animals die of starvation and disease. Anyway, go harvest something; put some good lean meat on the table, and by doing so make room for healthy populations of other game animals. Wish I'd filled my deer and elk tags this year. Brother, can you spare a back strap?