THE GREAT OUTDOORS: Hunting, an environmental management tool | Lifestyles

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Hunting is as old as life on earth and is part of every creature. Insects hunt other insects, birds hunt the insects, animals hunt the birds and large predators hunt the smaller animals. Even deer hunt for plant material to live. One of the biggest hunters in this food chain is man.

Humans used to hunt for food to survive but that is not so today. It is a whole lot easier to head to the supermarket than to gather food in the woods.

Maybe we hunt now to save money on food. You’d better have a wad of cash or a credit card with you when you wheel that cart full of groceries to the cash register. Although, if you add up the costs of hunting — licenses, different weapons, special clothing to keep us warm, dry or hidden, maintenance of hunting dogs, wear and tear on vehicles, the purchase and maintenance of special vehicles like a ATV or a boat, and other special equipment — the expense gets quite high. In fact, figuring out the cost of this “wild game” food will make you think you have lost your mind.

Hunting is an old instinct that still exists with many people today. However, the urge has been suppressed or lost in much of the population as people crowd into cities or find a livelihood removed from the outdoors.

So if we don’t have to hunt for food and it is not a strong instinct in some of the present day population, do we need hunting?

Yes, I think it is probably more important today than it was long ago.

When people lose contact with nature, they lose the ability to understand and take care of the environment. This of course will affect us all down the road.

When we hunt we see nature as it really is and what it needs to exist. Hunters have always been guardians of nature. They have regulated themselves and others to benefit the environment. Groups such as Ducks Unlimited, the Wild Turkey Federation, NRA and local sportsman federations are made up of hunters who have dedicated time and money to preserve our great resources.

You may ask, “Well, how does killing wildlife help preserve it?” Regulated hunting, such as we have today, does that by controlling the numbers of various species to meet a good balance in the overall condition of the environment.

Take deer, for example. Their numbers have been increasing by leaps and bounds, and in many parks, suburbs and even cities they are way over populated. They are destroying a lot of plant environments in these areas and the next thing to happen is disease. Even out in the country their numbers are causing crop damage and forest destruction, which is destroying the environment not only for themselves but for other species. Regulated hunting helps keep these population increases to a balanced level with the environment, makes for healthier deer and keeps disease and starvation to a minimum.

We are having more conflicts with the coyote now, too, and hunting and trapping are the tools needed to control and keep coyotes fearful of us so that they don’t get bold near people and snatch up some of our pets.

Hunters will always be needed, if nature is to survive as we know it today. These folks understand it and help guide those who do not into doing the correct things for the environment.

Speaking of hunters, here is a quick story about a real one. First, look at today’s photograph. Karley Niezgoda, 21, of Newfane, has been hunting since she was 15 years old. She took this deer in the Lockport area, where she had been getting trail camera shots of the buck but never got a shot at it until the end of muzzle loader season when he made the mistake of showing up. The buck is a real trophy, having scored about 150 Boone and Crockett points and weighed about 180 pounds. Patience is the name of the game when hunting trophy deer and apparently Karley has that. Congratulations, Karley!

Doug Domedion, outdoorsman and nature…



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