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A re-post of a previous blog, but still very pertinent.  Reminder, folks, it’s hunting season.  Wear your safety colors while walking in the woods!

 

Tree Huggers and Sportsmen, Unite!

I am a strong believer in land conservation – but that does not make me a tree-hugger* (I use paper just like you). It certainly doesn’t make me an anti-hunting advocate. I, like many of my colleagues, enjoy venison along with other items at the “wild beast feast”. So, how come so many hunters I encounter think I am an anti?

To those of you who enjoy hunting and fishing, take a minute to think about conservation in your community. Are you supportive of those efforts? If not, you certainly should be. Protecting adequate acreage of the best wildlife habitat is essential but is often overlooked by community planners. Connecting already protected lands so that those big game creatures can travel from place to place is essential to maintaining healthy populations of those animals.

By protecting appropriate amounts of acreage and habitat on which larger creatures can move about their business, we will be protecting smaller critters too. The larger parcels act like an umbrella, providing a safe haven for all walks of life. Land protection provides diversity in our landscape – from black bears to blueberries, and everything in between.

As I write this, that essential habitat is being fragmented. What about the land you hunt on? How would you feel if it was turned into a parking lot or a subdivision? Some of you already know how that feels. What about the fish you catch in the ponds? Do you need to fish in clean water, or would you prefer water contaminated with road runoff, fertilizers and toxins like mercury? To quote a great tracker, “Why can’t we eat our catch? And why aren’t we DOING anything about it!”

Think a minute about conservation. Think about the land you use and enjoy, the land where the plants grew to feed that “Boone & Crockett” buck, or the pond where that state record largemouth came from. What is it going to look like in 10, 20 or 50 years? The population of people around here is booming. When I was in 3rd grade, there was one 3rd grade with 22 kids in it. Now, some towns have 6 different 3rd grade classes with 25 or more kids in each one! Where are they going to live? More importantly, where are they going to learn to hunt and fish, and respect nature and wildlife as you have learned?

Sportsmen, Sportswomen and Land Conservation Advocates have a lot in common. Times are tough and they’re getting tougher. It’s up to all of us to make sure that these open spaces are here for future generations. So the next time you’re waiting for that bite on your line, or waiting for that gobbler to show himself, take a minute to consider just what that moment means to you.

*well, there are some trees I do hug.

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