Monday, December 10, 2012

Liberalized Deer Hunting

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Alan Keller sent me a link to an interesting story on Slate, Hipsters Who Hunt.  In it, Emma Morris describes the gradual conversion of "lefties," a term used respectfully, to hunting deer, duck and other wildlife and then eating same.  Happily there is a growing interest in "nature" and preserving our environment.  We have watched as more urban gardens and chicken houses crop up around our cities.  In some cases we even feed deer some of the produce we intended for ourselves.

When Master Naturalists start orientation, there are always some who are wary of hunting and trapping wild animals.  Understanding that our ecosystem requires management isn't the first thing you think about in conservation.  It can take some time to understand that the food web is part of our natural world.

What could be more "natural" in this world than deer hunting?  Our forefathers depended on wild game, dating back to when we were running around on the savana.  The evolution from clubs to spears, atlatl, bow and arrow, and eventually guns came from the need to put food on the table, even as they morphed into protecting our food sources from other fellow bipeds.

We know by now that for many of the species crowding into our urban spaces, we are the main predator and we frequently aren't doing a very good job of it.  Several years ago in Joplin, half the deer died of hemorrhagic disease in a season, the effect of crowding, lack of habitat and overpopulation.  Judicious hunting within the regulations spawned by population management would provide food on the table as well as healthier deer populations.

Eating corn fed beef (disclaimer- I do too) isn't any better for the environment- remember all that methane coming out of the other end of your friendly filet producer.  Also there is a lot of petroleum that goes into producing the corn they consume.  There isn't enough deer or grass fed beef to feed all of us but at least venison deserves a place at the table.
You will know when the trend matures in the Ozarks when you see a hunter like this one pedaling down Glenstone.  Meanwhile, read up on the growing interest in "Green Hunting" at Hipsters Who Hunt.

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