Intercontinentally, wars are fought over oil and gas. In college bars, wars are fought over women and beer. In northern New Jersey, wars are fought over black bears.
Take a moment to realize what you are celebrating.
Truth of the Matter
There are three universal truths you must learn to accept if you own a hunting license: you are a part of a desperate minority, you are subject to the legislation voted on by the vast majority, and you are guaranteed nothing. Continue reading “Politics, Hunting, and You: Why It Matters”
There are some things in life that have an enigmatic beauty much deeper than sole visual pleasure. The arrival of a new born baby into the world, the seasonal color change in foliage, and the slow creep of the sun through the horizon to welcome a new day all exhibit this kind of beauty. However, with the fortune of educated timing, there is an opportunity to place oneself into the most aesthetic and magnificent scenes the calendar year has to offer: hunting wood ducks early season. The distinction of wood duck hunting against hunting of other waterfowl is the unique habitat in which wood ducks prefer. Largely depending on food sources that only freshwater and trees can provide, wood ducks draw hunters into lake and bog ecosystems. Hunting this scenery provides uncontested aesthetics independent and much different from that of hunting the saltwater marsh. For this reason, I find it imperative to make room in my duck hunting schedule to hunt the lakes and bogs for wood ducks every year in late October to early November. Continue reading “Wood Duck Hunting: Beaver Swamp”
From the cavemen who paved the way for humanity to the frontiersmen who made living in America possible such as Daniel Boone and Lewis and Clark, hunters have historically been revered for their competence as providers, prowess with weapons that aid in harvesting various animals, and ability to read and translate signs in nature. Without the brave and resourceful men throughout history who spent their lives hunting and exploring the wilderness, civilization as we know it today simply would not exist. However, in recent years with food being readily available, the role of a hunter has become disposable in regards to the human survival. The hunter no longer holds the prestigious role it once had. Rather, in today’s world, the hunter is associated with terms such as “hillbilly” and “redneck”. How have hunters gone from holding such a vital role in the human condition to being referred to as hillbillies and rednecks? There is a cultural stereotype regarding the animal killing and redneck hunter, and it must be debunked. Continue reading “Hunters vs. Rednecks: A Cultural Stereotype”
Every season waterfowlers find themselves spending countless hours in the blind with no birds to stand testament to their dedication. Sometimes, this may be attributed to poor bird movement or just plain old bad hunting conditions. However, if this is not the case, then there is an underlying message: you did not execute the hunt properly. To adequately place oneself in a position to shoot ducks, the execution goes far beyond the day of. In fact, the process of creating a scenario for a productive duck season takes as much as 365 days a year. To develop yourself as a duck hunter, and generate the greatest possible opportunity for a triumphant year in the blind, there is a basic guideline that I call The Four P’s To A Successful Duck Season. Continue reading “The Four P’s To A Successful Duck Season”
Resulting in one of the most intriguing ecological phenomenons observed by man, the 1995 gray wolf reintroduction into Yellowstone National Park shed light on the various impacts large predators have on the ecosystem. In result of national park predatory control efforts conducted by various federal agencies, gray wolves were extirpated from Yellowstone by 1926. In the absence of an apex predator, elk had the ability to thrive and reproduce without fear of predation. Without wolf competition, coyote numbers also rose to unbalanced numbers which negatively impacted rabbit, red fox, and rodent populations. As the elk population reached near unsustainable numbers, shrub and plant life throughout the park were in peril. Cottonwood, willow, and aspen saplings were being consumed and destroyed at alarming rates, removing habitat and food sources for various other species. The ecosystem of Yellowstone National Park in the 1900’s was in desperate need of rebalance. It wasn’t until 1995 when biologists and wildlife agencies took action with a simple resolution. Gray wolves were reintroduced into the park to fill the missing predatory niche. The release of gray wolves gave rise to life. As the wolves predated on elk reducing their numbers, plant life throughout the park flourished. Beaver populations began to grow with the regeneration of food sources, and they built dams which changed the landscape. The new landscape changed by the beavers provided crucial habitat for waterfowl, fish, and amphibians. With wolves hindering the success of coyote reproduction, red fox, rabbit, and rodent populations also began to recover. As an apex predator, the gray wolf had a great deal of impact not only on its prey species, but on its environment as a whole. Continue reading “A Hunter’s Duty”
**Featured in the March/April Issue of Trapper’s World**
You’ve been sitting in your duck blind since well before sunrise on a frigid December morning. Having watched the morning duck movement come and go without being given a chance for harvest, you are left cold, hungry, and alone, yearning for anything with webbed feet and a bill to fly into sight. Your stomach begins aching in hunger and your cold stricken fingers are becoming as stiff as the rigor mortis ridden duck you wish you possessed. As the minutes turn to hours with no ducks in custody and no visible signs of hope, your hunting spirit fades to the temptations of a warm shower and tasty lunch awaiting you at home. You stand up to unload your gun, giving in to the allure of comfort. Just as your concentration turns to ejecting your second shell out of its chamber, you hear one of the most distressing sounds in all of duck hunting; the wings of two ducks flaring right over your decoys. You look up and two ducks that were in shotgun range seconds ago are heading the opposite direction at warp speed. Hungry, tired, cold, and frustrated to no ends, you head back to your boat duckless. Continue reading “Holding Out For One More Minute: Fighting Discomfort While Hunting”