Connect with us

Hunting

Wildlife Management Decisions Should Be Made by Experts, Not Public Votes

mountain-lion-walks-on-tree-forest

In recent developments, a debate has emerged over whether the public should decide on banning the hunting of mountain lions and bobcats. This matter, experts argue, should be handled by those with specialized knowledge in wildlife management rather than left to popular opinion. State wildlife agencies, which monitor lion populations and set hunting limits, are best equipped to ensure stable wildlife populations.

A campaign is currently underway to ban hunting and trapping of lions, bobcats, and even lynx, despite lynx already being protected by the state. Advocates against hunting are gathering signatures to place this ban on the ballot for a vote this fall.

Colorado residents are urged to reconsider signing this petition. Across western states, decisions like these should remain in the hands of biologists and game managers within state wildlife agencies. Unlike eastern states, many western states permit citizen-initiated ballot measures, allowing the public to make policy decisions on complex issues such as big cat hunting or wolf reintroduction, a process referred to as “ballot box biology.”

Complexities of the Proposed Hunting Ban

sign-screwed-onto-tree-hunting-prohibited

The proposed ban presents various complexities. Including lynx with the rest of the big cats (which is only legal to hunt in Alaska) adds confusion. Additionally, the ban aims to prevent the hunting of cougars and bobcats for trophies instead of meat. Colorado hunters must already take all edible meat from their kills of lions, though not for bobcats. Other states, like Montana and Utah, exempt big cats from meat-salvage regulations. However, decisions on how hunters utilize their harvest are best left to experts.

Animal rights activists aim to stop hunting altogether, beginning with species that the public may know little about. The ethics of hunting mountain lions is a nuanced issue that goes beyond a simple ban.

Case Study: California’s Mountain Lion Ban

mountain-lion-standing-on-rock

California provides a relevant case study. The state banned mountain lion hunting long ago. In 2023, California’s wildlife agencies received 515 reports of cougars attacking livestock, issuing 204 “depredation” permits in response. Of these, 39 allowed the animals to be killed, while 165 permitted non-lethal removal.

Biological science dictates that some predators must be hunted to maintain ecological balance, regardless of public sentiment.

Importance of Expert Management

Managing Colorado’s estimated 4,000 mountain lions is a complex task. Hunters must complete a course and pass a test to obtain a hunting license. In the past year, 2,599 hunters killed 502 mountain lions in the state. This hunting helps control the population, preventing an overabundance of deer and elk from being killed by these predators.

Hundreds of biologists work full-time to determine the appropriate number of hunting permits, relying on scientific data rather than public votes. It is crucial that expert biologists retain hunting as a tool for managing mountain lion populations.

Living in Mountain Lion Territory

Residents in mountain lion country frequently encounter signs of these predators, such as deer carcasses in trees and the eerie sounds of mating calls. Despite these experiences, statistics show that bees cause more fatalities than mountain lions. Although mountain lions are dangerous predators, there have been fewer than 30 fatal attacks on humans in the past century.

Hunting these apex predators helps prevent overpopulation, which can lead to overhunting of prey species and increased human-wildlife conflicts. Managing these populations through hunting is a more humane and intelligent approach than allowing overpopulation and subsequent starvation.

The Challenges of Ballot Box Biology

While the practice of ballot box biology is prevalent in the West, it raises concerns about the effectiveness of wildlife management. When asked to sign a petition or vote on wildlife policies, individuals should consider whether they possess the necessary expertise on the subject.

It is essential to trust the policies of state wildlife agencies and the biologists and game managers dedicated to responsibly and sustainably managing wildlife populations.

Continue Reading

Hunting

The Future of Hunting with Firearms

close-modern-sniper-rifle-military-conflict

Hunting has long been a tradition for many individuals and communities around the world. For centuries, hunters have relied on firearms to pursue game and provide sustenance for themselves and their families. However, with the advancements in technology and changes in society, the future of hunting with firearms is facing new challenges and opportunities.

One of the main challenges that hunting with firearms is facing is the increasing scrutiny and regulation of gun ownership and use. In many countries, there have been calls for stricter gun control laws in response to mass shootings and other gun-related crimes. This has raised concerns among hunters about their ability to continue pursuing their sport with firearms. However, many hunting organizations and advocates are working to promote responsible and ethical hunting practices in order to protect the future of hunting with firearms.

Advancements in technology have also had an impact on the future of hunting with firearms. The development of high-powered rifles, advanced optics, and other hunting gear has made it easier for hunters to take down game from longer distances. While this can be beneficial in terms of accuracy and efficiency, it has also raised concerns about fair chase and the ethics of hunting. Some argue that the use of technology in hunting can diminish the challenge and skill required to be a successful hunter.

On the other hand, technology has also provided new opportunities for hunters to connect and share their experiences with others. Social media platforms and online forums have allowed hunters to share their hunting adventures, tips, and techniques with a global audience. This has helped to build a sense of community among hunters and promote the values of conservation and ethical hunting practices.

Despite the challenges and opportunities facing the future of hunting with firearms, it is clear that hunters are committed to preserving this important tradition for future generations. By promoting responsible and ethical hunting practices, embracing new technologies, and advocating for the protection of gun rights, hunters can ensure that the sport of hunting with firearms continues to thrive in the years to come.

In conclusion, the future of hunting with firearms may be uncertain, but with dedication and perseverance, hunters can overcome the challenges that lie ahead. By embracing new technologies, promoting ethical hunting practices, and advocating for gun rights, hunters can ensure that the tradition of hunting with firearms remains a cherished pastime for generations to come.

Continue Reading

Hunting

Ambush Hunting: An Unforgettable Experience

Good,Shot,Standing,In,Ambush,In,The,Khaki,Tent,,Aiming

Ambush hunting, also known as still hunting or stand hunting, is a popular method of hunting that involves waiting in a concealed location for a target animal to come within range. This type of hunting requires patience, stealth, and a keen eye for spotting game. It can be a thrilling and unforgettable experience for hunters looking to test their skills and enjoy the natural beauty of the outdoors.

One of the key aspects of ambush hunting is the element of surprise. By setting up in a strategic location and remaining still and quiet, hunters can catch their prey off guard and increase their chances of making a successful shot. This type of hunting requires a good understanding of the terrain and the habits of the target animal, as well as the ability to remain undetected for extended periods of time.

Ambush hunting can be done from a tree stand, ground blind, or natural cover such as a fallen tree or rock outcropping. Hunters must carefully choose their location based on factors such as wind direction, visibility, and access to food and water sources. Once in position, it is important to remain still and quiet, using binoculars or a scope to scan the area for signs of game.

One of the most rewarding aspects of ambush hunting is the sense of anticipation and excitement that comes with waiting for a target animal to appear. As the sun rises and the world comes to life, hunters can experience the thrill of seeing wildlife up close and personal. Whether it’s a majestic deer, elusive turkey, or wily coyote, each encounter is a unique and unforgettable experience that will stay with hunters for a lifetime.

Ambush hunting also provides an opportunity to immerse oneself in the natural world and connect with the rhythms of the wilderness. By spending hours in quiet observation, hunters can gain a deeper appreciation for the beauty and complexity of the ecosystem around them. The sights, sounds, and smells of the forest come alive in a way that cannot be replicated in any other setting.

In addition to the excitement and camaraderie of the hunt, ambush hunting also offers a practical benefit in terms of conservation and wildlife management. By targeting specific animals and populations, hunters can help regulate populations and maintain a balance in the ecosystem. Responsible hunting practices, such as selective harvesting and adherence to hunting regulations, ensure that wildlife populations remain healthy and sustainable for future generations.

Overall, ambush hunting is an unforgettable experience that combines the thrill of the chase with the tranquility of the natural world. Whether you are a seasoned hunter or a beginner looking to try something new, ambush hunting offers a unique opportunity to connect with nature, test your skills, and create lasting memories in the great outdoors. So grab your gear, choose your spot, and prepare for an adventure like no other. Happy hunting!

Continue Reading

Hunting

The Art of Duck Plucking: Tips for Hunters

plucking-feathers-duck

After a successful duck hunt, the idea of plucking each bird one by one might sound like a chore, especially when cold and tired. However, the effort is well worth it for that perfectly seared duck breast with crispy skin. Here are some tips to make the job a bit easier.

Dry, Wet, or Wax?

There are various methods of plucking ducks, but dry-plucking is often favored. This involves plucking a dry bird by hand. While it’s not the fastest method, it is very effective. Wet-plucking, which involves dipping ducks in scalding water, is generally ineffective for waterfowl due to their waterproof feathers. Another method is waxing, which involves dipping the bird in hot paraffin wax and peeling it off with the feathers once it cools. This can be messy and is only practical if plucking many birds.

Choose the Right Birds

Not every duck or goose is a good candidate for plucking. The best species to pluck are dabbling ducks like mallards, wood ducks, or pintails, and smaller geese like specklebellies and snows. Canada geese are generally harder to pluck and often have tougher breast meat, making them less ideal. Always check for wounds before deciding to pluck a bird. A few BB holes are normal, but birds that are badly shot up are better skinned.

Prepare for Plucking

Chilling the birds whole for 24 hours before plucking helps tighten the skin and dry out the feathers, making them easier to pluck. This can be done in a refrigerator with the bird placed on top of cardboard. Warm, loose skin is more prone to tearing. Decide how you want to cook the bird before plucking. If you plan to roast or smoke the whole bird, pluck the entire bird. If only the breast meat is needed, pluck just the breast. Wings are often not plucked due to the minimal meat they provide.

How to Dry-Pluck a Duck

Dry the bird if it’s wet, as moisture makes feathers stick to your hands. Start with the down feathers on the chest, pinching small amounts between your thumbs and pulling in quick, upward motions. Keep the skin taut with your other hand. The neck and sides below the wing can be tricky due to the larger contour feathers. Pluck these one feather at a time with swift motions. Avoid grabbing large handfuls of feathers to prevent tearing the skin or leaving quills behind. Molting ducks may have pin feathers, which are more difficult to pull. Work carefully around any tears or holes, holding your finger over the hole to pull the skin tight. Use a blowtorch to singe small down feathers that were missed, particularly around wings and foot joints.

Once plucking is complete, process and remove the guts as usual. Rinse the skin well to clean any blood or char from singeing feathers. The birds can then be frozen for later use or prepared immediately for a meal. For whole roasting, try a recipe like roasted duck with apple chutney. If searing the breast meat, pair it with fries and blue cheese butter.

While plucking ducks can be tedious, it becomes a fun task when done with hunting buddies or family. The reward of a delicious meal makes the effort worthwhile, as no one who has enjoyed a seared duck breast ever regrets plucking it.

Do you have any tips for plucking? Leave your thoughts in the comments below. 

Continue Reading

Sign Up for Our Newsletter

Join our subscribers list to get the latest news, updates and special offers delivered directly in your inbox.

Trending