Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Hunting African game... in Texas


Sunday night on 60 Minutes, Lara Logan did a story on big game hunting in Texas. The tag line for the article was "Can hunting endangered animals save the species?" and it interviewed Charly Seale who "is a fourth generation rancher and the executive director of the Exotic Wildlife Association based here in the heart of the Texas hill country. It's his job to represent the interests of some 5,000 exotic ranchers across North America." As I watched this show, I was torn. I love the idea of working to raise awareness of the threat of extinction for these animals. I love the idea of being able to give the species an opportunity to thrive in a much different location than African and I love that through conservation, we can try to bring their population numbers back. But I really don't see the need in trophy hunting.
I am conflicted. The naturalist in me wants to head down to Texas (even though the Mainer in me hates heat and snakes!) and see these animals and watch how they are thriving in Texas. The hunter in me knows that in order to have a good, healthy herd of anything, you need to keep the numbers in check and keep the herd healthy. I also understand that if I owned a ranch and had a herd of Dama Gazelle, they are mine and are considered private property. I can hunt them if I want. Seale describes it well:

Seale: Hunters are the, are the main conservationists in this whole equation.

Logan: Can you call yourselves conservationists when your purpose, your intent, the thing that's driving it is to hunt the animals and to kill them?

Seale
: Absolutely. That's, that's why these animals thrive it's because of that, that value that they have to the hunting community.

Logan: You know, just because people are willing to pay large amounts of money for those trophies doesn't make it right.

Seale: I can't let these animals just freely roam around my ranch. I can't do it. I won't do it.

Logan: Do you love these animals?

Seale: Absolutely.

Logan: How can you kill something you love?

Seale: I can do that for the simple reason that I know it's for the welfare of every one of those animals, you sacrifice one so that many more are born and raised from calves all the way up to the big trophy male or the big trophy females that we have.



The entire story is so interesting to me. Does hunting a species really help it from a conservation stand point or is it better to not hunt an animal and hope for the best. Are the folks who are fighting to keep these animals from being hunted, helping or hurting the effort to bring back the population from dying off? I hunt for the freezer, not the trophy but if it means saving and growing a dwindling population...isnt it worth it?

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Adorable


We met this little guy the year before (fall 2009). He is one of the triplets that we saw and watched play. It was my first experience just sitting and watching deer that were within 25 feet of me (I was in the Sky Condo looking down). We didnt see him this year, unless he is the monster 8 pointer or the 10 pointer (<-- I will post those pictures later). But I doubt he is cool enough to go from nubs to a monster rack in 16 months. Seriously though, he is adorable.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Dad's Buck

Over the weekend, I finally cracked into the trailcam and got the photos of the deer off it, or at least copied/emailed to myself. Here is the deer that Dad was looking for. There is no solid, solid proof that it was taken this season, so a little piece of us is holding out hope.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Women Hunters, Part 1: An Ethnographic study


A few weeks ago (Jan 12), I posted the beginning of a sentence here as well as on my personal Facebook page. The sentence started: "Women Hunters..." The following are the responses that I got on FB. The picture is of me and my best friend Jodie who is also a hunter.

1. rock!
2. should bring me some meat...
3. Turn me on. (earned 1 like)
4. can climb my tree stand anytime !
5. Are awesome!
6. ...are probably not vegetarians (earned 1 like)
7. Get bigger animals than boys do. (earned 1 like)
8. SUCK!!!! Lmao. But I love you!!!!
9. are the same as men hunters
‎10. . . .are a better shot :-)
11. have pet squirrels.
12. aim to please
13. scare the hell out of me..because they can shoot well ;o


4 of the 13 comments are men (#2, #3, #4 and #13)
To my knowledge, only two are hunters (#1 and #4)
Two are my best friends (#1 and #7)
One is my sister (#9)
One is my pseudo brother (#13)

Things that I noticed:
~ None of the comments made by men are encouraging or positive (although #13 is far better than the others)
~ 2 out of the 4 comments made my men have sexual undertones
~ 2 of the 13 comments have the 'women are better than men' tone (#7 and #10)
~ 2 out of 13 hate hunting (#6 and #8)
~ My friends like exclamation points!!!!! =)

Questions:
~ WHY are there ANY comments that have a sexual undertone to them?? I would wager a guess that when I post the second half of this test (men hunters...), no one will make a sexual comment. But why not? Why is it ok to sexualize a woman that hunts but not a man?
~ Will as many people respond? (I will post the 'men hunters' this Thursday at 9:16am -same day of the week and time)
~ Why do my FB friends (I currently have 98 and usually keep it around 100), who know I am a hunter, still post comments like this?



And I would love to hear what you all think! I will have 2 more parts with this topic; one after I post the second half with the results and the last one to wrap it up.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Money, Money, Money, Money

2.4 BILLION dollars comes into Maine thanks to folks like you and me. I contribute directly to the 200 million that is brought in every year in connection with deer hunting. In this article, Bob Humprey gives an over view of impact that our hunting and fishing industry has on the economic health of the State.
Each year, I have paid $27 to renew my hunting license. This gives me the right to shoot a buck, of any size, during the season. If I want to put in to get a doe permit, its a free process but its a lottery, so no guarantee. Then, assuming you shoot a deer, you pay $5 to tag it. They take your name, license number, where you shot the deer (town), what you used for a gun and they take your money. If you want your deer weighed, that costs more. Last year's buck, seen here, was 150 and it cost me an additional $1 to find that out. This year, Dad and I went some place different and it cost us $2 to weigh it. So, lets say its about $35 for me on a good year. I buy Dad and my father in law their licenses as Christmas presents. My dad hunts and goes fishing with my sister. That's $42 for the year. He also thinks he wants to shoot some coyots. That's only $4 but a total of $46 for just his license. I do not know the cost for out of Staters.

I have heard people complain about the cost of tagging a deer more than I have the cost of the license. Yes its a lot of money for people who don't really have it, but its worth it when you think about the impact it is having on the State.

In comparison, the $$ for Moose hunting: $7 per chance to have your name entered into the lottery. If you get picked (Dad was in 2010), then you pay $50-something ($52 maybe) to get the permit so you can then go hunt. You pay to tag it, have the meat butchered and bring it home. AND- that is JUST for in-state residents. The price of a moose permit for an out of stater is like $400-$500 dollars. Mind blowing! But, as the above article talks about, its money that is having a huge impact on Maine.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Kids get sick from venison


I like to be in my own little bubble when it comes to the possibility that my deer might not be perfect and instead, could have E.Coli or a number of any other gross things that I dont like (food illnesses, ticks etc). I was wondering what I could post before the weekend came and I found this article: kids getting sick from harvesting, butchering and eating their class project.

It makes me happy that I enjoy well cooked meat - no pink. I know, I run the risk of it being more like a hockey puck than a juicy piece of meat, but its a risk I am happy to take, especially when I read articles like this.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Finish the sentence:

Female hunters...


I did this on my Facebook page and got some interesting response that I will post in another blog very soon. But, if you could, what is the first thing that pops into your head when someone says (or writes) "female hunters..."

THANKS

Girl Hunter - Finished

If any of you want to read this book, I will gladly send you my copy. Normally, I can stomach my way through a bad book. In this case, I found myself arguing with what was being written. I hated the fact that she never did any real hunting, but instead always seemed to be on a preserve that allowed her to pick and choose what she shot. No deer to shoot, not a problem, shoot the 5 wild pigs that are nearby.

She never shoots a deer (or any other large animal) in this book She spends maybe 8 pages talking about deer, but a lot of that is while she and the guide drinking diet coke, eating and drinking in their deer stand.


The intro to this book (at least what I read on Amazon) was the only interesting part - the suspense of shooting a turkey and the excitement that comes from waiting to pull the trigger and getting your kill. That was the only good part of the book. Another SUPER annoying thing that I found was her use of "slapping the trigger". She uses a shot gun for most of the book (since she is bird hunting) and I have shot a shotgun but I can promise you that I have never slapped the trigger nor have I ever heard that expression used -- is it a term not used in the Northeast? I pull every trigger, not slap it. As a result, I cringed every time she used that expression. This photo is proof that, even the first time I shot this gun, I pulled the trigger, not slapped it!

Overall, it was a dumbed down, 'girly' version of hunting. I checked out Georgia Pellegrini's website and twitter feed. It basically confirms the gender stereotypes that women and book hunting should not be taken seriously. In the trailer for this (yes, someone wants to make this a tv show), Georgia giggles, shoots into the air, bats her eyelashes and says something about being a girl and hunting. Almost every shot is of her, modeling with her gun in poses that you would NEVER see men in if they were advertising a hunting show.

It has spurred something inside of me that will lead to more blog posts and look at how society views women, hunting and sexualizes it and in doing so, ruins the serious credibility of women hunters.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Guns and Yoga?


I found this link a couple weeks ago and thought it was really interesting. The idea that shooting guns is as relaxing as yoga is one I could back. I am not a yoga expert and really not a gun expert, but I totally agree that the adrenaline rush you get from shooting is relaxing and relieves stress. I think about the endorphins that are released while hunting, the excitement and the high that comes from a successful hunt. Even when I was sitting in my seat waiting (and waiting), I could feel the rush and muscle memory of shooting the gun and I think it did bring on a sense of a 'runner's high' that would help keep me warm while I sat in 20 degree weather =)

So, while I agree with this article and the idea of shooting as something relaxing, what about all of you?

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Book review: Girl Hunter

I got this book for Christmas. I asked for it. I saw it mentioned on a blog that I follow and put up a notice that it would be a great Christmas gift. I got it and started reading it, hoping that it would get better with the next chapter. I really wanted it to be good. To talk about the excitement of the hunt, the anticipation... I am still waiting. I am about half way through the book and struggling to actually enjoy it.
I understand and appreciate the idea of someone getting back to how we all use to eat - hunting and gathering. I have read books about people moving from the big city to the country to farm, to hunt, to get back to nature. Ive read it. I wanted a book about the excitement of hunting and being a hunter, told by a woman. What this book is, is a book about a woman who gets asked to go on hunts in Texas, Montana, London etc but men who do this for a living. So far, all of these hunts have been birds, with the exception of a javelina and a super sketchy 'elk' hunt in which the guy had no idea where and how to hunt and thus, no elk were hunted.
I want the big game. I want to read about trying to out smart a whitetail in the woods. Trying to keep your cool while a bear walks in to bait. Trying to find, kill and drag out a moose. I honestly, don't care about bird hunting (sorry guys).
Like I said, I am a little over half way through the book. I am keeping my fingers crossed that it gets better.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

More Dogs shot

In my December 1 post, I talked about a string of dogs that had been shot in Maine and the hunters said they thought the dogs were really coyotes. Well, it happened again. In York over the long weekend, another dog was shot.
So, I have to ask. Is this the newest CYA maneuver that hunters think will get them off when they shoot something they were not supposed to? I can see laying some blame on the owners of the last group of dogs, since everyone in the State should know that during deer season, idiots with guns are in the woods and the best and safest way to keep your pet safe is to know where they are and put some blaze orange on them. But, what about the end of December?

Is this the new go-to when you shoot something you are not supposed to? Sorry, I was sighting in my rifle and thought I saw a coyote. I didn't realize it was a monster buck. At what point do we need to crack down on the people who are being so careless and shooting dogs?