Friday, February 23, 2007

Hunting philosophy evolves on hike

Hiking is good for my brain. It gives me a chance to get my head around ideas that otherwise I'd be too distracted to work out. KP and I were walking the Goodman Creek trail today and I noticed some bobcat tracks. The bobcat was following the trail for a long while and the tracks were really fresh. I think it was following the big flocks of thrushes that were picking gravel off of the trail.

The tracks were so fresh, they were still crumbling inward as we walked along. It had obviously backtracked our trail.

The bobcat got me thinking about predators, and hunting in general. I'm reading Robert Ruark's The Old Man and the Boy right now, and it's written in 1957 and set back a few decades before that. Ruark's boyhood character espouses a lot of interesting conservation ideas and is really ahead of his time in that sense, but one of the things I find interesting is how easy it is for him to go gather various game animals all around the house.

It reminds me of the way I want to hunt -- which is the way that I fish a lot of the time. Casually, taking what comes my way. But that's not really feasible at this point in our relationship with wild animals. The wild animals aren't there. I don't have the private land at my disposal to cultivate a good population of birds and small game to harvest.

Hunting has to be a committment at this point, not a past time like fishing is. I have to be willing to hunt on big game, which is managed intensively by state governments and biologists. I have to understand I might only shoot one bear in my life and it might take five years. Maybe I take a few elk, a deer every other year. And I have to spend a whole week, 4 days, tracking, packing it out on my back, making a committment to that animal and the few that are left.

There just aren't enough animals around to hunt casually anymore. Committment is coming -- bear season this spring.


L-ementary said...

I do not understand the hunting thing. Sometime, we will sit down, and I will have you explain it to me as best you can.

wyldthang said...

Hi! You'd be surprised, though, where the animals really are. We live on the edge of private timber land and BLM land. We have bobcats, cougar, weasel, plenty of deer, elk, turkey, a smattering of pheasant, even spotted owls ;0). We've hiked on the timber land to the west and found plenty of bear tracks. The cuts range from recent clear cuts, "teenage" to 50 year old tree stands, selective cuts, a secret pocket of gigantic old growth(protected). I've been counting things here, and I have been pleasantly surprised at the diversity of plants and animals in this logged land. I guess I get frustrated when the greenies dismiss such places as barren, when nobody takes the TIME to live with this land and really see. As soon as Blogger lets me post pix I have a post about fire and the Tillamook Burn--an absolute miracle everyone(especially the environmentalists)need to go witness. Nature is much more powerful and strongwilled than we think. I'm not dismissing that our wild places are in jeopardy and need protection. I think the greatest threat to nature is sprawl, pavement, disgusting second trophy-vacation-homes, and the loss of a true love and connection with nature and how it works. Hunters and fishers of fish still have this love-connection for the most part.