Hunting?

Grab your bear can or camp chair, kick your feet up and chew the fat about anything Sierra Nevada related that doesn't quite fit in any of the other forums. Within reason, (and the HST rules and guidelines) this is also an anything goes forum. Tell stories, discuss wilderness issues, music, or whatever else the High Sierra stirs up in your mind.
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Harlen
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Hunting?

Post by Harlen » Sat Apr 03, 2021 11:18 pm

WD asks what I think about hunting in the Parks:
Harlen, I am not trying to put you on the spot, but I am very curious how you see hunting? How it is good or bad or neutral with wildlife management? My personal thinking is that the National Park practice of not allowing limited hunting has contributed to problem bears. I can only compare with what I experience in the Wind Rivers in Wyoming -- LOTs more wildlife, including wolves and grizzlies, yet much LESS people-bear problems, and LOTs more hunting.
I first have to defend myself from rlown's aspersions that I am no sort of a hunter. After that, I do have an important point to share regarding the value of hunters and environmentalists becoming united in their effort to conserve wildlands.

rlown wrote:
You're seriously asking harlen about hunting?
:wink: WTH Russ? I'll bet I collect and eat more road-killed animals than you gain in a year of your sort of hunting. And I just may "hunt" a wider variety of species off the road-- Wild Pig, Rattlesnake, Turkeys, an old rooster (never again!), Squirrel, Duck, and of course- Deer, at a 2-3 per year average. And (you'll hate this) no fees! Still, you get all the bragging rights for doing your own killing, and I don't suppose your friends turn their noses up when you invite them over for "Breast of Wild Duck in wine sauce." I get a few no-shows to my "Road-Kill BBQ" dinners. One of my buddies says I need to change the name to "'Wild-harvested Game" if I want his wife to come.

Anyhow, back to Wandering Daisy's serious question about hunting in Parks. I recall a statement by one of the foremost wolf biologists, David L. Mech, who said something like:
To disallow a hunting season for wolves is detrimental to the conservation of the species.
His point was that the communities where the wolves are dispersing into need to see them as a value, and not just something the government is forcing onto them. Mech also believed that local ranchers, and landowners needed to feel like they could control problem animals themselves.
Of course, this is a very tricky proposition, full of necessary guidelines, but I think we can see the pragmatism is this view. I recently found an interesting corrolary to this perspective in an essay by the naturalist author David Quammen, whom I have a lot of respect for. It is found in his book, Wild Thoughts from Wild Places, and the essay is "Eat of This Flesh."

Quammen is contacted by an experienced hunter, who reminds him that the real threat to Mountain Lions, and other wildlife does not come first from hunting; that unchecked developers, and polluting mining operations (WD?) are much more of a threat. Quammen studies the question, and at least for the Mountain Lion population in the northern Rockies, it seems to be true. The hunter becomes a friend, and he makes the point to Quammen that "One of the biggest impending tradgedies ... in the struggle waged by conservation organizations, is the polarization between the hunting, and non-hunting factions of those groups." This polarization he feels, "divides resources, it divides people, and it wastes time and money". ... and he says, "the developers and the miners and the loggers have gotta be laughing all the way to the bank."

I think there is a lot of good sense in the perspective written above. Now, would I like to see sport hunting, or even subsistence hunting, allowed in the National Parks? I would first say no. But that is because of my personal beliefs and desires. My understanding of hunting has changed over the years, having met some highly principled and passionate hunters, both here and in Alaska. I am certain that for some hunters, their deepest spiritual connection to nature has been found through the hunting and eating of wild animals. So if I could be convinced that hunting could be done safely, and sustainably in the Parks, and that it would truly have a net beneficial ecologic effect, then I would be open to it. Gary Snyder once wrote that the sharing of our bodies back and forth [in the food chain] is perhaps the original, and the real form of communion.

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Last edited by Harlen on Mon Apr 05, 2021 1:52 pm, edited 1 time in total.








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rlown
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Re: Hunting?

Post by rlown » Sun Apr 04, 2021 8:24 am

Ian, It is illegal in California to "harvest" roadkill because under current law, it is an illegal method of take. There was a bill in 2019 that if you kill it with your car, you can take it. Not sure of the status on that. I like my car and truck so that would be bad.

I do feel that hunting in the NP's would be a bad idea. The parks are supposed to be places of preservation. I also think it poses more safety issues then benefits.

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Re: Hunting?

Post by Wandering Daisy » Mon Apr 05, 2021 1:57 pm

Hunting should not be out of the equation entirely just because an area is a "National Park". Not all National Parks are equal. I still think non-hunted wildlife are more inclined to become problem animals in areas where humans and animals mix. At that point they become "un"-wildlife. Case in point- the bear problems at South Lake Tahoe. A fed wild animal, whether we intended it or not, is a less wild and likely less healthy animal. Regardless of the designated status of the land, something needs to be done to make the wildlife afraid of humans.

Something seems wrong to me when I read that "contract" hunters are used by the National Parks to "cull" the wildlife. What a missed opportunity! They could open hunting to, for example, bow hunters, and collect a pretty hefty fee to support conservation. Instead they pay "professionals". Additionally, if you have to cull the wildlife, you no longer have a healthy wildlife ecosystem, so something in your management plan is not working.

I too have salvaged road-kill, but in many cases there is not much that can be salvaged. I am the last one to scold a stealth road-kill "hunter". I suppose you could argue that this is taking from vultures or what not. But a lot of road kill, left alone, will simply rot and not be used by anyone or creature.

From the ethical standpoint, I personally feel if you cannot look an animal in the eye, humanely kill it, and butcher it, then you really need to be a vegetarian. I respect vegetarians; anti-hunters who simply buy their meat in the grocery store are pulling the wool over their eyes.

Obviously due to way too many people vs wild animals, if everyone hunted it would be a disaster. And there are a percentage of hunters who are irresponsible. It is actually good that so many people have no desire to hunt.

Harlen- mining is like a lot of other industries- there are responsible miners, and irresponsible ones. There are locations where mining does minimal damage and produces minimal "pollution". Mining only happens when its product is in demand. It is WE the people who burn the coal, use excessive energy to utilize minerals, and build a society that pollutes. Do not blame those who simply supply the demand.

I have backpacked in the fall during hunting season, and on the whole, as long as I wear my hunter-yellow I feel perfectly safe. You just have to be aware. Once, during mountain sheep season, I saw a hunter aiming his spotting scope at me, so I quickly ducked behind a rock for my skinny dip bath. :D

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Re: Hunting?

Post by MountainMinstrel » Mon Apr 05, 2021 6:38 pm

I live a little bit above Sonora, CA and I wish that they would open my neighborhood up to bow hunting as the way it is now the only natural enemies the deer have are our vehicles.
Just an old musician who loves the Mountains.

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Harlen
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Re: Hunting?

Post by Harlen » Mon Apr 05, 2021 8:36 pm

It seems that a lot can be done, and has been done already, to lessen bear incidents through better management practices.
[Yosemite] human–bear incidents peaked in 1998 at 1,584. The resulting political fallout led to Yosemite receiving funds to expand its bear management program... In 2011, Yosemite reached a milestone when it recorded only 114 human–bear incidents—a 93% decrease from the 1998 high.... By the end of November 2018, Yosemite had recorded only 22 human–bear incidents—a 99% decrease from the 1998 high.
I haven't seen the most recent figures-- are bear-human incidents on the rise again?

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Re: Hunting?

Post by erutan » Mon Apr 05, 2021 9:07 pm

I've hitched rides with hunters that had way more of a conservationist / LNT mindset than most thru-hikers I meet heh.

I think the issue in splitting the anti-hunter conservationists and hunters largely boils down to differing lifestyles leading to misunderstandings. Living in a city I thought owning a gun was somewhat sociopathic, but I have zero issues with someone having a bolt action .30-06 etc for large game and a semi-auto smaller caliber for varmints / small game, shotgun for turkeys etc now. Viewing guns as tools is way different than the identity politics fetishization of them since the 70's. Most people think trophy hunting safaris are gross, and those in urban areas probably conflate that with game hunters because they don't know a lot of people that take down an elk for their meat locker.

Personally agreed that one should be able to kill & dress an animal to eat meat, but it's not a popular opinion when I bring it up to folks. The vegetarian / vegan friends seem more receptive than the discount meat from feed lot grocery store ones.

In the NE they've been relaxing bow hunting regulations on deer just because there are so many deer and predators / "varmints" have been hunted down historically that deer are as much a pest in many areas as they are in Yosemite Valley. Ideally you'd bring back more natural predators and just subsidize some stock loss with ranchers etc, but barring that having some regulated hunting to take their place just makes ecological sense.

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Re: Hunting?

Post by Wandering Daisy » Tue Apr 06, 2021 11:22 am

Grizzly bears and wolves have migrated into the Wind Rivers for several years and I have noticed evidence of culling of the elk (which was needed). It is working fairly well, although there still are problems at the rancher-wilderness boundaries and a few hunters do not like it. But all parties are trying to work it out. Limited hunting is allowed. A corner of the Wind River Indian Reservation is in the wilderness, and the Federal Fish & Wildlife manage it. Tribal members can hunt; the general public cannot, but fishing is allowed.

As a backpacker, it has influenced my trips. I now carry bear spray on ALL trips and even though not required I use a bear can. Honestly am a bit uneasy in grizzly areas; I try to avoid going solo where there is a lot of grizzly activity. I was in an area historically known for moose last year and ran into one young moose. I used to see mountain sheep every trip, but have not the last two years. I do not know if the grizzlies and wolves have reduced populations or if it is just that most game sightings are pretty random anyway. I wish it were legal to carry bear spray in Yosemite.

The Sierra seem to have less diverse wildlife than other areas, maybe just a result of habitat such as altitude, dry summers. I have seen mountain sheep near Mt. Langley and once below Window Lake. The deer in Yosemite and SEKI are very bold and not in the least afraid of people- they put their noses right inside the tent! Bear encounters have gone down over the last 20 years; I think the bear can requirement is working.

Yes it is too bad that so many issues with respect to the management of wildlife and wilderness have become so political. I agree that there are reasonable people and good ideas on all sides.

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Re: Hunting?

Post by CAMERONM » Tue Apr 06, 2021 8:38 pm

Since you brought it up-
When a car rolls over a squirrel, does it have a tenderizing effect?
Does it depend on the tread of the vehicle?
Is there a preferred tread?

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Re: Hunting?

Post by Lumbergh21 » Wed Apr 07, 2021 1:45 pm

CAMERONM wrote:
Tue Apr 06, 2021 8:38 pm
Since you brought it up-
When a car rolls over a squirrel, does it have a tenderizing effect?
Does it depend on the tread of the vehicle?
Is there a preferred tread?
Is this a possible reason for people who drive cars with studded tires even after winter?

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Jimr
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Re: Hunting?

Post by Jimr » Wed Apr 07, 2021 4:41 pm

Years ago, when I was young and dumb (I'm not young anymore, but I can't claim the other has changed much), We had a BBQ with lots of beer and fresh seafood from a recent dive (the beers were humanely trapped). We had several Abalone and one of us (I won't say who) thought it would be a good idea to slice thin, place between two planks of wood, then roll over it with the truck to tenderize.
A few beers into this idea and we went for it. The boards went flying and our dinner got a bit of unwanted crunchiness with the distinct taste and smell of, well, asphalt.
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