Despite the grim situation the computer models foretell, there is hope.
The first thing you can do is start talking about these issues openly and candidly. Write letters to your congressmen and the editor of your local newspaper. Let them know that you care about climate change and the effect it is having and is likely to have on fish and game. If you don’t speak up, hunting and fishing will fall to the wayside as the rest of society struggles to adapt to the warming.
At the least, contribute to or volunteer for the nonprofit organizations that support the species you hunt or fish for. Many are at the forefront of the movement to save hunting and angling from climate change. They include: Ducks Unlimited, Trout Unlimited, BASS, the Izaak Walton League of America, the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies, the Coastal Conservation Association, the American Sportfishing Association, Pheasants Forever, the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, the Mule Deer Foundation, and the Foundation for North American Wild Sheep.
These groups are seeking to protect habitat, especially high-altitude terrain. The peaks and crags will become the last refuges of many cold-weather animals; they also cradle the headwaters of our rivers. Support these organizations, which are working to establish corridors of undeveloped land that will allow cold-sensitive animals to migrate.
On a more practical level, all hunters and anglers can start looking at the way they hunt and fish and decide if they can make changes. Fewer but longer hunting or fishing trips could save more fuel than taking several weekend excursions with multiple round-trip commutes. Buddy up. Drive to your favorite fishing or hunting areas with a friend or family member whenever you can. You’re saving money and putting less carbon in the sky, and it’s more social.
Get off the gasoline-powered ATV and walk whenever you can. You’ll be quieter, you’ll see more game, you’ll cut down on fossil-fuel consumption, and you’ll lose a few pounds in the process.
Climate is not weather. Some years will be marked by localized cold weather. Don’t be lulled into a false sense of security. Despite the cold, which will probably be interspersed with much warmer temperatures and more rain than snow, global warming is still happening. —Mark T. Sullivan