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  • April 21, 2011

    Aldo Leopold: A Man of Quiet Action

    By Hal Herring

    “Perhaps no one but a hunter can understand how intense an affection a boy can feel for a piece of marsh. I came home one Christmas to find that land promoters, with the help of the Corps of Engineers, had diked and drained my boyhood hunting grounds on the Mississippi River bottoms. My hometown thought the community enriched by this change. I thought it impoverished.”

    So wrote forester and sportsman, ecologist and family-man Aldo Leopold in 1947, the year before he died. In a new film on Leopold’s life, I am reminded of just how powerful this humble man really was in laying the groundwork for so much- most- of what we modern hunters and fishermen enjoy today. The movie is called Green Fire: Aldo Leopold and a Land Ethic for Our Time, and I recommend it without reservation to any reader of this blog. For a list of showings or to purchase a copy of the movie, go here.

    Watching the film, it becomes clear how history can produce, in a kind of forge of events, the human beings that, literally, change the way we see the world. It takes a special kind of steel to put in that forge, too- not the strongest or the hardest or the steel that rings loudest when struck – to produce a thinker and man of quiet action like Leopold.

  • April 5, 2011

    A Crossroads For American Hunters and Anglers: What's At Stake

    By Hal Herring

    Although I cannot match Bob Marshall’s deeply researched story from two weeks ago concerning House Resolution 1, the US House of Representatives proposal to cut our crushing federal deficit, I just took part in a teleconference on the budget bill that left me so unnerved that I have to address the same topic. I’m not trying to beat readers over the head with this, but we are at a crossroads for American hunters and fishermen.

    The situation goes far beyond political parties. It is about representatives who may be well-meaning, but are ignorant of the very basics of conservation and how it affects our economy, our quality of life, and our access to basic resources like clean water, not to mention fish to catch and wild game to hunt. There are times when those who know what is at stake must inform the decision makers. In this case, it is sportsmen who know the facts on the ground, and now is such a time.

    Let’s look, again, at what is at stake. And please remember, the part of the federal budget that is devoted to conservation and land and water protection makes up about .5% of the entire budget. You could kill our entire legacy of conservation, ensure the loss of most of our wildlife and fisheries, allow the poisoning of our air and waters, and do nothing whatsoever to actually address the national debt. (And, although it is beyond my scope here, please apprise yourself, as a taxpayer, or just a citizen, of all that has NOT been targeted for cutting. According to these elected representatives, what we can do without as a nation, first, are mostly the things that we hunters and fishermen understand to have great value. WE are the low-hanging fruit.)