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What If Preserve Bird Hunting Is the Future for All of Us?

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April 14, 2011

What If Preserve Bird Hunting Is the Future for All of Us?

By Chad Love

Monday's post on what to look for in a preserve dog raises an interesting - if troubling - question: what if preserve hunting is the future for all of us? For those of you still fortunate enough to have huntable wild bird populations, ask yourself this: if those birds continued their decline to the point of no return, would you still have the passion for hunting with dogs even if you had to do it in a preserve environment?

I wish it were just one of those unlikely "what-if" hypothetical questions, but things aren't looking good for many of our native gamebird populations. Here's a fairly startling graph on the long-term range-wide decline of the bobwhite quail (bob graphline is in blue, grasshopper sparrow in red) courtesy of the National Bobwhite Conservation Initiative. The bobwhite has also made Audubon's list of the top twenty common birds in decline  (and for you waterfowlers, bluebills and pintails also made that list). Gambel's quail are in a serious decline in Arizona, the lesser prairie chicken, once the most populous upland gamebird species on the southern plains, will almost certainly be listed under the ESA within a year or two, the sage grouse are in trouble in many parts of its range, and pheasant populations face the potential loss of millions of CRP acres.

Taken as a whole, you could certainly envision a grim long-term prognosis for the future of running our dogs on wild birds in wild places. Hopefully it will never come to that. Hopefully we can find some way to come to an agreement. Hopefully, we’ll always thrill to the sight of a staunch point, a long retrieve and our dogs with a mouthful of feathers from a bird never touched by the hand of man. But if things don't work out, will you still enjoy watching your dog work on preserve land?

Comments (12)

Top Rated
All Comments
from blackdawgz wrote 3 years 1 week ago

Only as a transitional thing.

The day is coming where hunters will be isolated in colonies like leperz and will be required to be registered like sex offenders.

They will draw lots to see who gitz to download a "hunt" on their computerz.

As a fix, like drug addictz.

Successful participantz will be authorized to download the code for a simulated synthetic "Wild Bird Dinner" for their home food synthesizer.

Of course, the dinner and itz consumers are merely mathematical concepts expressed in hologramz.

Butt they must comply withe Federal Regulationz to allow for video recording by PETA, even though there are no more animalz.

The videos will be available online for pay-per-view by personalitiez who are into disgust.

Of course, by this time, "People" only exist as magnetic fields in the memory banks of cheap computerz made in China by other computerz.

-2 Good Comment? | | Report
from Levi Banks wrote 3 years 1 week ago

For lack of a better word we might feel the experience is "cheapened" somewhat by being on a preserve, but our dogs know no difference. And isn't that part of the allure, seeing the dog work, the excitement they show, the pride we feel? Having unsucessfully hunted wild birds with my dog and successfully hunting preserve birds without my dog I wish I could have taken her with me, I'm pretty sure it would have been a much more enjoyable experience for me and I think she was a little jealous when I came home with dead birds, the smell of gunsmoke and the smell of other dogs.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Sage Sam wrote 3 years 1 week ago

Isn't the bigger question how we're going to restore our native game bird populations so we DON'T have to resort to "hunting" farmed species?

+4 Good Comment? | | Report
from hair_boxers wrote 3 years 1 week ago

I truly enjoy watching my dog work even when I know almost certainly that there are no birds present. There is something special about being out in the field watching the dog quarter in front of you. The presence of birds makes it that much more enjoyable, but isn't a requisite for me to want to go hunting. I prefer to hunt for wild birds over preserve birds, even if/when wild birds become extremely scarce. It's called hunting, not killing.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Coachcl wrote 3 years 1 week ago

It does seem like it is coming to such a thing. I love watching my dogs work, so I can't see myself not hunting my dogs anymore. At the same time we need to continue to find ways to improve the sport. Like we have seen the rise in deer hunting along with the help from its industry, the companies that support our type of hunting need to continue to grow, even have more of them that are willing to put the time, and $ into improving the hunting bird populations. Without that type of effort it will be hard to stop this process. All bird hunters want there to continue to be birds. But at the same time we don't have the type of budgets that these larger companies do. But I agree that something needs to be done before it does become too late.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from Bryan01 wrote 3 years 1 week ago

Coachcl - you raise a good point - if someone is making money from a hunting situation they will stand up and fight to preserve the ability to continue make money - my concern is that the hunting industry gets a higher rate of return on preserve hunts than on wild bird hunts and has no great incentive to protect habitats for wild bird hunting when it is easier and more profitable to expand the number of preserve hunting locations (at least that's my uninformed guess based on absolutely no hard data)

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Coachcl wrote 3 years 1 week ago

Bryan01, yeah I see your point. I was just trying to make the comparison (stretch maybe) in how the deer hunting industry has greatly increased the support and the number of deer that can be hunted in most all areas of the country. We will always be behind some of the other areas of hunting. It costs a lot of time and money to buy a dog, train it, feed it, all which can last well over 10yrs. That isn't a commitment that some hunters can make. Just throwing ideas out there and seeing what sticks. Something does need to be done. I live in Missouri and there aren't many preserves. But finding quail isn't nearly as easy as it was just 4 yrs ago. And finding pheasant is almost impossible even when you go to the Iowa border.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from baconboy206 wrote 3 years 1 week ago

Well, this is the reality of an exponentially increasing population. more people need more resources plain and simple. Most scientists will agree that the biggest threat to wildlife across the world is to many people. For me personally, the land where i hunt for wild grouse is also owned by myself, so is i the land i hunt deer and moose and bear on. As is the water i fish for trout and salmon. In this case i am extremely lucky, but for those who do not have the means to purchase the land and water they recreate on, the future of outdoor sports looks very dark. (and yes, i do let curtiouse sportsmen access my land, provided they clean up after themselves and close the gates)

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from dneaster3 wrote 3 years 1 week ago

The birds aren't coming back until we change agricultural practices back towards total land stewardship instead of full-scale for-profit utilization.

The land isn't going away from full-scale for-profit use until you find another way to pay farmers.

So our options are wildlife driven subsidies (CRP, WRP, etc), or fewer gamebirds.

Put another way, we either hand money out to the farmers to grow wild birds and not grow crops, or we hand money to the preserve owners to grow "wild" birds and not grow crops.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Mark Scanlan wrote 3 years 1 week ago

I am new to the sport...and I feel totally hosed with the way things are going...I think back to all the time I wasted drinking and chasing women and I feel nothing but regret...

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from wisc14 wrote 3 years 1 week ago

scary to think about. i for one would never hunt a stocked preserve.

i'm lucky in northern wisconsin i know of many places to go grouse hunting

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from aferraro wrote 3 years 1 week ago

Burning 40% for the corn crop / mandating AND subsidize corn ethanol sure doesn't help. But let's face it, politicians care more about agribusiness than hunters and will continue to send billions to the crony capitalist whores at ADM, GE and whoever else writes them a check.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from willianamy wrote 3 years 1 week ago

thank you for sharing

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from shane wrote 3 years 1 week ago

I find that future unacceptable.

Things have to get really bad before we wake up. I don't even think we are waking up quite yet.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report

Post a Comment

from Sage Sam wrote 3 years 1 week ago

Isn't the bigger question how we're going to restore our native game bird populations so we DON'T have to resort to "hunting" farmed species?

+4 Good Comment? | | Report
from Coachcl wrote 3 years 1 week ago

It does seem like it is coming to such a thing. I love watching my dogs work, so I can't see myself not hunting my dogs anymore. At the same time we need to continue to find ways to improve the sport. Like we have seen the rise in deer hunting along with the help from its industry, the companies that support our type of hunting need to continue to grow, even have more of them that are willing to put the time, and $ into improving the hunting bird populations. Without that type of effort it will be hard to stop this process. All bird hunters want there to continue to be birds. But at the same time we don't have the type of budgets that these larger companies do. But I agree that something needs to be done before it does become too late.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from Coachcl wrote 3 years 1 week ago

Bryan01, yeah I see your point. I was just trying to make the comparison (stretch maybe) in how the deer hunting industry has greatly increased the support and the number of deer that can be hunted in most all areas of the country. We will always be behind some of the other areas of hunting. It costs a lot of time and money to buy a dog, train it, feed it, all which can last well over 10yrs. That isn't a commitment that some hunters can make. Just throwing ideas out there and seeing what sticks. Something does need to be done. I live in Missouri and there aren't many preserves. But finding quail isn't nearly as easy as it was just 4 yrs ago. And finding pheasant is almost impossible even when you go to the Iowa border.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from Levi Banks wrote 3 years 1 week ago

For lack of a better word we might feel the experience is "cheapened" somewhat by being on a preserve, but our dogs know no difference. And isn't that part of the allure, seeing the dog work, the excitement they show, the pride we feel? Having unsucessfully hunted wild birds with my dog and successfully hunting preserve birds without my dog I wish I could have taken her with me, I'm pretty sure it would have been a much more enjoyable experience for me and I think she was a little jealous when I came home with dead birds, the smell of gunsmoke and the smell of other dogs.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from hair_boxers wrote 3 years 1 week ago

I truly enjoy watching my dog work even when I know almost certainly that there are no birds present. There is something special about being out in the field watching the dog quarter in front of you. The presence of birds makes it that much more enjoyable, but isn't a requisite for me to want to go hunting. I prefer to hunt for wild birds over preserve birds, even if/when wild birds become extremely scarce. It's called hunting, not killing.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Bryan01 wrote 3 years 1 week ago

Coachcl - you raise a good point - if someone is making money from a hunting situation they will stand up and fight to preserve the ability to continue make money - my concern is that the hunting industry gets a higher rate of return on preserve hunts than on wild bird hunts and has no great incentive to protect habitats for wild bird hunting when it is easier and more profitable to expand the number of preserve hunting locations (at least that's my uninformed guess based on absolutely no hard data)

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from dneaster3 wrote 3 years 1 week ago

The birds aren't coming back until we change agricultural practices back towards total land stewardship instead of full-scale for-profit utilization.

The land isn't going away from full-scale for-profit use until you find another way to pay farmers.

So our options are wildlife driven subsidies (CRP, WRP, etc), or fewer gamebirds.

Put another way, we either hand money out to the farmers to grow wild birds and not grow crops, or we hand money to the preserve owners to grow "wild" birds and not grow crops.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Mark Scanlan wrote 3 years 1 week ago

I am new to the sport...and I feel totally hosed with the way things are going...I think back to all the time I wasted drinking and chasing women and I feel nothing but regret...

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from wisc14 wrote 3 years 1 week ago

scary to think about. i for one would never hunt a stocked preserve.

i'm lucky in northern wisconsin i know of many places to go grouse hunting

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from aferraro wrote 3 years 1 week ago

Burning 40% for the corn crop / mandating AND subsidize corn ethanol sure doesn't help. But let's face it, politicians care more about agribusiness than hunters and will continue to send billions to the crony capitalist whores at ADM, GE and whoever else writes them a check.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from willianamy wrote 3 years 1 week ago

thank you for sharing

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from shane wrote 3 years 1 week ago

I find that future unacceptable.

Things have to get really bad before we wake up. I don't even think we are waking up quite yet.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from baconboy206 wrote 3 years 1 week ago

Well, this is the reality of an exponentially increasing population. more people need more resources plain and simple. Most scientists will agree that the biggest threat to wildlife across the world is to many people. For me personally, the land where i hunt for wild grouse is also owned by myself, so is i the land i hunt deer and moose and bear on. As is the water i fish for trout and salmon. In this case i am extremely lucky, but for those who do not have the means to purchase the land and water they recreate on, the future of outdoor sports looks very dark. (and yes, i do let curtiouse sportsmen access my land, provided they clean up after themselves and close the gates)

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from blackdawgz wrote 3 years 1 week ago

Only as a transitional thing.

The day is coming where hunters will be isolated in colonies like leperz and will be required to be registered like sex offenders.

They will draw lots to see who gitz to download a "hunt" on their computerz.

As a fix, like drug addictz.

Successful participantz will be authorized to download the code for a simulated synthetic "Wild Bird Dinner" for their home food synthesizer.

Of course, the dinner and itz consumers are merely mathematical concepts expressed in hologramz.

Butt they must comply withe Federal Regulationz to allow for video recording by PETA, even though there are no more animalz.

The videos will be available online for pay-per-view by personalitiez who are into disgust.

Of course, by this time, "People" only exist as magnetic fields in the memory banks of cheap computerz made in China by other computerz.

-2 Good Comment? | | Report

Post a Comment

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