Friday, February 27, 2009

Off Season

I was reading over at The Rasch Outdoor Chronicles about a comment someone had about the off season. It went like this:

I'm not a hunter (which you'll know if you read my first comment). But all of the hunters I've met in my life talk about how much they love the wildlife they hunt. And yet I rarely hear about hunters off-season going out just to appreciate wildlife the way many of us non-hunters do. I don't fully understand that. Am I just reading that wrong? I hate to make generalizations.

It is an interesting question. I never really think much about. I obviously cannot make generalizations about all hunters, but I can speak for the ones I know. I don't gun hunt, but I can speak for myself as well.

My brother, who is a deer hunter and lives on a farm, spends his summer months cultivating his property to better manage his deer population. He helps to clear trails through the woods, he works on deer stands, plants deer friendly plants, and then tends to his own garden and animals.

My father, who is now approaching seventy, likes to get out on the trails and walk with my mother. They don't move around as easily as they used too, but they like to walk the dogs, and have their labs work on retrieving down in the canal. He spends time working on his ponds, raising Koi.

One thing I have in common with both of them is that we like wildlife to feel comfortable in our own backyard. We have ponds and bird-feeders. Domestic animals, as well as wild ones, abound.

I have an ongoing feud with the local raccoons. They like to kill and decapitate my chickens. I had one kill a hawk of mine in the middle of the night. So I trap them and donate them to the local SPCA.

I teach kids every day about the outdoors. I spend time with my own children hiking the trails close by, and scoping out potential hunting sites for next year. I spend a lot of time watching the birds. I plan.

A lot of my outdoor time is spent planning. What to fly, where to trap, where to hunt. What can I do better this year than I did the last. and I think this is often true of many hunters. They've just spent the last six months in the wood, when summer comes, it is often time for reflection.

Of course, this year, I will hopefully be tending to the offspring of Tess and Gonzo.


Albert A Rasch said...

Howdy Doug,
Thanks for stopping by.

I think that the post hit a pretty raw nerve with most everyone. As I mentioned, it originally appeared on Deer Passion's Blog, but the response has been substantial.

I have to agree with most everyone on the point that we are mostly doers in the off season. The only difference is that we are all doing different things.

Albert A Rasch
The Rasch Outdoor Chronicles
Proud Member of Outdoor Bloggers Summit
Southeast Regional OBS Coordinator

Anonymous said...

I think a lot of hunters and anglers behave as you do. They teach young people about the outdoors. They feed and watch the local wildlife. They go walking on local trails and do their best to keep those trails beautiful.

It's about appreciating the outdoors and maintaining it.

Doug said...

Absolutely! Thanks for stopping by.