Human intervention not always good

By JEFF NORTH,

YouTube is a phenomenal video sharing website that offers a multitude of opportunities for the viewing. Movies, music, history, and many other topics that one is interested in can be found through this technology. If you would like to learn how to sharpen a knife, you can find information regarding this. Duck calling demonstrations abound through this website. Grass cutting techniques are available as well. Would you like a cooking demonstration for a turkey or goose? Hundreds of recipes are available at the touch of your keypad. It was through this site that today’s topic was born.

Recently I was watching an interview with Ted Nugent regarding his thoughts and opinions on Chronic Wasting Disease on YouTube. Now if you know anything about this legendary rock star and more recently, his passion about the outdoors and hunting, you will realize he doesn’t hold anything back. Regarding political issues, you will have no doubt where he stands after watching and listening to him. He is quite entertaining whether you agree or disagree with what he stands for.

During his commentary he strayed from the subject at hand and began making comments about other wildlife issues and offered his opinions regarding these too. One issue he mentioned that greatly interested me is the debate in Michigan over the depredation permits offered to farmers to control sandhill cranes. When he got started on this emotion boiled from within him. I’ll explain.

From what I understand, farmers can apply for permits to shoot sandhill cranes that plague their crops and cause economic damage. However, farmers are not allowed to utilize any portion of the birds they shoot. They have to be left where they fall if I understand correctly. Brother Ted was dogmatic about the waste of this resource and held nothing back condemning the decision makers that allow for this, in his words, atrocious behavior.  Now here is where a little background history is in order to bring you up to date on this politically sensitive issue.

 

The sandhill crane (Antigone canadensis) is a species of a large crane of North America and extreme northeastern Siberia. There are other subspecies as well and the population status varies with each. For this discussion though, my comments will be directed toward the more numerous Canadian sandhill crane. Through wonderful conservation efforts, this noble bird has been brought back from a grave endangered status to a stable, thriving population. Of course with increased numbers in the hundreds of thousands, in places they pose a real threat to farming operations. It never fails, wildlife and humans clash and political uprisings occur with wildlife suffering most of the time. I witness this every year here in our own state regarding the whitetail deer and crop damage with farmers, hunters, and wildlife officials at odds with one another. Alas, before I stray as Brother Ted did, let me stick to the subject at hand.

Ted’s “beef” with the waste of the resource is valid. At least in my humble opinion it is. He prefers regulated hunting seasons to be allowed for sportsmen to use the resource for sport and food. In turn, the state benefits from license sales and economic growth from hunters spending money to hunt. Additionally, farmers will benefit by reduced crop damage from the legal harvest of the birds. In Ted’s words, the “ribeye of the sky” would then be utilized for the good of all. Now I’m sure there are other factors involved with this dilemma, but for the most part this seems like a valid resolution where all parties, and the resource itself, can exist in harmony.

 

A lot of wildlife and human conflicts, as with the sandhill crane, are the result of the recurring pattern of habitat loss for a particular species and they must adjust to survive. In this case the birds must find sources of nutrition and sadly it is at the expense of the farmer. It’s not the bird’s fault that they must look elsewhere for suitable habitat, nor is it the producers fault to try and protect his livelihood. A success story in the world of conservation has led to other problems with human and wildlife interactions resulting in problems for both.

Middle ground can be reached to benefit both the wildlife resource and man if we choose to be open minded and work toward a common goal for the benefit of all parties. Now that I think about what I just stated, Washington comes to mind and perhaps there isn’t a resolution to be found and tragically, Ted may be right in that there will continue to be a clash and conflict with wildlife losing in the end.

Do you think there is an opportunity for a compromise on this slippery slope between environmentalists, farmers, sportsmen, and wildlife officials? I find it’s hard enough for two parties to agree on something, much less this many. Throw in an emotional topic to boot, and you’re playing with fire. It will be interesting to see how this plays out. I’ll remain optimistic that an amicable resolution will be found, but maybe hopeful is a better chosen word than optimistic.

If you’re interested in this subject, find Ted on YouTube and listen to what he says. You can make your own mind up as to which side of the fence to stand, but I assure you, he will be entertaining. I’m sure I will find more to this story to come and as I do I will share. While you’re on the site, be sure to watch a couple of cooking demonstrations, Christmas dinner is just around the corner.

Until next time, enjoy our woods and waters and remember, let’s leave it better than we found it. Merry Christmas.