Response to a Hunter - About Bear Research, Conservation & Hunting

  • Blog Post by: T.R. Michels
  • October 9, 2011 - 10:17 AM

A hunter on a talk forum responded to my last Blog by saying thet he thoght I was spouting nonsense rhetoric as a way of making a living.

My response to him was as follows:

Are you saying you don't think conservation is important, and that showing youngsters in class rooms around the world the importance and fun of wildlife management - and the importance of hunting to game management in light of conservation - is not important?

I'm too liberal - nonsense ... I've probably been hunting, and taken more other people hunting, and taught more people about hunting, than most of the people on this forum, in some cases more than 10-20 of you put together. Hunting is how I make my living, and I do not do it for the money, because I'm not getting paid for what I write here, or on my StarTribune Blog - I receive nothing.

What I am trying to do is get across to everyone, that the more we learn about wildlife and how the animals interact with the environment they live in, the better prepared we will be to manage them and keep them around for the future generations - in light of the fact that we will continue to loose wildlife habitat.

Instead of making snide cracks at me you hunters should be out there trying to help me, and people like my friends Ted Nugent, Dennis Anderson and But Grant - that is if you really care about the future of hunting. But some people only care about what they can do and get today, and do not care about the future.

Sometimes I get tired of trying to educate machos and hard heads, but I keep hoping I can get through to them as they grow older and hopefully get wiser.

I ask myself why I have taken my passion for conservation to uneducated non hunters, especially when I realize that I am not even reaching short sighted hunters.

Geez … people wake up and smell the whitetail clover, and instead of just worrying about protecting your hunting rights or fighting with me or taking jabs at non hunters and people who care about the environment - think about how you can save the species you hunt and that piece of propetry you hunt on - before it is gobbled up for some urban subdivision. And think about not leaving trash wherever you go, not only that but think about picking up the trash someone else left behind. And think about ways to reduce the herbicides and pesticides, and other chemicals, that are poisoning our fishing waters to the point where we can no longer eat some species of fish from some waters.

Why are some people so darn short-sighted? And how in the heck, is Dr. Rogers research - negatively affecting you? How is the protectin of 10 darn bears, about 1/2 of one percent of all the bears in the state of Minnesota, going to negatively affect anyone? It is not going to.

Could it possibly have a positive affect on game management or conservation, or on your hunting? The answer is yes to all three questions.

What he is learning about things like the home ranges of bears - how much territory they need to live - can affect how we manage not only the numbers of bears the DNR believes the state can handle, but it will affect how many permits are given out in each area. We may have more permits in some areas, and more no quota hunting in other areas.

Even as a bear researcher myself, who reads all of the scientific papers I can get my hands on about whitetails, elk, turkey , ducks, geese and yes bears - I've learned from Dr.Rogers that a female bear will often give up part of her annual home range to her daughters, so they get a leg up on survivng on their own, because they are living in a habitat they already know - where to to find food, shelter and water. Very few people knew that before his studies.

Knowing how much habitat bears need to live in in particualr areas of the state, can help us understand how many large boars might be in those areas, and thus, how many permits the DNR gives out in those areas. Learning that a boar can have a home range up to five times larger than the 10-20 square miles that a sow my have, explains why we may see a boar one week one year, and not again until the next month, or next year or ever again. I find that not only interesting but important.

To a bear guide, who uses baits to put his clietns over active baits, it means he may have to run a string of baits several miles long - and keep an eye or a camera on those baits, to see which bears are using it during which weeks.Or he amay put baits in concentrated areas where the home ranges of several bears overlap, which might up your chances of seeing a bear on any given day.

To me it means the using a "grease pad", pouring a lot of Kentucky Friend Chicken grease on the ground in front of my baits, so that when a bear steps in it - it gets lots of grease on its feet and fur, so when it leaves the bait, it leaves a scent trail the other bears may find and lead them back to my baits so my hunters have chances at multiple bears - not just one.

Dr. Rogers’ research, if you read it all, can teach you something as a hunter, and it can change the way we manage bears and bear habitat, and how many bear permits the DNR gives out each year.

His research can also get non-hunters interested in conservation, or hunters interested in conservation, so that not just a few people care about saving the habitat you hunt today, but that youngsters care about saving the habitat they hunt tomorrow , and for the next geneation.

Geez ..... I should not have to explain this to hunters - except that they see his research as bad - simply because he and over 132,000 other people want protection for 10-20 bears near Ely- and they get paranoid that he or the bear lovers want to shut down bear hunting. And that is not his intention at all. Nor is it mine. But it might be for some of the bear lovers - but hang on - I'll explain more

If hunters would pay attention - they would see that I am educating the non-hunters about the need for conservation and the need for hunting to manage bear populations - and a lot of those people - due to Dr. Roger research and my blog and articles - are beginning to realize that hunting is in fact a needed game management tool. They now see the reason why - they understand - and although they may not like it, they may not fight it - which helps us hunters.

But, I would not be able to even broach the subject of hunting with many of those people - without the internet research of Dr. Rogers. His research has opened a way for a dialogue with non hunters and anti hunters, that is making a difference. So in a round about way - we hunters owe him a big thank you. because he is helping us.


May God bless all of you, and enlighten you too,




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