The leaves are starting to turn and fall hunting seasons are just around the corner. Now is the time that a lot of us reflect on seasons past as we prepare for the ones approaching.
A Brace of Chukkar Partridges and a good dog
Many of us began hunting because it is a tradition passed down through family generations and we continued because we believe it is a necessary part of existance. Others began hunting after being exposed to it from co-workers or friends.
Those of us that hunt understand that hunting is a tool utilized by the various States game management agencies to control species populations at healthy levels within the confines of thier home ranges.
To fully appreciate that we must understand Habitat and Carrying Capacity.
Habitat is the enviroment in which we and all creatures live. It is made up of the things we need to survive; Water, Shelter, Food, Space and Companionship.
Carrying Capacity is the number of creatures that can survive year around in a given area WITHOUT damage to the habitat or health of the species.
If there are too many deer in a given area for the habitat it will not be long before the habitat is depleted to the point that it affects all of the other species that share that habitat. When that happens the health of all the species that call that area home begins to decline. These creatures then experience poor health and in some cases agonizing deaths from disease and predation by the carnivores that share the habitat.
Carrying Capacity is usually determined by the number of animals that can subsist at the worst time of the year. Generally this is the late winter and early spring. The universal truth is that only some many of a species can survive in a given area and that includes human beings.
How many people can survive in a one bedroom house and for how long? 10 people in that house is too many for the continued well being of all of the occupants. The same principal applies to wildlife. Not all areas in the out of doors have the food, water, shelter and space needed for wildlife to survie. Over crowding in those areas that have the essentials for survival will soon have a very negative effect on the habitat and the health of the wildlife.
Spring time brings on the rebirth of nature. species are born, trees bloom, farmers plant crops and the waters flow. On through the summer the habitat can support an increased number of all of the species.
It is into the fall when food sources and water dry up or are harvested by the farmers that things become more critical. Now the habitat can not support through the winter the increased numbers that spring birth brought forth.
Due to the diminishing resources there are numbers of wildlife THAT WILL NOT SURVIVE to see the next rebirth of nature. Hunting allows the harvest of wildlife that is expected to AND DOES DIE horrible painfull deaths through the winter. Hunters that harvest this SURPLUS game thus utilizing the meat for sustinance rather than allowing it to waste. Deer and many other species mate in the fall. The gestation period of these animals is through the very worst time of year for species to survive in the outdoors. Because of hunting the female wildlife that does survive the winter is much more healthy in the spring and produce off spring that are more halthy as well.
Hunting is a necessary part of good wildlife management. Because we hunt the remaining populations are able to live fruitful productive lives in well maintained habitat that can support their numbers.