News from the Secretary by Larry Gabriel How many does it take for a good hunt?
Hunting season is upon us again. Some of my landowner friends are cringing. Some of my hunter friends are excited. Some of my other friends are busy getting ready.
Actually it takes three people working together to make a good hunt.
The first is the landowner who feeds and provides a home for the wildlife. Without that cooperation and support, there would be nothing to hunt and few places to do it.
The second is the hunter himself, who since 1937 has put his money where his mouth is and has paid the bill for most of the wildlife restoration and preservation efforts that have brought game animals from near extinction to overabundance in North America.
Others contributed later when animal protection and preservation became fashionable among the city folks, but for the most part, hunters and fishermen footed the bills for building our wildlife systems though a "user pays" philosophy in the form of federal excise taxes on their equipment and the licenses they purchased from the states.
And last, but certainly not least are my friends from the Game, Fish & Parks Department, who have taken a lot of public "heat" from some of my rancher friends in recent times. Without the protection and management they provide, there would be little if anything for most of the public to hunt.
The point is this: all these people are necessary and every one of them should be nothing but grateful to the others.
That is a pretty tall order, you think? Well consider what could happen without that cooperation. We could end up back where we started.
I recently ran onto a sentence in the Nebraska State Genealogical Society Journal for Harlan County that reminded me of what "hunting" used to be when white settlers first arrived.
Here is what it said, "ZIEGLER, J. F. homesteaded in 1872 south of Alma. He financed his first year by killing elk and buffalo, drying the meat and selling it. He settled along Prairie Dog Creek."
The same thing happened in South Dakota. We have all seen the old pictures of wagons piled high with dead animals pulling into Rapid City.
There were very few deer in Western South Dakota when I was young. It was a big deal to see three deer in the same place you can now see a herd of 30.
There are a lot of arguments about what rules should govern the way these three groups work together, and at times tempers rise. However, I know all of them want to avoid a return to where we were a hundred years ago.
When you come to my part of world for hunting, you can bring the rules if you like, but what you really need to bring is an appreciation of others and a little respect for what they do for us. Bring that and we will have a good hunt.