Wednesday, March 23, 2011

A Bird Dog without Birds is..

...a very unhappy puppy. Followed by a unhappy owner. Again it comes down primarily to habitat. That means land, and that means money. In my opinion, the difference maker and savior (if it happens) is going to be water and water quality. Federal programs that protect water and water quality have a greater public acceptance it seems. And they work.

In any event, the good news is that the gentleman bob seems to be getting more attention recently. Here is an excellent post from Field & Stream in the gun dog blog, A Canary in the Coal Mine: Bobwhite Quail Population.

Friday, March 11, 2011

The Department of Artificial Resources: Stocking, Habitat and Access

The Ohio Department of "Natural" Resources is in the process of the stocking trout of "catchable size" in numerous ponds and lakes around Ohio. In the fall the agency releases rooster pheasants at a variety of public hunting areas around the state. I put the "Natural" in quotes because in many instances what they are actually doing is creating an "Artificial" Resource. Maybe "Outdoor" Resources is a more accurate and acceptable definition.

I understand this practice and believe it has a place. While wild naturally producing stocks would be preferred, in most cases the trout releases are near human populations and in bodies of water that don't offer many opportunities aside from the release. Same deal with the pheasants. It's an access issue. They give people without access to private land opportunity to pursue upland birds, while some other public areas are managed for wild pheasants.

What I don't really understand or agree with is the stocking of sterile hybrids in viable wild areas. Obviously this applies to primarily to fisheries (although a release of 100% roosters is essentially sterile). But why saugeyes in lakes or wipers in the Ohio River? It seems that this would make it even more difficult for the native species by competing with them for food and habitat. It seems like a net loss, when the real issue, where the money really should be spent, is on improving the habitat so that the native species can thrive. Those are the natural resources.