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Do Animals Really Care About Fair Chase?  Dead is dead. Only survival matters before that.  Pursuit and manner of death is only significant to those who give chase. Human killers attain value and meaning by applying ethics and morals to their own behaviors when reducing other life forms to possession.

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It is these very ethics and morals that underscore major competition for various quarry that heavily influence the bio-politcs in our halls of bureaucracy  However, on a finite planet with limited carrrying capacities, sustainability of resource extraction and unlimited growth patterns is of far more concern than bickering between myopic user groups.

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Access is the name of the game for hunters and fishermen. In the caligraphy of who gets what, when, where, and how, it is ever-more rule books and regulations to meet the rising tide of interest. It’s all math in the end.

Ground zero to determine who gets what, and by what means, is the ethics we use to promote which voice gets listened to the most.  Morals is more about what guides us  as to which species deserve to live or die, especially when it comes to the predator-prey dance.  Calibrating importance is all relative to ones’s perspective and personal history.

In the animal world, just living another day is the main law of the jungle.  Which is fastest or more cunning is the critical factor to them.  To humans, what fundamentally matters is that there is always a viable population of something to optimally maintain. Otherwise, there will be nothing left to ethicise or moralize  over.

Unfortunately, ethics is the battle-club of the various user-group gladiators when fighting for a  bite from the only resource pie in town. While the science of wildlife management is about ecology and population dynamics, distribution of the pie is more related to sociology and the politics of consumption. Basically, ethics and morals is the dominionists architecture for the Manifest Destiny of man over nature.

As a conservationist, environmentalist, or hunter concerned about ethical behavior, there is an ever-present  danger to mount a high horse of morality.  It is too easy to fall into the jaws of the “holier-than-thou” personal value trap. Such a hubris high horse throws  a mean buck  to those with little tolerance for others and ends up with an ugly landing.

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Should a rifle killed elk during the rut be listed in Pope and Young?  Do we keep or release fish? Use bait or fly, single hook or treble? Hunt with gun or bow? Trap, snare, or poison? Trophy or meat hunt?  Float in, or jet?  Go by foot, horse, or atv? Allow survellience by plane or drone?   On and on.

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How much effort we exercise in using collaboration and cooperation when competing for limited resources, will help define our behavior and what agreements we can make as we go about extraction.  Methods we use to get what we want also matters, because magnitude of impact is highy varied by which type of big stick we use.

Each carries a different potential and variance in the severity of harvest regulations and seasonal length that can result.  Animal behavior is greatly modified by human endeavors  and equity between users is thus ripe for squeaky oil favoritism and much strife.

However, while we struggle to divvy up the resource, the bigger threat is always about what happens to the habitat. Every time we lose more ground, that reduces carrying capacities and essentially the very fish and wildlife resources we wish to save.  The pie never gets any bigger.

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Preindustrial people’s had a hard time appropriating land use and often undermined their own carrying capacities because of limited knowledge and tools. We don’t have that excuse with today’s sophistication, so to deny ecological science and continue depleting resources that also escalate climate change is a blantant and wilfull blindness to the future. Nature never loses sight. Only man’s arrogance and choice of apathy does that.

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It is far better to join forces to fight for habitat, clean air and water,  and to rein in our own numbers than to squabble over fairchase and have turf wars, while the hungry lions of industry are busy consuming the land. Such action is more like rowing upstream to keep from going over a waterfall when a giant Sequoia is falling toward your backside.

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As we try to keep our boat of natural resources right side up, perhaps we should pay closer attention to our science and saddle it with a more appropriate attitude:

TIPIS

Gary Lane
Wapiti River Guides
http://www.doryfun.com

 

 

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