Wednesday, January 7, 2009

A Texas-Sized Embarrassment

Compared to other parts of the country, Texas grows a modest amount of corn. Nevertheless, most of the State's deer hunters are obsessed with it. I suspect that without it, very few would know how to hunt.

Hats off to Wyman Meinzer and Texas Parks & Wildlife for saying so. Here's Wyman speaking the truth in his December 2008 article: is disturbingly true that fewer and fewer people are learning these once-essential outdoor skills. In this age of spacious and comfortably furnished elevated blinds, solar-powered feeders spraying their offering of golden delight at predictable intervals or video cameras offering the "hunter" a tantalizing array of super bucks for the taking at exorbitant prices, few incentives exist today to encourage our youth to hunt in a more traditional way.

Even on public land, where elevated blinds and feeders are illegal, people find a way to cheat. A few weeks ago, squirrel hunting on public land in far North Texas, I found various camouflaged homemade feeders strapped to trees. Late in the day, I passed two hunters getting ready for their afternoon hunt. Both were unloading bags of corn from their pickups. They made no effort to hide it. After all, they were deer hunting. That's just the way we do it here in Texas.

Read the rest of Wyman's article. I'm proud of TPW for having the guts to run it.


mdmnm said...

I recall elevated blinds on my grandfather's lease in far south Texas more than thirty years ago. The whole feeder phenomena seems to be more of a new thing. I recall a conversation with a person who had a lease in central Texas who said "...shot that buck at 274 yards!". "That's a pretty long shot" was the response, "How did you get the range so exact?"
"Well, it is exactly 274 yards from the blind to the feeder!"
Not quite hunting. Humane, I think, so not necessarily unethical, but more harvest than hunt.

On the other hand, on a small lease you can't have very many people still hunting, they'll stir up the game and run it off the ranch (temporarily) in addition to constantly running into each other. For that reason, I can see the need to hunt from blinds, but I can't get behind hunting over feeders.

stevea said...

I often wonder how much effect, if any, the elevated feeders may have in the population increase of wild hogs.

Deer leases have become such a profitable business here, I doubt we'll ever see much still hunting for deer again except for a few dedicated few.

It's a shame, but unless hunting is a way of life, any shortcut is going to be taken. The hunters who depend on shortcuts make me very nervous when I'm out there.