Counterpoint: Is It Time For A Season For Birds Of Prey?
Hi Dennis. Long time no see. Anyway, a
friend showed me your "point" story and
I felt compelled to write. I am writing this as a private individual
and not in any way connected to my employer, Pheasants Forever.
Anyway, hope you are well and here is my response:
Dear Editor: In response to your "Point" column in
the June/July 2003 issue advocating a hunting season on birds
of prey, I would just say that game birds would be about as challenging
a prey for hunters as a barnyard chicken were it not for predators
putting the heat on them and keeping them wild. Who would want
to hunt a dumb chicken? Nobody.
Birds of prey are the farmers best friend because they keep rodent
and insect populations from getting out of control. Rodents and
insects consume or ruin tons of grain every year. Bird of prey
populations are kept in check by prey abundance or lack thereof,
predation by owls, starvation, weather, etc.
Personally, I love seeing our graceful birds of prey soaring
about on a summer breeze. I can't imagine a world without them.
I have seen hawks catch ducks and other game. These chance sightings
have been some of the most exciting things I've witnessed in
I once had a hawk nab a duck off the water that I had shot. The
hawk ate the duck by the time I got to it. Frankly, I don't mind
sharing game with my fellow predators, the hawks. There's plenty
of game to go around for everybody - hawks and human hunters
alike. Most importanty, game bird abundance is not totally controlled
by predators. Game bird abundance is a factor of habitat quality
and abundance. If you want more game birds, join a conservation
organization and support it all you can. These groups are putting
wildlife habitat in the ground.
As for game farms losing birds, I sympathize with their loss.
But they must accept that this is the cost of doing business.
I certainly don't think they should be allowed to shoot raptors
- just ask the guy who recently was caught doing so and the severe
punishment he received from our ever vigilant authorities.
Sincerely, Mark Herwig, White Bear Lake, Minnesota
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