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Recently I had some friends down from Michigan to take a float trip, so I spent my Saturday evening showing them some good places to float: The 11 Point, and Spring River. We enjoyed the afternoon visiting about our world here in the Ozarks, and of course the topic of deer hunting was bound to come up.
When we compared the opportunities of both states, I was proud to live here in Missouri The one thing that entered into the conversation was CWD (Chronic Wasting Disease). In the area where they live, they have had severe problems with the health of the deer herd and even though he wasn’t sure about the disease, he believed it to be CWD, and in May the state confirmed that CWD had been found.
He told me in his area that many sportsmen (men and women) were concerned that the herd health was getting so bad that they may have to cancel season for hunting if it continued. If this is CWD causing the bulk of the problem, in fact, to the herd in his area, it could easily wipe out the entire herd for many years to come.
I know in Missouri there have been a handful of cases found, and the Missouri Department of Conservation is actively working to try to control the disease in this state, and the success or failure of that effort is yet to be proven.
The one thing I do know is for success to be gained, it will take the help of the hunters in the state. Hunting is the best way to manage the wildlife population, get testing data for biologist, and to help implement whatever action is decided on.
Almost every time that I go on Facebook I see somebody posting a picture of a dead deer with a fawn lying beside it and the narrative that some hunter just killed this deer and how her baby is laying there beside her while she is still warm, and this so called sportsman is so cruel. Or, I see a picture of some dog that has had both front legs cut off and the caption that it got caught in some cruel hunter’s trap. Every time I see these I have to ask who shot the deer (if it hadn’t really been hit by a car), or cut that poor dogs legs off. Number one, there is no place in America that I have ever heard of that has open deer season the time of year that the fawns are small enough to have spots, If it was indeed shot, did the person taking the picture do the shooting so as to make hunting look bad (the caption said the deer was still warm)? That trap that cut both of that poor dog’s legs off, I have never had occasion to use one that would cut those legs off (or even seen one like that as far as that goes). That would have to be a large bear trap (the kind that hasn’t been legal in years).
Please be very careful about believing everything you see and even more careful about sharing it. The truth is that hunting and trapping are in fact the very best ways for wildlife biologists to control wildlife populations. This earth has a very delicate balance of nature, and if we try to remove man from that balance, it will rebalance in a very cruel way. If we in Missouri took man out of the equation, for instance in the case of deer, yes, we would fail to harvest some couple hundred thousand deer (say 20% of the herd) per year that could be eaten by people and in return starve and lose to disease about 90%. You see that 20% would not know that there is not enough food and cover for all in the winter, and they would continue to eat what they could find until they died, starving the deer that would have been fine. In return there would be a boom in predators until the deer population died off and then they would have starved as well. What didn’t starve, chronic wasting disease would wipe out almost the entire population of the deer left, if we failed to do our part in managing the herd.
Recently I drove through the countryside to the cemetery where my parents are buried, by our old home place, and enjoyed seeing several deer with spotted fawns. As a hunter I love the wildlife whether just watching or in the proper season hunting them. I know that without proper management that some of those fawns I enjoyed watching today would die a far worse death than becoming a meal for some hunter. I promise you that living a happy healthy life until the day of harvest are a million times better than starvation and disease until a pack of coyotes catch you because of your weakened condition and start eating, often before their prey is dead.
I don’t blame anybody who tells me that they couldn’t shoot “Bambi.” In fact I know that harvesting of game is not for everybody, and if it were we would over harvest, but please do not sentence those beautiful animals to a death of starvation.
Remember that there are people in this world that would do anything to promote their agenda, even kill a mother deer with her baby to photograph, or cut a poor dogs legs off in an attempt to turn the uninformed against hunters. These people would sacrifice our entire wildlife population to stop hunting, something man has done ever since he appeared on this earth.
Enjoy the end of the summer and start getting those bows out and practice, site in your rifle, clean the meat grinder or just the camera lens. However you enjoy wildlife, the time to prepare is now. I certainly enjoyed the beautiful deer I saw today as well as the squirrels, a rabbit, and even the many songbirds. I would like to thank my sister for our pictures for this article, she is one that truly loves to take her shots with a camera all year where us hunters switch from camera to bow, atlatl or rifle for part of the year for our hunts. She, however, sticks to her camera, and I have no doubt enjoys her hunting trips as much as any hunter.
If you have any questions or comments you can contact us at Kosh Trading Post, 206 Bingham, Koshkonong, Mo., or on the Facebook page of kosh trading post , web page: koshtradingpost.angelfire.com , or call 417-280-6304.
Have a great rest of summer, and start preparing for the fall seasons. (Summer officially ends Sept. 22.)