“Deergate” scramble by John C. Street
A whole lot more years ago than I care to remember, my father introduced me to hunting, fishing and trapping. And. without the slightest equivocation, I would assay these blood sport pursuits have had a greater impact on my life than anything else that I have experienced in six plus decades of living.
Considering that these experiences include eighteen years of formal education, two years in the United States Marine Corps and twenty-four years in company with Good Wife, that’s quit an assay.
It may be understandable, therefore, that I have a more than passing interest in the preservation of the blood sports and in writing about the people and events that are shaping the future of these pastimes.
What may not be quit so easy to understand, however, is my seemingly counterintuitive assignment of the strengths and the weaknesses and the opportunities and the threats that either sustain or beleaguer the diverse community of Blood Sporters.
While I do not wish to waste a great many words on the subject of anthropogenic global warming, it serves as a case in point for what follows. Many prominent “sportsmen’s” organization and nearly all “environmental” groups (ah, but I repeat myself) engaged in a crusade to convince their members that this was a real threat. And the checkmate of their argument was, “There is a consensus in the scientific community.”
As is now apparent, however, there isn’t/wasn’t a “consensus.” Why then the concerted effort to make Blood Sporters believe this canard?
It doesn’t require a counterintuitive – or a contrarian’s – leap of faith to discover the answer. As is so often the case, all one had to do was “Follow the money,” and not the paltry pennies spent on industry “shills” who tried to explain the obvious but the huge bundle of bucks provided to and spent by the crusaders to obfuscate the truth.
Now, speaking of bucks …..
A little over ten years ago, the Pennsylvania Game Commission embarked on a new program of deer management that was designed (in the infamous words of Dr. Gary Alt) to achieve “A healthy deer herd and a healthy forest.” To meet this objective, Dr. Alt proposed – excuse me, mandated – a two-prong approach; a drastic reduction in the deer herd, which would benefit the forest, and “antler restrictions” which, ostensibly, would allow mature (genetically superior?) bucks to do a majority of the breeding thereby enhancing the health of the herd.
On a purely intuitive level, Dr. Alt’s proposal/mandate made sense. Deer eat regenerating saplings so if there are fewer deer more saplings would make it to the pole timber stage. Likewise, if there were fewer does to breed and more mature bucks to do the breeding, the health of the overall herd should improve.
On this purely intuitive level, the domino-affect argument that was behind Dr. Alt’s proposal/mandate was not too dissimilar from that put forth by the anthropogenic global warming crusaders. Human use of carbon based fuel adds carbon dioxide to the atmosphere. Carbon dioxide is a green house gas that causes the temperature of the Earth’s surface to rise. Ergo, human use of carbon based fuels is responsible for global warming.
Ironically, the same (admittedly counterintuitive) logic dispels both the argument for anthropogenic global warming and Pennsylvania’s deer management program; a number of very important factors were left out of the equation.
Similar to the “Climategate” expose, in the very near future documentation of the chicanery – and the resultant scientific malfeasance – behind the deer management program will be made available on the World Wide Web. And, similar to the aftermath of the “Climategate” expose, a lot of people will be scrambling to refute the documentation.
This scrambling will, of course, start with an effort to discredit the people who unearthed the documentation and entered it into the public record. And when that doesn’t work, they’ll claim the documents are being taken out of context. Then, when these efforts fail, they’ll enlist their simpaticos (and there are many) in the outdoor press to advocate for their acquittal; Nothing going on here folks, move along.
Unfortunately for those who have engineered and perpetuated this assault on the science of wildlife management, key state senators and representatives have already received - and been briefed on - the documentation that will soon be made available to the public.
Not surprisingly (but also unfortunately), these legislators have responded like the proverbial deer caught in the headlights, waiting to see which way the political winds blow from the release of these documents before they take action.
However, given the controversy that has plagued the deer management program since its inception, it is highly unlikely their inaction will go unnoticed. And if the events that transpired after the “Climategate” documents were made public are any indication, it doesn’t require much counterintuitive logic to know what will happen next.
We’re about to be front row witness to the start of the “Deergate” scramble.