January 27, 2023

That Dad Gum Dumb Hunter

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Hunters are profiled by outsiders everyday. We are thought of as dumb, evil, killers, poor…..well, you know what? You fill in the blank. I’m sure you’re good at it. Heck, I am. I’m being honest so you might as well. Profiling has saved our lives many times over.

Everyone has an opinion too. Some have too much opinion and I may be one of them but I guess if I’m going to continue paying for my slot of space on the World Wide Web, I’ll continue being opinionated. It keeps me from driving my wife crazy as well.

When it comes to the management of wildlife there are more opinions, theories and experiential knowledge and science than has ever been recorded in any amount of books. We are all good at expressing what we know to be fact and there are so many dang “experts” on the topics that, well, it just becomes really difficult to know who to believe.

Take the brand new controversy – don’t you love controversies? – out in the John Denver State. You know, that Colorado Rocky Mountain high place. In Rocky Mountain National Park they got an overpopulation of elk and they want to get rid of a whole bunch of them.

This proposal that has gone out for public comment, as if that really matters, is recent and so the debate has, as the late Karen Carpenter would have sung, “….only just begun”. But the opinions, facts and closet scientists and experts are showing up everywhere. There’s more of them then there are elk. Oh, hey! New thought. Let’s give them all an elk to take home…..forget it. It’s fun to read the opinion pieces and chuckle, as I know people do when they read mine. Besides, I have a right! Ha!

I get confused easily and I’m sure to most of these “experts” that are weighing in on what’s the right thing to do in RMNP, they would classify me as one of them “Dad gum dumb hunters”. I surmised that by reading some of the comments as the debate is beginning to rage. If you don’t have “credentials” don’t enter the conversation because, well, you’re just too dang dumb to offer anything any of them want to hear.

I am far from an expert on anything, except maybe spending too much time pounding on a keyboard that at times appears a futile effort. But, I do know one or two things. One thing I know is I can read and I can add (is that two things?) – provided the numbers don’t get too big. I also know when I’m presented with a contradiction provided I can understand the language it is written or spoken in. (crud! Now I think I know three things. TIme for a raise).

One the one hand you have a completely qualified expert who will tell you that (I’ll try to use layman’s terms because I’m dumb) a chunk of land can only feed so many critters. If there’s too many critters, they’re going to eat too much of the land up. That’s simple enough. Now what happens is what do we do? Well, in my ignorant way, I see two options. Make more food or get rid of some critters.

We have brilliant scientists who say that culling – that’s a kind way of saying killing – a herd of critters only makes them same critters get upset and start making more babies to make up for the ones we just killed. Makes sense to me, I guess.

We have brilliant scientists who say that ain’t so. They say that if animals got enough to eat and everything kind of stays normal for them, they’ll populate like crazy. All I know is this is just a big contradiction. Who you going to believe?

We have brilliant scientists, with credentials too, who say wolves can be brought in to control elk herd numbers. We have brilliant scientists, with credentials too, who say wolves won’t have an affect on the elk herd. Correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t that another contradiction?

Wouldn’t it work just as well to capture a few of the elk and inject them with some fatal disease, something highly contagious? We can’t wait too long. We will have succeeded in reducing the population that’s for sure and yes, we have another problem on our hands – too many wolves….er, um, I mean a disease to stop. Same thing but what do I know.

My daddy was a dad gum dumb hunter who never said much but when he spoke you better be listening. One day I remember asking him how he decided who he was going to vote for. He said, “That’s easy. I take a quick look around, then I check the contents of my wallet.”

Dumb hunters look around and check the contents of their hunting grounds. They know when things change and they got a pretty good idea what’s causing the changes too. I don’t know how they know this. Many of them never been to college and never read up on wolves and elk, deer and turkeys. But somehow they know.

It’s not a complicated manuever on their part and usually they don’t spout off about it in the newspapers, magazines or on TV. They just know. They’re out there a lot more than most scientists and them educated sort need to listen. The problem in RMNP isn’t a complicated matter at all. Just ask them dad gum dumb hunters. They could remedy that problem quickly and wouldn’t cost anything. But what do they know?

When you’re profiled into the ranks of “that dad gum dumb hunter” you’re down near the bottom of the food chain. You got to have credentials, money and connections, then maybe someone will listen.

Like me, for example. I don’t know squat but if I can stay at this long enough, I know I can convince enough people that I do know something. I can call myself an expert because, well, I am. And I do know that if it’s written down somewhere, it’s the truth. (Oh dang it!! I think that means there’s something else I know. I lied when I said I only knew two things. I knew that would cause trouble. Oh, no! I’ve done it again) THE END.

Tom Remington