November 15, 2018

Return to a “Savage” State

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The below article has been sent for publication in the local newspaper, The Bethel Citizen.

James Beers, a former U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service employee who spent considerable time in Washington, D.C., who became a whistleblower discovering as much as $60 million was stolen from Pittman-Robertson Federal Excise taxes to be used for reintroducing wolves to the Northern Rockies and other illegal activities, recently said that if we are not willing to put a stop to the current “Ecological Theory” that places man as equal to or lesser than that of plants and animals and “spiritual rewilding” our forests and plains, this lack of action will “…return all of us eventually into a “savage state.”

The definition of “civilize” is “to bring out of a savage state.” As our civilization advanced from what some have perceived as uncontrolled slaughter of many of our wild animals and destruction of the habitat that confronted the settlers, through responsible wildlife management which led to developing an understanding of the cooperation of both consumption and conservation, establishing the North American Model of Wildlife Management, we are now moving in a direction that is calling for a hands-off approach to plant and animal management; establishing wilderness and predator protection based somewhat on the belief that Nature produces a preferred outcome.

If the land was in a “natural” state when we found it, i.e. “savage state,” working to restore it to what it once was, or what we think it once was, surely must be a return to an uncivilized, savage state.

We have and are being misled that leaving things up to Nature, will provide for a stabilization of animal and plant existence, i.e. that Nature achieves a “balance” where everything is Nirvana. My very good friend, Dr. Valerius Giest, a professor emeritus at the University of Calgary, says that the Utopian belief in nature, free from the hands of man, achieving balance is “intellectual rubbish.” Life consists of constant negative and positive feedback loops where everything is in constant change.

Leaving it to Nature will yield what Nature has to offer. Reality shows us that Nature’s results are not what most of us prefer. We prefer control and manipulation to achieve healthy plants and wildlife as best possible, while at the same time continuing to provide an opportunity for that long-held, civilized existence of regulated hunting, trapping, and fishing.

If we prefer a healthy existence for our wildlife, someone has to manage and control it. Nature will not, contrary to what some believe, give us what we want in this civilized society. Taking from the resource in a responsible, scientific approach is a cooperation that undertakes the task of managing wildlife for a healthy bounty and providing opportunities for those who wish to take sustenance from that resource. It’s a win-win.

It seems with each passing year, the grumbles and groans get louder and louder of the need to end hunting, fishing, and trapping. As it currently stands, we exist in a back scratching situation where licensed hunters, fishers, and trappers pay the costs of wildlife management in return for an opportunity to reap the rewards of taking from the resource. To deny that privilege, thinking wildlife will manage itself is wrong thinking. To steal it away with a belief that wildlife will control itself is uncivilized, returning us eventually to the previous savage state.

The next time you see a hunter, trapper, or fisherman, thank them for providing the means of responsible conservation so that all of us can enjoy a healthy wildlife.

 

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