Having the "Conservation Conversation"
My 12-year-old daughter Jordyn has always been my animal lover. Unlike most of her friends who only a few years ago reveled in all things Hannah Montana, Jordyn’s hero was Bindi Irwin, daughter of the late “Croc Hunter” Steve Irwin, who was of course known for saving wildlife. Honestly, in a home where the walls are donned with skulls, antlers, fur, and wings, I’m not sure where or how Jordyn acquired her way of thinking.
One afternoon, when Jordyn was about eight, I had my bow in my hand, ready to head out to the deer woods. She was in her bedroom “rocking out” to one of her “Bindi and the Crocmen” soundtracks when she popped her little blond head out, put her hands on her hips, looked me straight in the eye and sang, “Mankind is not so kind at all!”
That was it. I would never force my kids to hunt, but it was time to have a conservation conversation. Basically, I explained that there are different ways in preserving different species throughout the world. Those which are on the brink of extinction need extra care to keep them from being gone forever.
On the flip side, I discussed how problematic overpopulation can be for us AND the animals we love and enjoy. Surprisingly, she seemed to actually listen while I explained the important role that hunters play in helping to ensure that animals like the whitetail deer are around for a long time.
Although unsure of where that memory came from, it reminded me about not only the vital impact hunters make on the deer herds, but the vital impact those same deer herds have on all mankind.
Sometimes we get caught up in the exciting world of antlers. It’s about tall tines, inside measurements, and terms like, “scoring on the hoof.” Last year, food banks in Illinois were sending out press releases that they were in need of meat donations. Specifically, due to the lack of venison they’ve come to count on from hunters has greatly declined.
Let’s all do our part in aiding to “Sportsmen Against Hunger.” It helps keep that doe to buck ratio in check, but more importantly feeds hungry people in the process!