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Tuesday, June 18th, 2024

Breaking News for

Sportsmen Since 1967

Tuesday, June 18th, 2024

Breaking News for

Sportsmen Since 1967

Greg Hoch

Remembering Leopold: In the Midwest, the real black gold is our deep, dark soils

Once upon a time, there was a poor mountaineer named Jed. One day he was out shooting at some food, he obviously missed, and a thick, black crude oil came bubbling up where his bullet hit the ground. Or so the story goes.
In the Midwest, the real black gold is our deep, dark soils. Those prairie soils are dark and black for the same reason that crude oil, coal, or graphite powder is black: They all have a lot of carbon. When we break the prairie, a lot of that carbon is lost in following years.

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Remembering Leopold: Allure of nature is constant change

I know a painting so evanescent that it is seldom viewed at all, except by some wandering deer. It is a river who wields the brush, and it’s the same river who, before I can bring my friends to view his work, erases it forever — Aldo Leopold
Leopold is doing what he does best with this quote from “A Sand County Almanac.” First, he’s writing about a very precise spot, but is (I think?) using this specific case to write about more general topics.

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Remembering Leopold: Understanding the landscape in its entirety has plenty of practical applications for hunters

The objective is to teach the student to see the land, to understand what he sees, and enjoy what he understands. I say land rather than wildlife, because wildlife cannot be understood without understanding the landscape as a whole. — Aldo Leopold, 1942
A person could wander around randomly while looking for pheasants, but knowing the entire landscape should help you figure out where there are higher or lower probabilities of flushing roosters. We can say the same thing about turkeys, grouse, woodcock, or any wildlife species.

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Remembering Leopold: In the outdoors, it’s the learning that we crave

More often than not, it seems the goal of most wildlife is to confuse me. Ducks land 100 yards downwind of the decoys. A deer comes down the trail from behind me instead of in front of me. Turkeys display just over the hill instead of in the field in front of me – which, to my eyes, looks perfect for turkeys.

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Remembering Leopold: There are winners, losers in wildlife management

“It offers a sad commentary on American forestry that this – the heart of the white pine forest – should in a single generation become the abode of the prairie chicken.” — Aldo Leopold
With this statement about the Wisconsin landscape from his “Report on a Game Survey of the North Central States,” Aldo Leopold summarized much of the dynamics of the landscape at the time Americans were moving into the Midwest.

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