Its winter again and the weather has me inside looking out at the dark and cold world. Its the time of year when on quiet nights (and most of them are) I can sit and think and wait for the aurora to show itself. Often I read and occasionally write and frequently I'll ponder. In a somewhat unusual move for me, I did pick up a copy of a sporting magazine the other day in the grocery store. I thought it would make good "light" reading for times when I didn't feel introspective enough to ponder or feel mentally engaged enough for a book. One of the themes I noticed over and over in the magazine was a topic that, for lack of better terminology, I'll call "apologetics". Apologetics is generally used in theological circles more than sporting ones but since the definition is "a defense in an argument or debate of long standing". I believe it will nicely describe the situation.
One of the things I noticed appeared frequently is a discussion of sportsman's dollars being funneled for habitat conservation and funding of state wildlife department's and a calculation of the amount of revenue sporting endeavors have on local economies. It also spoke rather glowingly of hunters being a dominant force for population control and game management activities of all sorts. You all know the arguments. You've read them countless times over and over. Dollars. Game Management. Habitat Management. Not that these things aren't true or that its not even a valid argument in the defense of hunting. Its not that its not important. Its darn important in fact.
But it doesn't move me.
I don't arise early and take my rifle and set off to do my part to manage a herd of wildlife. I don't keep tally in my checkbook of how many dollars I spend (too many!) engaged in hunting and fishing activities so I can figure out on an annual basis what my economic impact might have been. I don't shoot wolves or bears for "predator control" and the notion that I'm a dominant force in regulating game populations frightens me more than just a little.
I don't go afield to do any of these things.