Preserves: Last Bastion or First Line?

May 12, 2011 | By | Reply More

Recently Field & Stream and Quail Forever blogger Chad Love wrote a fascinating post about training a dog to hunt bird preserves. You might think your field-trained dog would be all that and a bag of chips at a preserve, and you may be right when it comes to bird-finding – but there’s more to it than that. Definitely read the post.

Soon after that, Chad posted “What If Preserve Bird Hunting Is the Future for All of Us?” – basically about the question of dwindling bird habitat. We’d argue that it’s actually more about participation (lack thereof) than available birds, but we’ll leave that for a future time at a bar of Chad’s choosing….

While that certainly is one perspective – that preserves may be the last bastion of bird-hunting in the future – another is summed up in a recent article in a PA paper. Excerpts:

Mike Martz, who operates Martz’s Gap View Pheasant Preserve, a third-generation family business near Dalmatia, said opposition to pheasant preserves has existed since his grandfather started the business. More recently, organizations such as HSUS have taken their opposition an additional step.

“To hear some of the animal-rights people, we’re shooting birds in cages or bags on pheasant preserves,” Martz said. “Now, these organizations are even opposed to pheasant stocking by state agencies, including those by the Pennsylvania Game Commission.

“When someone in my position says something like this, there are going to be some who suspect it’s because I have a vested interest, but all of these goals are on the websites of the various groups. I remember my dad telling me that more than 20 years ago these organizations were trying to organize voters to outlaw all forms of hunting, and that banning live bird shoots was just a first step.”

In 1990, HSUS president and CEO Wayne Pacelle said in a national interview that was published in “Full Cry” magazine that his organization’s goal was “to use the ballot box and the democratic process to stop all hunting in the United States.” He went on to say, “We will take it species by species until all hunting is stopped in California. Then we will take it state by state.”

A year later, Pacelle told The Associated Press, “If we could shut down all sport hunting in a moment, we would. Waterfowl, pheasant and dove hunting are no more than shooting at living targets.”

While preserves have a place, maybe even a growing one, in bird hunting, we don’t think they’ll be the last bastion. More like the first line of defense…if Pacelle and his fellow out-of-touch ninnies succeed.

Category: Preserves/game farms

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