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Global Warming And Its Effect On Wildlife

There seems to be a buzz in the outdoor industry regarding global warming. Recently, I read a piece about the effects that global warming has had on different species of wildlife. This got me thinking about our little corner of New York state.

Often we hear of things that are happening throughout the world but they never seem to hit home or affect us in our backyard. But like my Grandpa Robbins always said, “the world is a crazy place, if you let it get to ya.” I would like to take that statement one step further, and add “while what happens in the world may not affect today, it will affect the future.”

For local sportsmen, it doesn’t take a report to prove the fact that migratory birds such as ducks are changing their flight patterns. With the change in flight patterns and what is called “longer layover time”— which happens when migratory birds move south — they are finding particular areas hold more food than they used to, while other more traditional areas don’t have the food sources that they used to have. This has shown a shift in migration patterns. This, along with nesting areas in Canada changing, has affected the local huntable duck population.

While we don’t like to consider the change that one species has on another, it does happen. With fewer ducks, we see fewer predators that need ducks to survive. This is part of the finely tuned cycle of life that we like to call Mother Nature.

How many times have we seen locally when the spring turkey season is all messed up because of weather? This past spring was a good example of an early breeding season and hence harvest numbers where down. Team that up with a wet spring, which washes away turkey nests, the hatch is affected.

From local farmers struggling to make it in a difficult business of the economy, our hunting is affected and we have to attempt to these changes. When a local family farm is only planting half the fields with corn, alpha or oats, the local wildlife we pursue is going to be affected.

Now we can dig into this topic at more depth, but it can be depressing. This past week I ran to into a longtime sportsman who loves to spend time in an archery stand. It takes long time for the topic to turn to how hunting has changed over the past 25 years. The big change he felt was access. Not having land to hunt is affecting every sportsman that purchases a license. Having ground to cover is important to all our success.

The days of having our piece of heaven on earth are not as common as they used to be, often there are other hunters sharing the same piece of property that we once enjoyed to ourselves. This is a fact and it’s one that we all must learn to live with and do it with dignity. Working together will produce not only better hunting but possibly a friendship that could last a lifetime.

Working with what we have to work with can produce benefits if done properly. The key is flexibility. It’s important not be that old dog that can’t learn new tricks. Hunting is changing, whether it is from the affects of a warmer climate that we have little control over to lack of hunting ground, we must make the best of it.

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