PAnews.com, Port Arthur, Texas

Outdoors

July 20, 2013

Chester Moore column: Hunters rooted in conservation

PORT ARTHUR —  

     Someone asked me why hunters they talk with almost seem antagonistic about nongame animals, especially the endangered ones.   

    This is a great question.

   There truly seems to be a giant divide amongst hunters about endangered animals and anything other than game animals. Hunters for years have touted how we are stewards of all wildlife but there is genuine animosity toward species like wolves in certain portions of the hunting community,

    I think some of it has to do with the political ploy some interests have made of the Endangered Species Act to shut down logging and business practices that has burned many people.

    People who hunt are rightfully nervous about people who will use whatever legal maneuvering they can to take away hunting privileges and property rights.

    There is, however, another side to the story.

    In the last 20 years, we have raised a kill-only, instant gratification generation of hunters who are more worried about getting a cool kill shot for Youtube on their video camera than they are the actual hunting experience.

    It is amazing how limits driven hunters under the age of 40 are and if you venture onto hunting social media, the commentary can be disappointing.

    Our society as a whole has a huge entitlement mentality and this has filtered into hunting as it has everything. Buy a license and you are entitled to shooting a limit, giant buck, etc.

    It does not help that we are raising a generation who have played hundreds of hours of hunting and shooting video games where gratification in instant, the racks are always big and there is always an opportunity to shoot a full limit of ducks.

    Add to that hunting television programs that are based on one-upping one another to the point seeing a record class buck taken on television is no big deal.

    These are all factors in the equation and my concern is we may loose the heritage of conservation that birthed modern sport hunting.

    The sum total of hunting efforts makes a positive impact economically and biologically in most cases no matter the intentions of the hunters but we have to start asking who will be the future members of Ducks Unlimited (DU) the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation (RMEF), Safari Club International (SCI) and other hunting-based groups with conservation missions.

    There will always be leaders in every generation who rise to the top and hopefully this one has people to follow them. If we are going to say hunting benefits not only game animals (as the industry has for years) it has to come from a place of sincerity and there is plenty of room for that.

     After all, hunters pushed state fish and game departments to enact bag limits on game animals.

    Hunters lobbied for excise taxes on sporting goods to go toward wildlife conservation.

    Hunters have saved millions of acres of wetlands through DU and Delta Waterfowl and have helped untold numbers of big game animal populations grow through groups like RMEF and SCI.

    Hunters are the visionaries in the conservation movement around the world but we have to take an honest look at the world we live in and start emphasizing the experience of the hunt and teach the future (and present) young hunters to respect all of the creatures they see in the field.

    In the current climate, all it would take is about three years of drought in the prairie pothole duck nesting region and the corresponding cut in bag limits and seasons to lose a gigantic proportion of young duck hunters. We have had liberal season and bags for so long many would not have a clue what to do if they could only take three birds.

    We need to raise up a generation of hunters who are in it for the long haul and realize it is just as much a blessing to see an eagle flying in the sky while lying in the field to hunt geese as it is shooting specklebellies.

    And we need to let our kids come up shooting does and spikes to work their way up the hunting ladder instead of pushing a trophy hunting mentality on them before they enter kindergarten.

    We are blessed to have many good, conscientious hunters in our region who instill these kinds of values and their children and grandchildren will be the future leaders in the hunting industry.

    Let us hope they have millions to follow them to restore a deeper respect for the resources and stand proudly for our heritage of conservation.

(To contact Chester Moore, e-mail him at cmooreoutdoors@gmail.com. You can hear him on “Moore Outdoors” Fridays from 6-7 p.m. on Newstalk AM 560 KLVI.)   

 

 

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Outdoors
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     Summer is one of the best times to seek catfish in Southeast Texas and thankfully, for local anglers without a boat, there are catfish in just about every canal, drainage ditch and bayou in the area.
      Fishing from the bank has its disadvantages but there is a way around it. This involves making the fish come to you.
      European catfish and carp anglers who typically fish exclusively from the bank use a system called “ground baiting,” which involves putting chum out with the bait. They attach a small cylindrical device above their swivel, which holds chum and dispenses it as the water rushes by. The problem is these rigs are not readily available in our marketplace.
      However, with a little ingenuity, taking a 35-millimeter film canister, punching a hole in the bottom and on the lid and then punching more holes along the side can make a similar device. This acts as a perfect chumming device and is very inexpensive.
      Not everyone has film canisters these days so the softer plastic aspirin bottles will also get the job done.
      Rig this above your swivel and weight, and then fill it with your favorite chum. Now you will not only be chumming the area you fish in but also bringing fish directly to your bait.
      Any kind of chum will work, but a mixture I have had some success with was menhaden oil (available through many mail order offshore supply catalogs) mixed with soured milo. The oil creates a huge chum slick and when it mixes with the milo, the smell is almost unbearable, which means catfish love it. The best part is that a little bit goes a long way.
     Something else to consider is using jack mackerel as bait.
     This oily fish is available in larger supermarkets in a can for less than $1, and I can attest it will bring in fish. While fishing in the Gulf of Mexico and tagging sharks for the Mote Marine Laboratory, my partners and I were able to chum in and catch nearly 40 sharks while using less than two cans of the stuff. It is oily and stinks to high heaven, so catfish should love it.
      For anglers interested in using film canisters to chum their bait, something else to consider is the use of a popping cork. Even if your bait is on the bottom, you can rig a popping cork above it and attach a baited film canister below. This will allow you to do some extra chumming and use the cork to “pop” the chum out whenever you want to release more.
     Another great tip for land bound anglers is to use braided line. In talking with several anglers who pursue brackish blues from the bank, I have learned that loosing striking fish can be a problem.
      I am not sure as to the reason but a definitely solution is using a braided line because they have no stretch. When making long casts with monofilament from the bank you have the potential for lots of line stretch when can make a poor hookset.
     Sixty yards of line might have five or six feet of stretch and that is plenty for a big blue to undo. When using a braid like Fireline, Gorilla Braid or Spiderwire you can forego these problems and greatly enhance your chances of putting some catfish in the frying pan.
     (To contact Chester Moore, e-mail him at cmooreoutdoors@gmail.com. You can hear him on the radio Fridays from 6-7 p.m. on “Moore Outdoors” on Newstalk AM 560 KLVI or online at www.klvi.com and watch him Saturdays on GETV.org on “God’s Outdoors with Chester Moore”.)
     

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