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Wilderness can be created/saved near your home.

Two Greater Canada Geese held by a proud sustaining/saluting/sustenance hunter (James A. Schneider) in a giant stubblefield. Was the field in Alberta, Montana, Nebraska, or Iowa far from city bustle? NO----this is a December 2004 Canada Goose hunt in Wisconsin, just east of Milwaukee, two (2) miles north of Interstate 94 and 500 yards west of U.S. Highway 83. This view to the north featured thirty (30) wild eastern turkeys over the hunter's left shoulder near the woods about thirty (30) minutes earlier. A view to the east would show a busy highway with morning commuters passing in the front of fast-food outlets, commercial enterprises, and homes just across the road.

The eleven (11) pound Greater Canada Goose in James A. Schneider's left hand is mounted in flight as if about to land into the decoys at MāHUNT's museum at 5906 Main St., McFarland, WI. This lone goose was harvested with one immediately dispatching shot as it skirted the decoys to the right. Visits to MāHUNT's physical museum can be arranged at a mutually agreeable time by contacting (608) 838-4789 or (415) 435-1099. This mounted Greater Canada Goose is not a "trophy"----a word that should be avoided and shunned by all sustaining/saluting/sustenance hunters.

Rather the mount is a "salute" or "tribute" to the wildness of Greater Canada Geese, especially this one. Trophy focuses too much on the hunter and "something gained or given in victory or conquest, especially when preserved or mounted as a memorial". Salute or tribute emphasizes the wildness and the esteemed status of animals/birds to humble thankful hunters. Salute directs others to the "sign, token....expressing goodwill....or respect/honor" for the specific wild creature and its species/environment/habitat while noting the importance of hunters/hunting in the Sacrament of the Balance of Nature and Nature's Truths. Tribute means "something that indicates the worth, virtue, or effectiveness of the one in question", not its other meaning "payment in acknowledgement of submission or price of protection."

Salutes and tributes of today are saved in special places or worn for similar reasons as the Indian grizzly bear claw necklace acquired by Lewis and Clark during their fabled exploration of the American West. As the curator of the Peabody Museum (where it is displayed) at Harvard University states:

“These bear claw necklaces were precious things, generally worn by
warriors who had killed those bears to fulfill a dream or mission of
becoming an ally of the bears or achieving the power of bears,”

May all licensed ethical hunters be recognized as “an ally”, perhaps the best ally of the wild creatures that they hunt and especially those that they salute/memorialize.

Private landowners that cherish the land/farming/wildness even as the encroaching suburban sprawl skyrockets the value of that dirt must be lauded and encouraged to preserve that past, while hunters and non-hunters relish the wildness of the creatures that depend on that habitat. Free admittance is best for preserving the heritage of hunting for all, but farmers and ranchers know that wildlife must "pay to stay". The Greater Canada Geese featured here are collecting waste grain (like the wild turkeys) during December which actually helps the farmer since the geese fertilize the land after removing kernels that may sprout and compete with next year's crop. During the rest of the year, however, they reduce the farmer's harvest by dining on the seed/kernels and sprouts before they have delivered their harvest. Those crops are not free. Someone must pay for them. That means that guides or hunters that pay access fees to enter the land for hunting help preserve agricultural areas that provide habitat for sustenance birds as well as not-hunted birds.

The term game bird (“wild birds hunted for sport or food”) or game should be shunned and avoided by hunters. Licensed ethical hunting is not a mere game or sport (“an activity engaged in for diversion or amusement: play”----“a struggle in which opposing interests seek to maximize their wins and minimize their loses” or a “source of recreation”). It is also not a pastime (“diversion, something that amuses and serves to make time pass agreeably”). Rather, licensed ethical hunting directly partakes in Nature’s Sacrament transcending vacuous voyeurs to guiding guardians. Hunting in wildness is spiritual, dignified, and healthful, just as John Muir professed about being in Nature, mountains, and wilderness. These birds or animals should be called “wild sustenance birds”, “wild sustenance”, or preferably “wild stays”.

Lloyd A. Schneider (November 11, l918 - January 25, 1998) indelibly imbued his offspring to never waste anything, especially every useable portion from what he termed “god sends”. Having flourished in the depression and financed his university and law school education from trapping muskrats, mink, skunks, and opossum near MāHUNT Dunn #3 and Hook Lake, god sends to him encompassed legally huntable/trapable birds and animals (denigrated by being termed wild game), legally catchable and seineable fish, reptiles, or water dwelling creatures, and legally harvestable plants/fungi sent/provided by Nature. God sends to him were necessities to a healthy, spiritual, wholesome sustenance that were sent/available from Nature’s Balance without the hand of mankind’s assistance or endeavors. He respected Nature’s Balance by garnering them through clever, well planned, expert hunting, trapping, fishing or gathering. Wetlands, woods, lakes, streams, rivers, weedy field edges, fence lines, and autumn migrations were abundant and Nature’s blessing. Mankind did not enhance/augment/or facilitate them!

Unfortunately, mankind could destroy them by draining, cutting/clearing, polluting, diverting, spraying and creating artificial feeding stations farther north than Nature’s Balance had provided------and often did in whole or in part especially beginning during the Depression when man began “reclaiming the land”. Wild stays leads with Nature’s sending of sustenance, but underscores homo sapiens’ critical role in preserving wetlands, woods, lakes, streams, rivers, weedy field edges and fence rows and autumn migrations and then enhancing/improving on Nature’s provisions as depleted by homo sapiens’ domination/domestication of the wild. Wild stays recognizes that these wild fauna/flora must pay to stay and they only stay, because guiding guardians facilitate/allow them to stay. Someone must forfeit development or cultivation or be paid to leave land wild so wild stays flourish/stay or learn to live release wild stays when mankind’s subsistence/sustenance affords. The live release of trout (far better terminology than “the catch-and-release of trout” which focuses on the fisherman’s accomplishment and not the wild trout’s majesty), muskies, bass and passing up a shot at a small whitetail buck require renaissance reconsiderations which Lloyd A. Schneider incorporated after much rational wrestling.

“Wild game” demeans both the creature and the pinnacle importance to the legal ethical hunter of these sustaining creatures. Wild game implies that hunting, fishing, and trapping are a mere recreation or entertaining sport with certain rules to equal the chances of either side to prevail, unlike the Noble Sport of Native Americans who stampeded buffalo off a nearby cliff like at Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump in Alberta, Canada. Sustaining hunters need to adopt a new phrase that accents both the wild aspect (owing to Nature or spirit), but which elevates the creature’s existence (sustained only because homo sapiens allow them to stay) and harvest (does this allude to home sapiens’ cultivation and the change from hunting/gathering?) to paramount status that maintains homo sapiens’ wildness. Wild game shall be banished by “wild stays”.

Enhancements to habitat recognize/ameliorate home sapiens’ heavy working hand on the landscape. When Lloyd A. Schneider trapped during the Depression, raccoons were rare and therefore not bothersome predators to treehole nesting woodducks, which were completely protected starting in 1918. With increased human-provided forage for raccoons, and dramatically diminished hound hunting and trapping of raccoons, woodduck nesting success plummeted and hen predation (while on the nest) skyrocketed. Starting in the early 1940's sustaining hunters learned to construct crude woodduck nest boxes that have scientifically progressed (on top of a six (6) foot metal pole with a dunce cap shaped metal funnel below the box to stop predation) with a tiny entry hole (to foreclose larger creatures from using or entering the nest) facing southeast to avoid snow and rain in the nest and away from overhanging branches used by harassing squirrels and raccoons, a wire ladder along the inside of the nest box that leads up to the tiny hole from a bed of clean wood shavings so the young down covered recently hatched wood ducklings can “jump” to the ground and scurry to the safety under a branch or over hanging vegetation filled (predator challenging provided by sustaining hunters where legal) water. Each new brood of woodducks are wild (home sapiens’ better nest did not diminish this) and they stay wild so long as some homo sapiens pay for their room and board and do yearly spring cleaning.

Like the Greater Canada goose in James A. Schneider’s right hand “wild sustenance birds”, “wild sustenance” or “wild stays” must be treated with respect and dignity by:

1) saving/eating as much heart-healthy meat (including gizzard, heart, liver, and even the feet for adding to soups for gelatin which strengthens bones and builds collagen) that is Omega-3 filled, and sans antibiotics and growth hormones. Wild meat also helps diversify the type of meat consumed during a month as recommended by Narayan de Vera, M.D. in the October/December issue 2004 “Health Freedom News”.

2) plucking and saving as many feathers as possible. The wing tips of wild geese make great whisk brooms particularly adroit at cleaning corners. Wild pheasant, turkey, and ruffed grouse tail feathers constitute superb salutes to wildness and licensed ethical hunting when given to children and non-hunters in airports when traveling. Those long colorful spectacular feathers when given to a young inquisitive/fascinated child with the message to the parents of “Remember this was brought to you by an ethical hunter.” can change the attitude towards hunting and hunters one lover of the outdoors at a time. All the body feathers of wild turkeys should be saved and sent to aboriginal tribes like the Zuni who utilize them for prayer sticks since the wild turkey is believed to carry their messages and spirits to a higher plane.

3) ceremoniously giving thanks for Nature’s bounty and its tangible and metaphysical healthful benefits when consumed, and

4) dividending to wild places to restore/enhance habitat through monetary or hourly labor.

The childhood adage that:

“Sticks and stones
can break my bones,
but words can never hurt me.”


Some proofs include:

        Jungles are fearsome. Who would save them? Rainforests garner massive contributions.
  Swamps/Marshes were drained/filled in. Wetlands are saved for habitat/water quality.
  Mongolian desert rats reeked abhorrence. Gerbils evoked cute pets.
  Toothed grouper seem despicable/unhealthy. Chilean Sea Bass denotes elegant cuisine.
  Carp sound inedible. Gefilte fish is a sacred specialty.
  Used cars could be unsafe. Pre-owned autos have value.
  Weapons are utilized by criminals. Firearms are a hunter’s tool.
  Meat hunters may lack scruples. Sustenance hunters value their healthy diet.
  Trophy hunters conceit is lambasted. Saluting hunters revere/support wildlife.
  Trophy hunters’ money excludes many. Sustaining hunters preserve wildlife/habitat.

 There are now three types of hunters:

  1. Subsistence hunters
  2. Sustenance hunters
  3. Saluting/Sustaining hunters

Subsistence hunters evoke aboriginal sentinels of the wild both past and present. The Plains Indians’ masterful technique of burning the prairie and herding/stampeding massive numbers of bison over the edge of a one hundred (100) foot cliff (buffalo jump) to the blood spattering, bone splitting, head mangling jagged boulders below is romantically recalled by most environmentalists as necessary regeneration of the grasses and humans and certainly not cruel. The Aleuts' gathering of sea ducks, other birds and their eggs and hunting of seals to “live off the land” on the “minimum necessary to support life” is lauded by environmentalists to preserve these sentinels of pristine nature that protect the Pribilof Islands (one of the earth’s most diverse and delicate wildlife habitats known as the Galapagos of the North) in Alaska from exotic invaders like Norway rats by trapping them.

Subsistence hunters of caribou in the North Slope of Alaska were paraded in Washington, D.C. as irreplaceable (by environmentalists who despise all other hunting) to stop oil drilling in ANWR since those hunters’ primordial connection with the caribou herds there might be threatened, as well as their bowhead whale and seal hunts and trapping of martens.. If consuming wild meat that you hunted is critical to you and your family’s “minimum necessary to support life” both physically and spiritually, you need to call yourself a subsistence hunter and garner support for your evolved outdoor pursuits from environmentalists.

Sustenance hunters seek meat through licensed ethical hunting for “support, maintenance, nourishment, or subsistence”. Like the subsistence hunters listed above, that meat may provide the “minimum necessary to support life” either tangibly or spiritually, since many sustenance hunters have alternative food sources from agriculture and domestic animals. Such alternative sources, however, many not be as healthful (containing antibiotics or growth hormones or lacking Omega-3 fatty acids, which according to the March 22, 2005 NY Times “appears to protect against brain deterioration…and even prevent Alzheimer’s disease”), diverse, environmentally friendly, or provide spiritual/metaphysical connections with the land that nourished our predecessors.

Sustenance hunters clean/prepare their sustenance birds/animals with far more care than most commercial enterprises. They humbly consume with respect, reverence and thankfulness as much and as many parts of (and do not waste any) the wild stays that they harvest. They do not shoot sustenance birds/animals that are not cherished by their palate or if they do they give them as gifts to non-hunters who do relish such fare.

Even “PETA doesn’t oppose sustenance hunting” according to the May 8, 2001 Wall Street Journal.

Saluting/Sustaining Hunters

Saluting/Sustaining hunters spend their money, expend their effort, and focus their time afield to increase/improve the habitat/propagation of wild stays/ huntable birds/animals by replenishing Nature’s Balance. Their targeted endeavors also foster the abundance of non-huntable species, while legally and ethically reducing predator non-balanced proliferation and predation of “wild stays”.

Animals need to pay to stay!

When a farmer plants each field to the fenceline, sprays the field and fenceline to eliminate weed/brush cover, drains each wet spot or wetland on his land, or cuts the trees/woods for timber, pulp, or to create more crop/pasture land, wild stays and their habitat are depleted. When a family purchases a two (2) acre plot on the wooded knoll (unfarmable) in the back (wildest part) of a farmer’s land to a build a home overlooking a wetland/lake, Nature’s solitude where wild stays prosper is squelched.

When vegetarians/vegans dine on their vegetables, leafy greens, corn, wheat, or drink wine they probably do not realize that they hire (voluntarily) hitmen to snuff (harm them seriously) bambi, wild turkeys, wild pigs, bears, and mountain lions, since these crops cannot be produced at an acceptable price without such reduction in competitive consumption. High or electrified fences and/or nets to keep deer/wild turkeys/bears/mountain lions out would be prohibitive. In our legal system, one who hires the assassin is equally culpable and punishable as the assassin.

“Vegetarians’/vegans’ urban fantasy of a karmically pure/clean vegetarian “organic” diet ignores the reality that the slaughterhouse provides the essence to these fares. Organic farmers use animal manure, blood meal, and crushed bone to fertilize these fields for the nutrients. Someone had these creatures raised for slaughter----they did not come from road kill.

Why is road kill utilization incorrectly considered a pure endeavor? Is it the supposed accidental/unintended nature of the kill or just the failure to recognize the probable ramifications of society’s chosen (whether necessary or for mere pleasure) endeavors? Is road kill from a pleasure trip unusable, but if from a ride to your job or the grocery market karmically acceptable? States which make the utilization of documented road kill a crime/offense mistakenly worry more about possible poaching than the massive wasting of valuable wild stays.

Vegetarians/vegans also kill wild animals/birds when the wood they use to build their homes is harvested and destroys wild habitat, when the gold in their watch or jewelry is extracted from the ground and wetlands are destroyed and twice as much mercury is discharged into the air as is by coal-fired power plants. Vegetarians/vegans kill thousands of song birds each year when they use electricity generated from large windmills that pulverize, when they listen to TV or radio broadcast from elevated towers with lethal guy wires, or buy anything from corporations who rent/own tall buildings that leave the lights on during migrations that attract crashes into their windows. Vegetarians/vegans also hunt wild stays with their SUV’s and cars as they voluntarily drive through the countryside. The Defenders of Wildlife (“The New York Times–September 14, 2004) “claim that one million animals are killed by automobiles every day” in the United States.

Saluting/Sustaining hunters do (aware caring non-hunters and vegetarians/vegans should) contribute money/time to improve habitat, save, and protect wild places so that more animals/birds flourish than are voluntarily killed by their passionate concerned or everyday living.

Economically self-interested users of the land (like farmers) are stewards of the land when it profits them. When farmers see their valuable crops eaten by elk, attacked by antelope, devastated by deer, gulped by geese, devoured by ducks and feasted upon by pheasants, they allow unlimited hunting to cut the cost of Nature. Who has and will pay them to preserve their wildest acreage, share their land’s bounty with wild creatures, repulse urban invaders, and view wild stays as valuable assets like their domesticated animals and crops?

Saluting/Sustaining Hunters!

Saluting/Sustaining hunters have:

  1. raised over $10,000,000,000 to purchase over 4,000,000 of acres of wetlands to be preserved/protected and paid to manage another 40,000,000 acres of land to provide habitat/shelter for more non-hunted birds/animals than hunted species/wild stays through the 1937 voluntary excise tax on hunting accessories (over $203,000,000 per recent year),
  2. raised over $450,000,000 per year to fund law enforcement, research into huntable bird/animal/habitat management, and habitat/land acquisitions or preservation through easements from purchases of Federal Migratory Bird Stamps ($670,000,000 since 1934 to purchase or lease 5,200,000 acres) and State Migratory Birds Stamps and hunting/trapping licenses,
  3. included a Nobel Peace Prize winner----President Theodore Roosevelt. Beyond many of his mounts of wild animals educating young adults at the Smithsonian about the value of preserving wild places, his high regard for huntable large mammals led to the creation of our National Park System (he established five (5) plus eighteen (18) national monuments during his Presidency). He also founded the National Wildlife Refuge System (51 units during his Presidency) with nearly 70% of its 93 million acres of today funded by saluting/sustaining hunters’ contributions.
  4. purchased fund raising hunting permits offered by many western states, which when combined with federal funds, have allowed states to transplant animals like desert bighorn sheep in Arizona from areas of high population to vacant historical habitat----nearly one- half of Arizona’s present wild sheep population is the result of transplants.
  5. leased or purchased farmland/wetlands to offset the costs of leaving them wild for the right to trespass/hunt as individuals or groups, and
  6. created and funded MāHUNT, which has purchased wild properties/habitat, enhanced its habitat, and made them available free for up to two members of the public per property at one time.

Money matters, but time tends. Yes, the Federal and State governments with their departments of natural resources can purchase woods/wetlands/prairie for public entry, but if the habitat is not tended the effort is hollow. Without tending, weeds woefully overrun the fields so edges (wildlife havens) are eradicated and food sources minimized, old oaks are not felled so their hollow centers attract woodduck hens for nests that are easily attacked by squirrels and raccoons which break the eggs and kill the hen, and minimal crops from grains to acorns are produced/enhanced to feed wild stays through frigid famine.

Saluting/Sustaining hunters (like through MāHUNT) pay farmers to expand the unplanted fencelines from 2 inches to 30 or 60 feet to provide nesting cover, travel corridors, resting shelter near forage, and predator barriers. They assemble woodduck nest boxes on top of six (6) foot metal poles with dunce cap shaped metal impeders that keep raccoons and squirrels away, position them near water (preferably with brushy edges—natural or where legal provided by saluting/sustaining hunters) with their entry holes faced southeast to minimize snow/rain in the nest and away from overhanging branches (negating squirrel and bird harassment) with a direct open flight path to the nest hole for the incoming hen, check the nests each late winter to clear the debris and replenish the sawdust for a welcoming prolific nest. Similar nest boxes on poles are placed for mallards and other ducks and experimentally for pheasants.

Saluting/Sustaining hunters (again like through MāHUNT) plant trees like long-lived oaks that provide habitat and forage, fertilize portions of oak woods to enhance acorn annual production consistency and yield, plant food plots along portions of some fencelines and in drainage or wash areas of fields, verify that farmers leave a portion of their crops (preferably in the middle of fields as far distant from tall dead trees (raptors favorite winter killing perches) to not be harvested until spring), and minimize soil erosion by implementing no till spring planting.

Saluting/Sustaining hunters focus in the field by learning to:

1) Take the Drake—Since one drake mallard, woodduck, canvasback, or pintail can propagate up to thirty hens successfully each spring, harvesting drake migratory birds sustains the overall population of huntable migratory birds while affording ample harvest. Although greenhead mallard drakes are easily distinguishable from their drab hen companions, a sustaining hunter’s focus/skill/challenge to take only the drake among pintails, canvasbacks, and woodducks especially in the earliest dim legal shooting hours displays their effort to cherish wild stays and their sustainability over immediate harvest tendencies. Distinguishing drake bluebills, redheads, ringnecks, or widgeon on the wing can present a problematic challenge, but if a hen has been taken to the hand on a hunting day, that species can be deemed off limits for the bag limit until the next day. If the next day produces another hen of that species to the hand, the sustaining hunter will consider his/her season for that species ended.

2) Numb the Numbers—If the migratory huntable bird/wild stay pursued is difficult to differentiate between drake and hen (e.g. woodducks in the early dawn or bluebills coming out of the sunrise) and the numbers of birds are low compared to past seasons or in absolute numbers, sustaining hunters will not be numb to the numbers. They will either pass on taking a shot unless there is a 99 percent certainty that it is at a drake or they will consider that the season has closed for that species from their hunting perspective.

3) Down the Doe/Pass the small buck—Saluting/Sustaining hunters memorialize their largest/oldest quarry for their connection to its wildness with salutes/tributes or shoulder or life sized mounts. To a twelve year old on his/her first deer hunt a basket buck with three points on each antler side rates a salute/tribute buck which should be harvested with precision for a quick euthanasia and recalled passionately and indelibly. To a saluting/sustaining hunter who has harvested such a buck in previous years, when a similar buck passes under his tree stand, it should be studied and allowed to pass by and viewed in the sustaining hunter’s minds eye as a propagation of the gene pool that he/she may harvest in three to five years and then long remember his/her oneness with Nature. Where legal, sustaining hunters should down the doe for his/her sustenance to ensure the deer population does not reach imbalance and take his/her valuable time to hygienically field dress and butcher it for his/her own larder or donate the precious omega-3 fatty acid filled healthy meat to less fortunate humans. “Hunt for the Hungry” and “Hunters to Stop Hunger” in Wisconsin alone in 2004 distributed over 600,000 pounds of donated deer meat to needy folks ($1.00 of the $4.00 hunting license increase in WI in 2004 went to partially compensate processors), while nationwide such organizations provided over 250,000,000 meals annually.

4) Live release the lunker—Fishing is just another form of hunting. Sustaining hunter/fishers have practiced “catch-and-release” fly, spin, and bait fishing for many years. Live release portrays the process of sustaining far more accurately than catch-and-release, because it accents the fish more than the fisher and highlights the process which when done correctly increases the likelihood that the fish survives to procreate and flourish so other adventurers in Nature can experience its wonder.

Live release includes:

  1. using hooks that minimally damage the fish,
  2. not touching the fish or if the fish is touched the angler’s hands are wet so that none of the precious mucous on the fish is damaged or scales dislodged,
  3. using a net (rubber not mesh) that does not remove the mucous or scales and entangle the fish which requires extra handling,
  4. keeping the fish in the water, not dragging it on shore, or if taken out of the water (to take a picture) only for a very short period and then replace the fish in the water facing upstream to ensure oxygen flow to the fish,
  5. keep the fish level, never pick it up by its tail or turn it vertical,
  6. place the fish in the water (if in a current facing upstream, if non-moving hold the fish by the tail and gently move it sideways and back and forth) and let it pull away when it is ready, do not just drop it or throw it back into the water,
  7. release the fish near calm or reduced current where it can rest,
  8. avoid fishing in warmer water than conducive to the species.

Live release of lunkers is especially important since it negates the removal of the finest members of the species from the pool and the gene pool. If some fish are harvested (perfectly appropriate and in the spirit of hunting) choose the medium sized, not the largest or smallest. This is sometimes legally mandated by “slot limits” where fish below a certain length (like 12 inches for trout) and above a certain length (like 18 inches for trout) must be live released.

5) Reconsider the Ram—Sustaining hunters spend large sums of money to travel to far away, difficult to reach places of grandeur, endure hard on the ground sleeping bags in the cold, and freeze-dried food to pursue wild sheep. After five (5) to (10) days of heart pounding, lung burning and leg wearying climbs over rocks and boulders up mountains of growing height, it would be easy to harvest the next legal ram in range, but they reconsider, because it is not the correct means to sustain wild sheep and saluting/sustaining hunters guiding guardian status. Saluting/Sustaining hunters know that the kill and wholesome meat or salute/tribute horns and cape do not make the hunt. Rather as Harry Chapin sang long ago: “It’s the going, not the getting there that counts.”

Mature rams can be readily aged by counting the annual growth rings in the their horns (not antlers that are shed and regrown each year) through a spotting scope before the stalk. Each winter little or no food for the ram will cause the growth in its horns to diminish which is displayed by a dark indent around the horn. Saluting/Sustaining hunters know that harvesting a ten (10) year or older ram will not affect replenishment of the herd, since that ram is probably no longer dominant and unlikely to mate. Its harvest and salute/tribute follows its contribution to the gene pool in previously sired offspring. In fact, the sustaining hunters knows that few rams exceed ten (10) years old and he/she has saved the creature from the near certainty of its painful protracted demise over the following winter from predators like wolves or mountain lions.

Saluting/Sustaining hunters also benefit non-hunted birds and animals:

  1. red-wing blackbirds’ symphony as they waft in wave after undulating wave barely above the reeds seems to be an ode to the wetlands preserving sustaining hunters,
  2. robins’ and wrens’ sweet chirping as they pick seeds and bugs in an expanded fenceline is just applause for sustaining hunters,
  3. marsh hawks’ and horned owls’ silent hunts over the edges of fields/wetland/woods for expanded populations of huntable birds notes their reverence for sustaining hunters,
  4. bald eagles and red tailed hawks soar and screech their delight when they eye a rare unrecovered duck or goose (rare because saluting/sustaining hunters take only shots they believe are 99% certain to cause a clean and quick euthanasia where the wild stay can be readily brought to possession). When the eagles or hawks dispatch the wild stay and devour its flesh, they seem to know that saluting/sustaining hunters utilize more expensive non-toxic shot instead of lead, so that if the shot is ingested by the raptor, it will not cause lead poisoning in their crop. Bald eagles were spotted on MāHUNT Dunn #1 in the late fall of 2005 for the first time in anyone’s memory.
  5. huntable predators like coyotes and wolves (bears, fox, weasels, wolverines as well) trill their delight at their benefit from sustaining hunters’ replenishment of wild stays/huntable birds/animals as well as the internal viscera left in the field after a harvest of a deer, elk, antelope or wild sheep. This recycled nourishment means that the sated predators will pause in their harvest of other wild stays and therefore allow more wildlife to be sustained.
  6. polar bears rush for whale carcasses left by subsistence Inuit hunters. Subsistence hunters sometimes serve as sustaining hunters. Recent newspaper articles lamenting the decreasing ice flows in the Arctic have noted that polar bear numbers are decreasing, since they are killing fewer seals in ice holes and are drowning after long swims/hunts in the sea. The only amelioration to their decreased numbers has been the polar bears adapting to feast on the remains of whales hunted by sustaining hunters. Is it a moral obligation to hunt over-abundant whales which flourish in warming seas, utilize as much of the remains as possible, and then leave the rest to save polar bears endangered by climate change and warming of the oceans?

Saluting/Sustaining hunters legally and ethically reduce non-balanced predator proliferation and predation of “wild stays”. Non-balanced predators’ largest impact on wild stay numbers occurs when the eggs and hen are destroyed simultaneously while on the nest. Limiting predators access to wild stays during that generally four week spring period of nesting can maximize wild stay numbers without balancing predator numbers. Effective means include:

  1. placing woodduck nest boxes atop 6 foot high poles with a dunce cap shaped predator guard which repels primarily raccoons and squirrels,
  2. erecting hen houses (for ducks including mallards) made of straw in wire shaped like a hollow tube or nest boxes similar to woodduck nest boxes (except filled with straw and gravel) placed in reeds surrounded by waist deep water or on poles above open water protect the hen from aerial predators from above and non-swimmers from below,
  3. attempting to use hen houses on poles over grasslands for pheasants (MāHUNT is experimenting with this beginning in 2006), and
  4. fencing off areas of prairie/grassland/or hay producing land from foxes, coyotes, raccoon, and skunks and not harvesting the crops until mid-August to minimize nest destruction from mowing.

Balancing or limiting non-balanced predator numbers entails the legal reduction of unchecked invasive predators. For example, raccoons (probably the predator that kills the most woodducks and their eggs and the second most (only to skunks) grass/ground nesting ducks and wild stays and their eggs) originally were from the southern United States and Central America. They were not present in the upper Midwest or Northern Plains until the mid-1900's. Their invasion may have stemmed from easy access to food from urbanite invasion of wild or near wild areas with the increase in available garbage/scraps/human feeding stations. Coyotes similarly have expanded in the past twenty years east and north of their original western United States roots. When wild fur prices were high and the United States military sought non-frosting coyote fur to surround its cold war cold weather parkas, predators like coyotes, raccoons, fox, opossum, mink, and weasels were more balanced/limited in number relative to wild stays, since economic self-interest fueled their control and utilization as a renewable warming resource. With that economic incentive absent, someone has to pay for wild stays by hiring/eliciting predator trapping and taking. Even a Chairman of a Northern California Sierra Club when speaking about eliminating/eradicating exotic fallow deer from Point Reyes National Park said:

“the exotic deer problem at Point Reyes was caused by humans (who introduced the deer in 1948), and humans must take responsibility for solving it. Speaking for myself and not the club, I feel invasive species are one of the biggest problems facing the national parks....It’s far more humane to kill a few hundred animals now so thousands won’t have to die in the future.”

Sustaining migratory waterfowl hunters have changed to non-toxic shot when shooting over water even though the shells were more expensive in order to supposedly reduce the lead poisoning of waterfowl who would later feed on the bottom of that water. Why then are migratory waterfowl hunters hunting over decoys on dry land also required to use non-toxic shot, when if they pheasant hunt in the same spot, they may use lead shot? Perhaps the real reason that sustaining migratory waterfowl hunters sacrificed was really for non-hunters/bird watchers to reduce dramatically the loss of eagles, hawks, and owls from lead poisoning from ingesting lead shot from the flesh of migratory waterfowl not recovered by the hunters.

This increase in avian predators' survival decreased the population of the wild stays that sustaining hunters could hunt legally. Perhaps to offset that decline in wild stays and to recognize sustaining hunters' contribution to non-hunter/bird watcher enjoyment, bird watchers should self-impose an excise tax on their equipment or excursions to reduce mammalian predator numbers or pay for more wild stay nesting enhancements.

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