North American hunters enjoy an amazing bounty of both wildlife and opportunity, but things almost didn’t turn out this way. By 1900, most of our large game species were in serious trouble. Protection and management brought them back, some to incredible plenty, such as our 35 million whitetail deer. Along the winding road to recovery, a unique system of wildlife management developed that we call the North American Model.
The North American Model is said to have seven tenets:
Wildlife as a public trust resource
Elimination of markets for game
Wildlife allocated by law
Taking of wildlife only for legitimate purposes
Wildlife considered an international resource
Science as the proper tool
Democracy of hunting
Implicit in the model is the principle is that hunters and anglers provide the primary funding. The first and the last tenants—which hold that we believe wildlife belongs to everyone, not just private landowners or the government—are almost unheard of elsewhere in the world.
The last tenant, democracy of hunting, holds that all citizens in good standing may hunt—subject to seasons and licensing requirements, of course. Due to scarcer resources, both science and law dictate that not everyone can have a license every season. We have a system that allocates permits by a public drawing, a system that serves as one of the very best examples of the democracy of hunting that we enjoy.
More years ago than I care to count up, I was a soldier in the Army and was stationed in Germany. I love to hunt, and I really love the thrill of hunting big game, so I figured as long as I was there, I would learn what I could about sport hunting in that country. I was about to discover hunting in an entirely new way! Continue reading →
Relaxing in a duck blind with a six-pack of cold ones, some BBQ, and a colorful collection of hunters in a foreign country… They say there are better things in life, but not many. This was another one of my New Zealand adventures, albeit, a much tamer one. In the company of other New Zealand hunters, I waited in a duck blind on the southern coast of New Zealand. Our game was waterfowl and we looked out on a saltwater marsh separated from the South Pacific by a rocky berm.
We shot 80 or 90 ducks from our blind that day. When we were done, shells littered the wooden floor and my ears rang with the echoes of shots from my Beretta and the other shotguns. Our take was a combination of mallards and paradise ducks. Paradise ducks are a particularly interesting breed because they mate for life, and, unlike most other breeds, it is the female who has the most colorful plumage. Continue reading →
On a hunting trip to New Zealand. I started my expedition at 3:30 a.m. in the cab of a 4×4 pickup truck, or ute, as my guide called it. My guide was a native New Zealander, a highly experienced hunter and his assistant a British man, an experienced mountain climber. We had all of our gear unloaded and ready before dawn broke. We had a long day ahead of us.
Most people accessed the area by helicopter because of how rugged the area is. However, the small animals located near the base of the mountain, usually tracked by helicopters, were not my intended game I had my sights set higher on the larger animals which resided near the summit, the Tahr, large Asian Ungulates closely related to wild goats. Continue reading →
Here is a brief story about one of my hunts in Argentina.
I booked a trip to northern Argentina and checked in with my hunting party. I had wanted to hunt water buffalo, and the guide I had hired promised that I would track and see water buffalo, but it was up to me to actually shoot one. The province where I scheduled the hunt was Santiago del Estro, a province close to Paraguay and Bolivia. We stayed overnight at a national monument, “The General of the North”. The hosts of the hunting party were friends of local government officials and we were able to stay in the General’s personal dwelling. This residence was in the same condition as it was built. There was no modern accommodations like electricity or indoor plumbing. Lots and lots of beef would be cooked and served throughout the week, using the original cooking facilities, metal grates over hot coals. This was going to be a great week! Continue reading →