Year 4, Month 12, Day 7: Two Game Wardens, Seven Hunters, And A Cow

The Bellingham Herald (WA) notes a new report on big game’s unfortunate lot under a climate-change regime:

One example in the report is the elk population. The original elk population was estimated at 10 million, plummeting to about 50,000 or fewer by the early 20th century. But efforts led by sportsmen, the report said, have help the nationwide population rebound to about 1 million.

“But today, a changing climate threatens to rewrite that success story,” the report reads. “Severe drought, rising temperatures and greater weather extremes are affecting the health, habitat, and food and water supply of every big game species.”

Doug Inkley, a senior scientist for the federation, was one of the lead writers of the report.

“This is very real, it is happening right now. The success of the past is being challenged by climate change,” he said during a news conference.

Citing moose as an example, Inkley talked about the impact heat is having on populations nationwide.

“Moose become heat-stressed in warm weather, they stop eating, seeking out shelter instead,” he said. “That leads to lower weights, lower pregnancy rates, higher death rates.”

The report is careful not to solely blame climate change for population declines. It also cites habitat loss and predation. But climate change, the report emphasizes, impacts animals in so many ways.

Extreme weather threatens survivability. Animals weakened by declining food sources are more susceptible to disease.

The paper’s website says they’ll take letters only from people who live in their circulation area. But nothing ventured, nothing gained, right? November 25:

Genuine hunters operate from a position of deep respect for the natural world. So it’s hardly surprising that they recognize a shifting climate’s impacts on local and regional ecosystems all over the planet. As global heating intensifies, animal habitats become less hospitable, and migratory patterns are disrupted. Similarly, forest and plant populations are affected by changes in seasonal freeze and thaw patterns, resulting in disrupted pollination and increased vulnerability to pests. No wonder hunters are worried; their way of life is facing destruction in the wake of an accelerating greenhouse effect that promises only to become more extreme in the decades to come.

Conservative politicians and pundits are all too ready to stigmatize discussion of climate change as mere “politics,” Such a stance is deeply irresponsible. Hunters and environmentalists alike must cooperate to avert a humanitarian and environmental tragedy, not play rhetorical games while the planet burns.

Warren Senders

Year 3, Month 10, Day 29: Squeeeeeeeeze….

The Baltimore Sun notices that hunters are hippies:

Last month, a Republican-aligned polling firm called on hunters and fishermen nationwide to get their views. Some of the results were unsurprising: Outdoorsmen regard themselves as politically conservative and register Republican over Democratic by a more than 2-to-1 ratio.

But here’s one response that may have caught President Barack Obama and his re-election team by surprise, if they noticed it at all: A majority of these sportsmen believe global warming is the cause of this past summer’s high temperatures and want the White House and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to limit carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions.

Watermelons! With guns! Sent October 22:

Unlike the despicable pretenders who inflate their egos by blasting away at tethered game, real sportsmen recognize that their hunting licenses rest on a foundation of genuine respect for the natural world. It’s unsurprising that they are aware of climate change and its impacts on local and regional environments everywhere on Earth. Anyone accustomed to the wild already knows that rising atmospheric temperatures are altering things: animal migration patterns, ranges and habitats; plant flowering schedules and pollination cycles; seasonal freezes and thaws. And scientists tell us that the planetary greenhouse effect will have far more extreme effects in the decades to come.

The readiness of conservative lawmakers and media figures to politicize the question of climate change is profoundly irresponsible. To avert a humanitarian and environmental tragedy, we must work together to forestall the devastating consequences of a runaway greenhouse effect — not play political games while the Earth burns.

Warren Senders

Year 3, Month 8, Day 30: Two Game Wardens, Seven Hunters, And A Cow.

The Bozeman Daily Chronicle (MT) discusses climate change’s impact on huntin’ and fishin’ and all that kinda outdoors-y stuff:

Climate change and the subprime mortgage crisis share two trends: They had early signs that some people ignored or denied, and they can strain the economy, experts said Wednesday.

Four people addressed both trends during a presentation titled, “Feeling the heat: The impact of climate change on Montana’s outdoor heritage,” at the Emerson Center for the Arts & Culture on Wednesday.

All four said this summer’s excessive heat and drought were bringing the issue home to more people nationwide. Crop failures in the Midwest and large wildfires in Colorado and Idaho have dominated the news and demonstrate how climate change can cause costly events.

Montana has so far been spared the brunt of the extreme weather. But many Montanans didn’t need the heat to hit before noticing changes that have occurred over the past quarter century, said Bill Geer, a 39-year veteran of the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife & Parks.

“We believe that sportsmen are actually among the first to recognize climate change, even if they don’t say the word,” Geer said. “They see the evidence in the field because they’re out there hunting and fishing.”

Sent August 24:

There’s one group of people who’ll be among the first to recognize the signs of climate change. When the timing of animal migrations changes radically, when entire forests are devastated by invasive insect species, when regional biodiversity is decimated by shifting patterns of extreme weather — who better to notice and report the damage than hikers, hunters, and fishermen?

It’s a tragic irony that the national discussion of the climate crisis has become politicized through the misrepresentations of conservative politicians and media figures. Teddy Roosevelt, a great Republican president, and a legendary outdoorsman, was the force behind America’s system of National Parks, and a staunch advocate of wilderness conservation; can you imagine his response to the science-denying anti-environmentalists in today’s GOP? A vote for the party of Big Oil and Coal is a vote against the timeless joys of the wild, and for a Big Sky turned gray with smog.

Warren Senders