ECO-Tours only purchases trees and dirt to plant them in...

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Warm Weather Frustrates Deer Hunters

Local butchers that process deer are seeing far more carcasses than usual brought in while still warm. In addition to absence of tracking snow, the deer hunt this year is the warmest on record, making for hurried attempts to keep meat from spoiling. The fact that Thanksgiving weekend is the earliest possible date, and the deer hunt is based around people having off work, the climate change that we are seeing is trending to be warmer as well.

Here in Wisconsin, we have a long history of deer camps, hunting culture and a deep and abiding relationship with the deer. More and more sources for seed, intended for food plots for deer are popping up each year, as are advertizing for bait and sweet treats for your quarry, even though in many areas feeding of deer has been either discouraged or outright banned. Herd managers are finding that through increased association and contact, as often happens at feeding stations, diseases are passed from one to another. Funny, we have known this about the human population for years. The problem with much of the diseases that are now part of the deer's environment include prion diseases (relatives to mad cow disease), things that will not render the meat obviously bad to consume. However, in the scenario I will now describe, that could play out in my use methodology, while brain tanning the hide of a deer that I might "consume", part of that process includes scraping the hide and rubbing the brain into the skin to produce leather. for those of us who work with our hands, cuts and scrapes, scratches and punctures are inevitable. During this culturally necessary sacred rite, that I perform, I could potentially contact both brain matter and in a relatively intimate manner, unmediated by cooking or digestive acids and enzymes. The warmer than usual winters that we have been experiencing, combined with near total absence of snow has allowed the deer herd to blossom while simultaneously, many of the hunters themselves have been saying that there are less deer in the woods. My belief is that the desire to kill a buck is so great that many would rather lie about deer availability (based on arbitrary factors like roadkill) than actually hunt. The fact that car-deer collisions are at their lowest number since 1981 reflects our reduced driving trends more than the availability of deer for hitting. The deer population is actually climbing but as gasoline prices have more than doubled, we are curtailing non-essential trips.

As long as we have milder winters, less snow and fewer hunters willing to kill does, we will continue to create larger and larger herds of deer and their ability to get away from one another will continue to be reduced. If we do have a return to "normal" weather and a difficult winter, many deer will starve. Those watching the weather closely will say that it is unlikely, I would go further and say highly unlikely. The one thing that we must concede is that more deer closer together has spelled a burgeoning disease problem and that those are unlikely to stop, no matter how many individuals we remove from the population. In fact, the lowest deer population that we have recorded in the state of Wisconsin was 1972, before the rampant sub-urbanization of the landscape. We bring tender shrubs, flowers and bulbs that augment the paltry fare of a mature forest, open the canopy and let the sunshine in. Wildlife experts for generations have been enamored with edge as habitat that holds much greater biodiversity than monoculture. Around each tiny sub-division is an edge between what was there before and what is there now.  For those of you who hunt, I hope you are allowed as many doe permits as you want and I hope that many animals lay themselves in your hands. For those of you who feed the deer, please stop. For those of us who brain tan animals, we need to be wary of any animal that presents itself to us. Know the local deer as be4st you can and if they seem to be affected with any disease, perhaps salt the hide away until a more suitable brain can be found. For those of you who think "Global Warming" is a good thing, try to understand that this level of climate change may not have happened in fifteen or twenty thousand years, then ask yourself, "What organisms will have a chance at adapting to unprecedented changes the best?", then ask if we should keep rolling the dice, or walk away from the table with what we have left?

Another Year Coming To A Close

Many in the non-profit sector use this time to ask for money. As readers of this blog may have noted, we ask all year long, so for the next few posts, at least, we will try to give you a break from our asking for money. You may have noticed that we often take the road less traveled, encouraging you to learn about and support other organizations as well as ours. If you are reading between the lines you will have also noted that we are not supporting a bunch of staff or ancillary services that gobble money and contribute little to the reaching of our goals. In short, unlike most organizations, every dollar we receive buys either trees or dirt. Over the years, we have gotten several thousand plastic landscaping pots donated and from time to time we fill them with dirt and tree seedlings that provide us a moveable nursery. more importantly, it allows us to stretch out the crucial planting window of the bare root seedlings that we receive. Once potted, we can tend the tiny sprouts for up to several years if need be, to find the perfect spot for them. Often a few months or weeks are all that are needed, but this year, we had our best weather for planting before trees were shipped and then, two months of drought. In cases like this, it is always good to have an option for holding trees until conditions are best for planting. The fall rains came over a month early and we were ready for them with trees to plant and helping hands from folks who volunteered to come on plant-ins.

We are more concerned than ever with the veritable media black out on several ecologic issues. First and foremost is the occupy movement. Many refuse to believe that the occupy protesters are even still around, much less clamoring to expose deep seated power imbalances in our political culture and civic discourse. Here at ECO-Tours, it has been a long-standing realization that the very language that the oppressors use to enslave citizens has been engineered by the most wealthy and powerful interests, and is devoid of truth or fact. Some commonly used catch phrases include, "No Child Left Behind", which is the name given to not only a terrible law that could never have been passed on merits (because there are none), but with the focus on testing, any educator worth their salt knows that the entire law flies in the face of what we do know about education. Millions of students are being harmed by this new set of laws that displace trust in educators and give it instead to tests. Similarly, the healthcare laws that have recently been enacted probably should not have the word "care" included, because they more accurately are a bail out to insurance companies, giving them a vast new pool of people to exploit for profit. The powerful interests have continued to rape Mother Earth for private profit, virtually unimpeded by regulation, even though the people have spoken repeatedly their wish for water that is safe to drink, air that is safe to breathe and soil that supports life rather than inhibits it. Ignoring the occupy movement will not make it go away. Including discussion about issues in politics only threatens those who have held power for the last hundred years. In a country that claims to be about democracy, allowing the people to speak should be the first order of business. Instead, the debates continue to be framed by those who wish to paint the people who do have a handle on the truth as radicals, seething masses of dangerous counter-culture folks, pierced and screaming in the streets. I do agree that the truth is dangerous to the rich and powerful interests that are in charge today, but our land was not founded on principles of theft and disenfranchisement. The economy rests on the environment as surely as proper brain function rests on adequate oxygen absorption and transport. The heart of our nation is being crippled by fear and worry and the air is evermore toxic. The media black out cannot hide the fact that the protests continue, just as turning our heads away from mega-factory farms cannot dispel the harm that they create across the landscape and the risks that they pose to our health, safety and welfare.

Luckily, with more and more sources for information, especially those like we provide, the masks that demonic and despotic forces amongst us use to hide their true intent have slipped just a bit, revealing the dark side of the 'economic equation' that has been used to keep us in our place, slaves to the powers that be. We are loathe to accept that the emperor is wearing no clothes. After all, we have been told how beautifully the brocade fits, how exquisite their millions are, how benevolent their minions are and how sleek and efficient the wheels of capital are. It is time to step off the express train to destruction and stop worshiping the bull in a china shop approach to economics, politics and environmentalism. ECO-Tours is working to raise enough capital to purchase tools that will allow us to overcome decades of abuse perpetrated on the land. If you do want to help us take our recovery efforts to the next level, donate. If you want to throw in with those who will not give up or give in to the largest players, the lure of capital or the powerful interests that continue to go rogue on the environment in the name of profit, we will welcome your support.

Remember, the masks that have slipped from the faces of the demons who extract wealth and resources without concern for the welfare of the planet or their fellow humans, were intended to keep us thinking that they were just like us. We dress up like demons at Halloween and it is funny, because everyone knows that there is a good person hiding behind the mask. the demons are demonic all year long and continuously wear masks to keep us thinking that they are just like us. If you look a little more closely, you will find that it is not the 47% who claim to be victims. It is more often the social climbers and the ultra-wealthy who claim that they are being victimized by regulations that are strangling their ability to make a profit off the collective resources by over-regulation. If that were true, they might re-think what they are doing.