The Nemesis of Hunting

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fishvik
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The Nemesis of Hunting

Post by fishvik » Tue Nov 18, 2014 7:03 pm

A local biologist for IDF&G writes a weekly nature column for the local paper here in Idaho Falls. In a column he wrote a few weeks ago he stated he felt that there were 3 factors that were the nemesis of present day hunting; technology, motorized access and competition. He brought out that with increase in technology in hunting equipment (bigger shells, advanced optics, electric decoys etc.), the ability to access hunting areas with ATV’s and other motorized vehicles and the competition between hunters for the biggest trophies it could destroy hunting as we know it. How many of you feel these three things are impacting bird hunting and could ruin it in the future?

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Re: The Nemesis of Hunting

Post by RayGubernat » Tue Nov 18, 2014 8:24 pm

First, I think that upland game hunting, especially bird hunting, is a far more endangered outdoor activity across the USA than big game hunting.

I also feel fairly strongly that the reasons cited are pretty much irrelevant to the upland game situation.

The problem facing upland game hunting is quite simply, in a nutshell, the virtual disappearance of huntable populations of upland game across much of the populated areas of the US.

There are still wild birds in many sparsely populated areas of the country but folks must go to considerable expense in terms of time and money to go from where they live to where the birds are. Not so many are willing or able to do this.

Most upland bird hunting is conducted by folks relatively close to their homes, as is the training for their dogs, simply because the logistics of travelling with dogs can be daunting and very expensive.

If there are no local hunting or training opportunities, the vast majority of bird hunters will reduce or eliminate their kennels and once that occurs, you then have FORMER upland bird hunters.

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Re: The Nemesis of Hunting

Post by mnaj_springer » Tue Nov 18, 2014 8:27 pm

I can only speak for my experience in MN, but I would disagree (although the phrase "huntimg as we know it" could mean a lot of things). I think waterfowl hunting has experienced significant growth in the past ten years. And as far as the other things... Most public land here restricts vehicle use and I've seen fewer upland hunters recently (minus opening weekends).

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Re: The Nemesis of Hunting

Post by cjhills » Tue Nov 18, 2014 8:45 pm

I doubt any of these things have an effect on upland bird hunting. Our equipment has not changed a lot except for dog tracking, Atv s Are pretty limited most places and the birds stay about the same as far as trophies go.
Suitable habitat is the biggest issue and that is not going away anytime soon........................Cj

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Re: The Nemesis of Hunting

Post by Pepper » Tue Nov 18, 2014 8:53 pm

We have a vast BLM land mass. With that said...
We are talking big game and upland here. This year deer population was much better due to mild winters in the past. In the upland arena, sage grouse were down big time. We like out toys, but we also like to have game for those toys. Sharp tail is finally being hunting because of the hunters and conservationists to help them survive in Idaho.
Lastly…the waterfowl population has gone up this year giving us a liberal season of 7 ducks.
In conclusion…I believe we as hunters need to help so that future hunting for us and the young ones will continue. Just my two cents worth…
We make the difference. :)

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Re: The Nemesis of Hunting

Post by Vonzeppelinkennels » Tue Nov 18, 2014 8:53 pm

I think just the opposite is true of upland & big game.The hunters are the only reason we still have game animals left,we have brought back the deer,turkies,& helped many other species.if not for us there would be even less upland birds to hunt we are the ones that fight for all wild species & their habitat! The animal rights people don't & MOST non hunters don't in fact the animal rights people would rather see them starve to death then be hunted or even exist.

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Re: The Nemesis of Hunting

Post by nikegundog » Tue Nov 18, 2014 9:14 pm

fishvik wrote:A local biologist for IDF&G writes a weekly nature column for the local paper here in Idaho Falls. In a column he wrote a few weeks ago he stated he felt that there were 3 factors that were the nemesis of present day hunting; technology, motorized access and competition. He brought out that with increase in technology in hunting equipment (bigger shells Non facter, advanced optics Non facter, electric decoys very limited facter etc.), the ability to access hunting areas with ATV’s Non factor and other motorized vehicles and the competition between hunters for the biggest trophies Non factor it could destroy hunting as we know it. How many of you feel these three things are impacting bird hunting and could ruin it in the future?
Habitat, Habitat, Habitat are the three biggest followed by Politics, for Southern MN, IMO everything he listed are pretty much irrelevant.

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Re: The Nemesis of Hunting

Post by Gertie » Tue Nov 18, 2014 10:34 pm

Can't speak much about big game but I can say that as far as upland birds go noxious weeds and habitat fragmentation are biggies. Unfortunately, they both go hand in hand with accessibility. Roads, trails, and off trail motorized vehicle access all contribute to the spread of weeds and the subsequential habitat loss that follows. It's a bummer because the only way to stop it is to restrict vehicle and even horse access and conduct a serious eradication program. Neither of which are popular options with outdoor folks. Tragedy of the commons strikes again.

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Re: The Nemesis of Hunting

Post by ezzy333 » Tue Nov 18, 2014 10:55 pm

I think he is absolutely right for big game hunting in the west where he lives. And for most upland the problem is mostly habitat. Different strokes for different folks in different regions.

Ezzy

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Re: The Nemesis of Hunting

Post by Neil » Wed Nov 19, 2014 1:07 am

Gertie wrote:Can't speak much about big game but I can say that as far as upland birds go noxious weeds and habitat fragmentation are biggies. Unfortunately, they both go hand in hand with accessibility. Roads, trails, and off trail motorized vehicle access all contribute to the spread of weeds and the subsequential habitat loss that follows. It's a bummer because the only way to stop it is to restrict vehicle and even horse access and conduct a serious eradication program. Neither of which are popular options with outdoor folks. Tragedy of the commons strikes again.
Not even sure I know what a noxious weed is, but from North Dakota to Texas weeds are a friend to birds, fescue and insecticide/herbicides are the biggest problems.

Not much that applies to big game applies to upland.

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Re: The Nemesis of Hunting

Post by Mountaineer » Wed Nov 19, 2014 6:24 am

A noxious weed or invasive would be the bush honeysuckle varietals...worse, imo, than multiflora rose.
However, one has to be in a area where it has taken hold to understand....otherwise, one assumes their own situation defines.

Loss of habitat or an aging of habitat is one reason for the initial question...but, just one.
Loss of access, especially driven by the deer hunting business, is a prime reason for a decline in upland hunting opportunities...birds to squirrels.
Money has entered the access equation...drven by...."hunters."
Supporting game and game bird organizations doea not change that fact for many.
DNR focus has too often followed the glamour species of deer and, to a degree, turkey....in too many areas.
The NWTF has much to answer for re ruffed grouse decline as well what with their placement of turkeys driven only by a desire for full banquet tables.

Motorized access as a factor...maybe, in some areas.
Technology?...as far as permitting designer deer with deer feeders and the deer feeders increasing a population of nest predators...yes. Technology as far as enabling deer hunters to enter many sections of the grouse range fooling with deer cams, shed hunting, etc. and so moving ruffed grouse at bad tough times off the year in some areas of the range..sure.
Competition?....yes, as far as it drives more folks to want to imagine they are Lee & Tiff or that idiot Nugent and then all the bad stuff follows.

But, habitat and human progress and weather and politics with set-asides and a mismanagement of our NFs from an ignorant Public are all part of a large decline factor stew....with many more factors existing today.

Foocusing on only habitat is shortsighted. Ignoring other hunter effects on game decline...stupid and shortsighted.
Interpretating effect based upon a small sample size of species or area......is all too common and why little will chnage for the positive.
Be nice if more upland birds wore antlers, voted or sold deer products...then, they might have a better chance of improvements. Same with rabbits and squirrels.

Hunting will continue, little fear there...it will change tho, as it has, and it will so be less for many of us.
It's good to be past 60.

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Re: The Nemesis of Hunting

Post by gundogguy » Wed Nov 19, 2014 6:27 am

fishvik wrote: He brought out that with increase in technology in hunting equipment (bigger shells, advanced optics, electric decoys etc.), the ability to access hunting areas with ATV’s and other motorized vehicles and the competition between hunters for the biggest trophies it could destroy hunting as we know it. How many of you feel these three things are impacting bird hunting and could ruin it in the future?
"(bigger shells, advanced optics, electric decoys etc.) These items would have very little to do with the demise of Bird hunting in this country.
The old real estate salesman's lament, Location Location Location will ultimately be the demise of the sport and tradition for the masses. Lack of access to land with hunt able populations of game will ultimately kill the sport. 45 years ago as a young single man I hunted pheasants rabbits and grouse within 10 miles of my house. Today it would be a 4 hour trip one way to the fringe of good grouse and/or pheasant habitat.
My training grounds are secure for now, and that is grounds I can shoot on, and have shot training birds of all pen raised variety's for some 30 years. Though the relentless encroachment is moving closer. For example when I'm gone there will be no bird dog training classes for folks to come to in Southern Michigan. Over the years countless newbie's and old experience hunt types have come for mentoring and coaching of the dogs young and old. Those days are certainly numbered.

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Re: The Nemesis of Hunting

Post by GSP4ME » Wed Nov 19, 2014 8:23 am

Been a deer hunter for nearly 3 decades and some of his points are valid as far as deer go. I know people who have never killed a single deer but are dead set on their first being a wall hanger. That's fine and good but where do they go from there. I'll never forget the thrill of my first doe. I worked hard for her. Or my first little buck, or my first decent buck or my first quality buck. Everything is bigger, better, faster. I started hunting with a model 94 30-30 with iron sights - granted I was never having to shoot much more than 75 yards back in central NC but still, my friends back home now are buying their young children guns that I cant even afford. Trail cams are cool but there is no substitute for getting into the woods and doing some hands on scouting and trying to pattern deer based on tracks, food/water sources, natural funnels, etc.

As far as upland hunting, well I'm fairly new to this upland thing - specifically quail hunting. But in the areas I've hunted so far, I have to wonder how big of a problem hawks and yotes are to keeping a healthy bird population. The hawks seem to be a major problem but as I said this is new to me and maybe they're the same as they've always been. Just seem to be way too many of them circling and swooping down on every piece of property we run.

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Re: The Nemesis of Hunting

Post by mask » Wed Nov 19, 2014 11:17 am

Every one of these posts echo the same thing, to many people, or to many lazy uncaring people take your pick.

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Re: The Nemesis of Hunting

Post by RayGubernat » Wed Nov 19, 2014 1:58 pm

mask wrote:Every one of these posts echo the same thing, to many people, or to many lazy uncaring people take your pick.
Give me a break. You can care all you want, but when there are literally NO wild birds within 200 miles of where you live, you ain't gonna see too many folks keeping bird dogs. No amount of caring is going to change that.

Sure there are thousands of acres of BLM and other public lands, and many contain huntable populations of wild birds... but where are they?? Certainly not where the people are.

Bird hunters in most of the populated parts of the country got used to going out their back door, or at most driving an hour to go hunting. That situation no longer exists for a whole host of reasons.

In most of the populated portions of the country...

THERE ARE NO WILD BIRDS. PERIOD.

THAT is the problem. If there are no wild birds where you live, you have no reason to keep bird dogs and without bird dogs, bird hunters and bird hunting disappears. Tell me how many folks are going to keep two or more bird dogs, keep them trained and in shape... just so they can go out to Montana, or Idaho or western Kansas, or Georgia... for one or two weeks a year. Answer...not many. It would be a whole lot less work and probably less money, to book a hunt with an upland guide and use their dogs.

Add to that the fact that for the price of a quality upland hunt, you can go on an elk or mule deer hunt which is a whole lot more sexy and you might begin to get the picture.

There are a couple of states who have realized this and understand that if they want to keep a viable population of bird hunters, they must propagate and stock penraised gamebirds on state managed gamelands. It has been shown that a significant fraction of hunters will pay extra for a stamp which will allow them to hunt these stocked birds.

That is the reality of bird hunting in many pf the populated parts of the country. Penraised or nothing at all.

RayG

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Re: The Nemesis of Hunting

Post by aulrich » Wed Nov 19, 2014 2:24 pm

Access to an existent but mostly with either poachers and unregulated native hunting (in Canada anyway)

Regulated sport hunting is less likely since how many animals are on draw now, and since it is regulated there is a control of harvest.

Habitat is huge and probably the biggest culprit is agriculture, around here there are places you could go miles with nothing but plowed dirt, no year round cover. Other places urban sprawl is an issue, but not really in Western Canada

I think fishing has been most impacted by tech look how many fisheries are supported by hatcheries, to me that indicates unsustainable harvests.

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Re: The Nemesis of Hunting

Post by Gertie » Wed Nov 19, 2014 5:36 pm

Neil wrote:
Gertie wrote:Can't speak much about big game but I can say that as far as upland birds go noxious weeds and habitat fragmentation are biggies. Unfortunately, they both go hand in hand with accessibility. Roads, trails, and off trail motorized vehicle access all contribute to the spread of weeds and the subsequential habitat loss that follows. It's a bummer because the only way to stop it is to restrict vehicle and even horse access and conduct a serious eradication program. Neither of which are popular options with outdoor folks. Tragedy of the commons strikes again.
Not even sure I know what a noxious weed is, but from North Dakota to Texas weeds are a friend to birds, fescue and insecticide/herbicides are the biggest problems.

Not much that applies to big game applies to upland.
Here's a link to some of the issues we're having with invasives here in Oregon. It's not good.

http://www.oregoninvasivespeciescouncil.org

Medusa-head is the latest and greatest that's terrorizing the bird habitat here. Nasty stuff that is not palatable to anything and wipes out entire communities of native vegetation leaving nothing for wildlife to eat. There's a big campaign to do helicopter spraying to try and stop it but it's really spreading fast. Sad to see. A couple of my favorite places to hunt hold very few birds now because of it. In the low country we have knapweed, kosha, and a few other nasty non-natives. We also have a problem with expanding native juniper. They used to be held in check by range fires but since we started suppressing them over 100 yrs ago they're marching all over the landscape. They have acidic needles that kill everything within the drip-line and release some other chemicals that kill other plants. It's going to take a long time to turn things around and until we do the bird numbers will just keep dropping.

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Re: The Nemesis of Hunting

Post by mnaj_springer » Wed Nov 19, 2014 6:18 pm

RayGubernat wrote:
mask wrote:Every one of these posts echo the same thing, to many people, or to many lazy uncaring people take your pick.
Give me a break. You can care all you want, but when there are literally NO wild birds within 200 miles of where you live, you ain't gonna see too many folks keeping bird dogs. No amount of caring is going to change that.

Sure there are thousands of acres of BLM and other public lands, and many contain huntable populations of wild birds... but where are they?? Certainly not where the people are.

Bird hunters in most of the populated parts of the country got used to going out their back door, or at most driving an hour to go hunting. That situation no longer exists for a whole host of reasons.

In most of the populated portions of the country...

THERE ARE NO WILD BIRDS. PERIOD.

THAT is the problem. If there are no wild birds where you live, you have no reason to keep bird dogs and without bird dogs, bird hunters and bird hunting disappears. Tell me how many folks are going to keep two or more bird dogs, keep them trained and in shape... just so they can go out to Montana, or Idaho or western Kansas, or Georgia... for one or two weeks a year. Answer...not many. It would be a whole lot less work and probably less money, to book a hunt with an upland guide and use their dogs.

Add to that the fact that for the price of a quality upland hunt, you can go on an elk or mule deer hunt which is a whole lot more sexy and you might begin to get the picture.

There are a couple of states who have realized this and understand that if they want to keep a viable population of bird hunters, they must propagate and stock penraised gamebirds on state managed gamelands. It has been shown that a significant fraction of hunters will pay extra for a stamp which will allow them to hunt these stocked birds.

That is the reality of bird hunting in many pf the populated parts of the country. Penraised or nothing at all.

RayG
Ray, just to clarify, this does not appear to be the case where I am in MN. I drive no more than an hour to hunt, usually one of a dozen pieces of public land that hold wild birds. And if I make a weekend trip up north I find grouse on public land too.

But I know what you mean. If I couldn't hunt multiple times a week, it would be tough to justify.

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Re: The Nemesis of Hunting

Post by gonehuntin' » Wed Nov 19, 2014 8:01 pm

Guy's points are totally invalid and irrelevant. Motorized decoys? Certainly not very prevalent. Only two I know of are Robo ducks and the predator lure.

Motorized access simply gives us better access. Everyone. It still has no effect on wilderness areas and areas closed to atv use.

As far as competition, there are less hunters. That is the problem.

I think the only sector of hunting that really suffers from technology is archery. That is the sport most affected today.

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Re: The Nemesis of Hunting

Post by Pepper » Wed Nov 19, 2014 8:35 pm

If we want to command the masses, then we then to educate and get youths and the Misses involved....that is the crusade. We are all in this together. :) Think about the future and not ourselves. :)

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Re: The Nemesis of Hunting

Post by fishvik » Wed Nov 19, 2014 9:01 pm

First thanks for all of the responses, it is really great to hear from all over the country and north of the border. I agree with most of you that lack of access and loss of habitat are the two biggest threats to upland bird hunting. But I feel motorized access and technology are a big threat to quality waterfowl hunting. First let me tell you I hunt with an old pump 12 ga. and 2 3/4" steel shot shells. I have 1 wind driven spinner decoy and a jerk line for motion and I hunt out of a canoe with Puck my Lab X GWP.

My biggest pet peeve is firepower. Modern autos and large magnum loads have I believe turned an awful lot of folks into waterfowl shooters not hunters. Setting out dekes in an inviting pattern, using the wind, making a blind out of natural materials, calling well and training a dog to sit still and retrieve seems to have been replaced by simply filling the air with shot as the method of choice. It is also interesting how many electronic decoys there are. It seems it is now necessary to have battery power to give a decoy motion on the water or to make it's wings flutter.

As for motorized access, it amazes me how much negative impact jetboats have had. It seems some owners think that it is ok to ply up and down a river as shooting hours are starting looking for a place to set up. And this is usually done with the maximum wake they can produce, so those hunters that have set up early are now having their decoy set washed around with decoys upended or dislodged. While this may not be the majority of jet boat owners, it seems there are more of them every year.

Well I really didn't want this to be a rant but I do see these things as a threat to waterfowl hunting.

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Re: The Nemesis of Hunting

Post by Pepper » Wed Nov 19, 2014 9:23 pm

fishvik wrote:First thanks for all of the responses, it is really great to hear from all over the country and north of the border. I agree with most of you that lack of access and loss of habitat are the two biggest threats to upland bird hunting. But I feel motorized access and technology are a big threat to quality waterfowl hunting. First let me tell you I hunt with an old pump 12 ga. and 2 3/4" steel shot shells. I have 1 wind driven spinner decoy and a jerk line for motion and I hunt out of a canoe with Puck my Lab X GWP.

My biggest pet peeve is firepower. Modern autos and large magnum loads have I believe turned an awful lot of folks into waterfowl shooters not hunters. Setting out dekes in an inviting pattern, using the wind, making a blind out of natural materials, calling well and training a dog to sit still and retrieve seems to have been replaced by simply filling the air with shot as the method of choice. It is also interesting how many electronic decoys there are. It seems it is now necessary to have battery power to give a decoy motion on the water or to make it's wings flutter.

As for motorized access, it amazes me how much negative impact jetboats have had. It seems some owners think that it is ok to ply up and down a river as shooting hours are starting looking for a place to set up. And this is usually done with the maximum wake they can produce, so those hunters that have set up early are now having their decoy set washed around with decoys upended or dislodged. While this may not be the majority of jet boat owners, it seems there are more of them every year.

Well I really didn't want this to be a rant but I do see these things as a threat to waterfowl hunting.
The game we hunt are not stupid. It is up to us to show their ways. We as hunters will provide the means to show to them their means to you as a hunter. If we do that right, then thry will become full dependence to them to use. In their beaks. :)

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Re: The Nemesis of Hunting

Post by mnaj_springer » Wed Nov 19, 2014 10:09 pm

Fishvik, it sounds like those guys In the boats don't know what they're doing (how to approach waterfowling). I know I made a lot of mistakes when I started because I'm a first generation bird hunter. But after making some contacts my skill increased significantly.

As for your complaint about the guns... Yes they've made guns and ammo better, but I don't think that alone diminishes the sport. Their both tools, like ecollars are, same with battery operated decoys.

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Re: The Nemesis of Hunting

Post by nikegundog » Wed Nov 19, 2014 10:41 pm

fishvik wrote:First thanks for all of the responses, it is really great to hear from all over the country and north of the border. I agree with most of you that lack of access and loss of habitat are the two biggest threats to upland bird hunting. But I feel motorized access and technology are a big threat to quality waterfowl hunting. First let me tell you I hunt with an old pump 12 ga. and 2 3/4" steel shot shells. I have 1 wind driven spinner decoy and a jerk line for motion and I hunt out of a canoe with Puck my Lab X GWP.

My biggest pet peeve is firepower. Modern autos and large magnum loads have I believe turned an awful lot of folks into waterfowl shooters not hunters. Setting out dekes in an inviting pattern, using the wind, making a blind out of natural materials, calling well and training a dog to sit still and retrieve seems to have been replaced by simply filling the air with shot as the method of choice. It is also interesting how many electronic decoys there are. It seems it is now necessary to have battery power to give a decoy motion on the water or to make it's wings flutter.

As for motorized access, it amazes me how much negative impact jetboats have had. It seems some owners think that it is ok to ply up and down a river as shooting hours are starting looking for a place to set up. And this is usually done with the maximum wake they can produce, so those hunters that have set up early are now having their decoy set washed around with decoys upended or dislodged. While this may not be the majority of jet boat owners, it seems there are more of them every year.

Well I really didn't want this to be a rant but I do see these things as a threat to waterfowl hunting.
An 870 with the LEAD shot we used 40 years ago, was more effective than an autoloader shooting STEEL shot IMO. Not sure how far back the author is referring to, surely today's loads are more effective than black powder loads, but less effective than the loads used in the 60s/70s. The Browning A-5 has been around since 1905, the 1100 since 1963.

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Re: The Nemesis of Hunting

Post by Nutmeg247 » Thu Nov 20, 2014 9:27 am

To me, it sounds like the biologist was getting at fair chase issues. I'm surprised he didn't mention drones. Hunting hasn't exactly been "fair" imo since man picked up the first rock or spear. For upland bird hunting, it may well be that in much of the country it's similar to golf, where most people have to go to a preserve and pay for a "round" of hunting. (I've actually wondered why there aren't any hunting preserves within a short drive of Vegas, as it would be a logical activity for one subset of people vacationing here -- and apparently there were nearby preserves in the past that didn't make it?) But, that's as noted not a technology issue.

I don't see ATVs destroying chukar hunting or elk hunting, any more than wolves are destroying elk herds as opposed to changing their behavior. Trophy deer hunting does seem to have become, again, sort of like golf, where the best way is to book a week at a private area managed for large deer. But, you don't have to do that if you don't want.

As for shells and guns, to me that's sort of like saying umbrella rigs will destroy bass fishing as we know it.

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