Sportsmen should push to preserve wildlife habitat, oppose rifles to hunt deer

Posted 15 December 2016 at 6:45 pm


My brother (Gary Kent) attended the Orleans County Federation of Sportsmen’s Clubs meeting on November 15. He was disheartened at the apparent indifference to loss of wildlife habitat in Orleans County by a group that should be all over it. We are losing it faster than we are creating it as the fate of hedgerows indicates.

The meeting was attended by County Legislator John DeFillipps, whose attention to his legislator duties, according to my brother, is refreshing. Those in attendance, however, seemed determined that allowing rifle hinting of deer in Orleans County was advisable.

Forty years of hunting deer in Orleans County convinces me that it is unnecessary and unwise. Many of my deer-hunting friends see it as not much more than an act of defiance against Cuomo and a statement of frustration with the S.A.F.E. Act.

There is no need for rifle hunting here. I doubt most serious ballistics experts would say that it is just as safe as shotgun hunting. Hunters who are determined to hunt with a rifle can hunt coyotes, fox and whistle pigs and go the short distance to Genesee County and hunt deer there if they need to. Allowing rifles to be used to take deer will encourage more outsiders, less likely to have an interest in our wildlife resources, to flock to Orleans County. Besides, there are more than enough options for taking deer now.

Another than that baffles my brother and people like me was none of the sportspersons at the meeting took him up on his offer to supply them with the turkey oak acorns I gathered earlier this Fall. There seems to be a disconnect between interest in hunting and maintaining the conditions and habitat required to make it a viable activity. For example, if wildlife has fewer and fewer hedgerows, less cover and less food, there will be less of it to enjoy seeing and hunting.

All this was combined with an apparent attitude on the part of many that resistance to the wind farms is futile. I agree with my brother that bringing those things in here will further destroy woodland habitat. Once that happens, it is well on the way to being over. There will be no turning back. Gary told me that he felt like attending the meeting may have been a waste of time. If organizations created to advocate for outdoorspeople don’t get stuff like this, who can we count on to get it? Woodland habitat for turkey, deer, birds of prey, cavity nesters like wood ducks and pileated woodpeckers, and other songbirds will be a casualty of falling for wind farms.

But what do I know? I’m just a stiff who cares about a good thing.

Yours in the woods,

Kevin Kent