[CT Birds] Ruffed Grouse etc / Conservation

Joseph Cala joseph.e.cala at gmail.com
Fri Oct 31 21:39:14 EDT 2014

Coming from a hunting background I feel the need to interject into this
discussion and present the other side of the argument here, even though
Keith touched on a few points.

One summer bird count encompassing 1400 hours is not the be all end all of
bird counting.  A quick look on ebird for this year shows over 20 reports
for Ruffed Grouse with numerous locations showing more than one sighting.
We all know that not everyone uses ebird, so these are certainly not the
only sightings for this year.

That doesn't even to begin to discuss how easy it is to walk right by any
number of 'game birds' and never see them -- which certainly factors into
the numbers that are seen and reported.

On a different note, the State of CT is not interesting in wiping out a
game bird that attracts hunting dollars. Grouse population isn't dependent
upon the bag limit or number of hunters, but rather the available habitat
they have, which is limited.  If you have issues with the population in the
state, contribute conservation dollars to the state so that areas can be
managed for them.

It's frustrating to see some many 'birders' vilify hunters in general as
some ravaging band of lunatics that shoot and kill everything in sight and
take full or excessive bag limits.  Real hunters are the exact opposite of
that, and many bird areas in the state simply would not exist without
hunting conservation dollars.

Ducks Unlimited, for example, has conserved more than 13 million acres of
habitat since 1937.  81% of dollars brought in by DU goes directly to
wetlands conservation and education.

The Pittman-Robertson act of 1937 added an 11% excise tax onto firearms and
ammunition sales which has resulted in billions of dollars of federal aid
being available to states.  Connecticut received almost $9M in funds from
this program in 2014 alone.

The CT 'Duck Stamp' program has resulted in 3145 acres of wetlands being
protected in the state and over $1.2M in sales directly from purchases of
the stamp.  It's also resulted in almost $2M in matching federal funds that
go directly towards wildlife conservation in this state.

Just to make a point -- Connecticut Audubon's 2013 annual report shows
total revenues of $3.9MM, HALF of what the state of CT received from the
Pittman-Robertson federal funding.  And of that nearly $4M CT Audubon
received, 80% of that is spent on education and only 20% on conservation.

Point is that hunters and hunting/shooting related activity contribute a
MASSIVE amount towards conservation in this state.  Instead of vilifying
hunters for hunting, perhaps we as 'birders' need to follow in their
example.  A 'Duck Stamp' is $13 -- if we can afford bags of seed every
month we can surely afford a $13 stamp.  If you're against the Duck Stamp
for some reason, contribute directly to CT Audubon.  If you like waterfowl,
contribute to Ducks Unlimited or Delta Waterfowl.

And finally if you're concerned about Ruffed Grouse, contribute to the
Connecticut Ruffed Grouse Society and help them help the grouse reclaim
proper habitat.

Joseph Cala
Willington, CT

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