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Donít you envy the folks who live in states that have tons of BLM land with
plentiful bird populations? Nevada
and Texas are the black and white examples.
Donít quote my percentages, but it seems that Nevada has about 98 percent
open public lands while Texas has about 2 percent. Since most of the land in Texas is private, it restricts
the amount of hunting the common man can afford.
When I was a kid, everyone we knew had bird dogs and hunted avidly.
In Kansas, we would hunt the public lands and other open access lands.
I remember hunting some land that belonged to the railroad as a kid.
There were no anti-hunting sentiments that kept us out; in fact, we were
encouraged to hunt these lands Ė a kind of public relations deal.
It was also very easy to get permission from farmers too.
Mississippi didnít have as much public land then but it was easy to get
permission. The common man could go
hunting and the hunt didnít include hunting and begging for permission or
paying a high price to hunt.
While stationed in Maryland, I was surprised at the amount of state land that
tiny state offers. I was worried
about hunting there but soon found that there was tons of state land with ample
game including strong deer herds. Their
bird hunting isnít very good unless you go to the eastern shore for quail but,
nonetheless, itís there.
Here in Texas, hunting is expensive and buying an annual lease is the way of
life around here. Because drought
and other problems beleaguer the farmer/rancher, They look to get top dollar for
hunting rights. And there is hardly
any loyalty involved. I have been a
victim, as have many others in this state to Ďcorporate buy outsí.
The corporate buy out goes like this: You
have a lease and itís good hunting. Maybe you and several buddies are in on the hunting lease
together. Someone on your lease
mistakenly tells a friend about the good hunting and they in turn tell some
bigwig corporate boss that loves to hunt how great your lease is.
The corporate boss is convinced that he and his company should have this
lease and wham, the company offers twice what you and your buddies can afford
and so you lose the lease. Itís
Could this be why so many hunters now a days are reluctant to tell anyone how
good the hunting is and where they hunt? I
would bet so.
Texas is trying to improve hunting availability by buying more land for the
common hunter but for now, the amount of public lands available to hunt amounts
to a drop in the proverbial old bucket. We Texans and those with a similar plight need to get busy
encouraging our respective states to buy lands for outdoor recreation.
The common tax paying people are the ones who need help.
Heaven forbid we end up like the European countries where only the
rich can afford to hunt.
As a bird-hunting guide I feel the pressure all the time.
Folks want to hunt and we want to guide them only the leases are so
expensive that we have to pass that along to hunter.
So what happens is the common man that wants to hunt birds in Texas has
to scrounge around to save up the money so that he can afford to hunt a few
times a year. Itís so typical and
at the same time itís sad.
My friends and I grew up hunting every weekend and any day that we could
break free. We didnít pay
anything so there were few or no restrictions.
Itís just not that way anymore.
We need to provide places to hunt for the next generation of hunters.
Itís important not only for the hunt, but to preserve our heritage.
Thanks for your time,
P.S. Next week, weíll be reporting on our youth hunt for
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