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Posts Tagged → generation

PA deer hunters…spending 40 years in the desert

Last week, a guy in his late 50s posted a complaint on social media. He was both complaining about “not enough deer” to hunt in Pennsylvania, and also boasting about how he buys up as many doe tags as he can get, and then he tears them up, and then he uses them to file false deer harvest reports. He hopes this all will influence Pennsylvania’s science-driven deer management. One result of all this complaining by guys like this man is that the PA Game Commission is unable to get the license fee increase from the legislature that the PGC and most hunters want.

On the one hand, this self-defeating complaining and tearing up of doe tags is pretty much insane behavior, and a complete waste of one’s own precious time on Planet Earth.

On the other hand, that someone is so passionate about hunting and wildlife is a good thing. The question is, can this guy and the thousands of other unhappy hunters like him be educated about scientific deer management? Or are they so close-minded and emotional about this subject that they are immune to empirical evidence, logic and reason?

One result of our state’s scientific wildlife management is that we are now a major trophy hunting destination. Previously unthinkably enormous bucks and gigantic bears are within reach of those who are willing to hunt hard and smart. Bucks that rival and surpass those of the “best” whitetail states in the Mid-West. Black bears that are as big as Alaskan grizzlies. These are tangible signs of policy success, and that Pennsylvania is now an outdoor Promised Land after decades of hunters being happy with a pathetic forkhorn or even a spike buck.

On my westward drive along I-80 last week, and my drive south yesterday, from northwest Lycoming County down to Dauphin County, I saw dozens of dead deer littering the sides of the roads. Actually there were so many that I lost count. There may have been a hundred dead deer along the roads. Including along very rural roads in areas where many older guys complain there “ain’t no deer.” Obviously there are a lot of deer in these places, because they are not all being killed on the highway. These dead deer are the fruit of deer-car collisions, a very expensive and dangerous result of an overabundant deer population.

To be fair to the complaining hunters, the PA deer population in these places may be too high for the road system and not high enough for hunters’ desires. That is a very real possibility. It may be that the Pennsylvania road system is just too big, too widespread into rural areas, to allow many deer to survive into the Fall hunting season.

No, we are not going to shut down the public roads to stop the carnage, though it would make sense for Pennsylvania to put a moratorium brake on road building. We taxpayers cannot afford the operations and maintenance costs on the roads and bridges we have now, let along on any new roads and bridges. PennDot must re-direct its energies into safely maintaining the infrastructure we already have, like how about wildlife tunnels? And if the deer-car collisions are any indication, our public road system has been poorly planned and badly implemented; it has spiderwebbed out into the most rural areas and wildlife habitats. Thereby inviting expensive car collisions with wildlife.

I think this unhappy hunter situation is going to be like the ancient Hebrews’ 40 years in the desert. The older generation that cannot adapt to changing habitat, changing deer behavior, changing land use patterns and changing hunting methods is going to have to die off. Then the younger generation can get in the driver’s seat on deer management policy.

The younger generation understands and values science and biology in setting policy, like doe harvest tags, the crucial importance of getting buy-in and acceptance from the larger society around us (people unhappy about hitting overabundant deer; in Europe hunters are personally responsible for keeping wildlife populations at safe levels), the need to be multifaceted and flexible when hunting deer, etc. These complaining hunters represent the ex-slave mentality of those Hebrews who left Egypt and who could not learn to live as free men. Moses could not let them enter the Promised Land because they would infect everyone with foolish ideas and weakness. That would put the entire effort at risk. So he kept them wandering until that generation died out.

Sorry, old complaining guys, you are living in a broken past. You are slaves to an unproven, non-scientific, failed approach to wildlife management. If you cannot change your mindset and embrace reality, then you will be remembered as the lost generation that stood in the way of success and happiness.

And to be fair, this same broken thinking has haunted the Pennsylvania Farm Bureau’s approach to Sunday hunting. The older generation there has successfully blocked a 50% increase in hunting opportunity for decades, just because they think it is “wrong,” for no good, defensible reason. But that also is about to change, soon, as the fed-up younger generation of farmers, including religious Mennonites, takes this important policy issue in hand and directly bucks the older guys standing in the way of family success and happiness.

To enter the Promised Land, you must shed your slave mentality. I hope the anti-science hunters and the anti-freedom PA Farm Bureau folks will join us as we enter a glorious new period in Pennsylvania’s outdoor heritage.

Drugs are destroying the next generation

Over the past weeks, the stories in the press and among friends and family about destructive drug use are overwhelming. Overwhelming in number and in sadness, these reports spell a problem for the next generation.

Young people in their teens, twenties, dying from drug overdoses. These are otherwise together and with-it young people, who looked forward to fulfilling careers and family life. Or going to jail, as did one young man I have known since he was born.

My own two older kids report back on their brushes with “casual” drug use, describing to their mother and I with some hilarity the carefree antics of their fellows using hard drugs and “recreational” drugs, like marijuana.

But nothing is funny about this. It is terrifying.

Yesterday I read that 33,000 Americans died from drug overdoses in 2015. This is not your grandfather’s “pot”; rather, it is an unknown witches’ brew of various toxins and addictive drugs all mixed together. Usually these mixes are designed by drug dealers to get people hooked, so they come and buy more drugs. But these mixes are killing a lot of people, or destroying their careers and their families.

At the Middle Paxton Township building this morning, I saw a flyer for an upcoming community meeting about opioid abuse. So many regular families have it.

Yesterday I sent two emails to my two daughters:

“Girls, I love you both so so so much. All your lives I’ve stayed up late comforting you when you were sick, or when you were anxious about social situations, or about school. Doing that is what fathers do, and I wish I could do it again now, because I am scared.

Now you are young adults and independent, living out of our home, and free to make even fatal decisions. Your mother and I are not near you to warn you, watch you, or stop you from making bad decisions. When your mother and I  were young, very few bad decisions we could have made carried serious risk. Smoking marijuana was smoking a dried up leaf, and it either made you feel sick, or stupid.

Today, the risks from bad decisions are huge because the outcomes are so fast and are irreversible. Someone offers you marijuana and you think “what the heck, it’s just one puff,” but you don’t know what’s in it.
You know what is in so many marijuana cigarettes today? HEROIN.

HEROIN is bad by itself, but today not even heroin is heroin. Now it’s laced with other drugs.
You can’t only “try” heroin ONCE, because that ONE TIME leaves you an addict. Your life is over after you become an addict. There is no recovery.

Everything you do after “trying” heroin and cocaine is to try to get more drugs to satisfy the craving.
Your life goes downhill immediately after you try heroin. And cocaine.
I’m writing to you right now because story after story after story is coming in from news reports and from family and from friends about how the “little” drugs led to more powerful drugs, which led to the end of someone’s life. People we know, kids like you.

Kids who felt indestructible.
Bulletproof.
Indomitable.
Healthy.

On Friday I spoke with an old friend of mine. She’s a lawyer. She’s now a drug addict, getting divorced, losing her home, losing the man who loved her, losing her profession.

She said “Josh, I am so so scared. I have nowhere to go.”

The result of trying cocaine and heroin is either death, or drug addiction so powerful that the young person can no longer function at a professional or self-sustaining level.

Life is about making wise choices, smart choices. Drug use, illegal behavior, risky behavior like driving fast or walking alone, and sexual behavior have never before carried so much potential to destroy everything you and I have worked for, for your own success, so quickly.

DO NOT EVEN TRY DRUGS. There is no benefit to them at all.

NO DRUG IS COOL.

NO DRUG IS SAFE.

LEAVE THE COMPANY OF PEOPLE WHO USE DRUGS.

These people will pressure you to join them in their stupidity and misery, and your life will forever be over in the one second it takes for you to “just try” it.

MAKE SMART DECISIONS.

I love you both so very very much.
-Dad”

 

Garden as metaphor, Part 3…or 4

Can anyone think of a better metaphor for life as a human than a garden?

All the planning, selecting, planting, nurturing, stoking, prodding, coaxing, frustration, re-planting, and finally, after all the work and with some luck, the harvesting of fresh food…this is all just like the bigger things in our lives.

Lately it has been difficult to ignore some generational changes afoot that simply cannot bode well for our nation, now or in the future.

Where debate historically involved logic, facts, and reasoning, a great deal of what is represented as debate is simple ridicule, mockery, dismissiveness.

Few things demonstrate the weakness of an argument more than the use of ridicule and mockery, or name-calling. Yet the Internet is full of this waste of time. Because of my own passion for and involvement in tough policy issues, I am really interested to hear separate points of view from people, and spirited debate, give-and-take, is part of that process. This process is what makes Western Civilization so unique and so precious.

Dismissiveness assumes all will be well, no matter what, irrespective of actions or behaviors across the landscape.

In my observation, the younger generations are much more inclined to forgo logic and facts, and are more inclined to leap into name calling and ridicule in their online debates. This just cannot bode well for American democracy, which is based on the use of logic, reason, and facts. How our citizens expect to hold on to their Constitutional rights and liberties, and yet allow debate to be dominated by juvenile behavior is not wild speculation. Already we have witnessed the erosion of individual liberties at the hands of judges who don’t care what the US Constitution says, or what their particular state constitution says; their basis for decisions making is purely personal, or political.

So go grow a garden, fellow citizens. Tending even a small garden helps us work physical and mental muscles that atrophy easily. It builds small but important personal traits that are needed on a much bigger scale. Tending, cultivating, and nurturing all build basic skills necessary for us to function well as individuals and for our civilization to succeed on the whole.

The alternative – relying on everyone else for everything else we need, and ridiculing the rest – is a recipe for disaster.