Monday, December 20, 2010

Better start working on Plan B

Fall a thousand years ago in an area known as ohi-yo’ a man dressed in brown and tan animal skins picked up an almost straight stick with a flint arrowhead on one end and a notch at the other. Feathers were glued and tied just ahead of the notch with animal residue and sinew.

He was hidden behind a few leafy branches he'd carefully positioned downwind of deer approaching the waterhole from the trail.

As a deer approached the man carefully calculated the range, pulled back the bowstring and sighted along the arrow at the deer's heart.

Last fall in Ohio a man dressed in Mossy Oak Camouflage pattern picked up a nano-carbon shaft arrow with a nock at the back that would light up from the inertia of being fired from his single-cam aluminum and carbon compound bow. The arrowhead was a mechanical titanium broadhead with four razor sharp articulating blades that would expand at the instant of impact.

He was hidden in the portable folding blind he'd unfolded downwind of the waterhole. But he wasn't worried about the deer catching his scent because he'd sprayed his clothing and equipment with a scent blocking chemical. His Kestrel weather meter gave a digital readout of wind speed and temperature.

As a deer approached the man checked the digital range finder on his bow as he brought the bowstring to full draw with his wrist mechanical flight release.

The hunter lined up the middle pin of his seven pin illuminated bow sight on the deer's heart.

So what do ancient and modern bow hunters have to do with you ?

Remember that guy you knew who only thought he knew how to play the guitar? Well I found him. He's playing background music in the hunting videos on the Outdoor and Sportsman Channels.

These half hour long shows on satellite and cable TV range from 30 minute hunting gear infomercials to halfway decent shows wherein the stars go out of their way to mention the brands (sponsors) of the hunting gear they're using.

The Crush with Lee and Tiffany on the Outdoor (OTDCH) channel actually has some production values and is entertaining enough to be worth watching either on TV or their website.

Family Traditions with Haley Heath on the Sportsman (SPMAN) channel is another good one where wife and kids play a big role in the shows.

So why am I offering to reunite you with the garage band legend in his own mind guitar hero?

Despite all the modern gear I went to such great lengths to link to for you; modern bow hunters using fair chase methods often don't even see a deer within shooting range and many times miss their shots when they do. One reason experienced hunters "go bow" is that they get a third hunting seasons (besides firearm & muzzle loader) each fall.

The other reason these knowledgeable hunters choose to bow hunt is that with modern firearms, cartridges, rangefinders and scopes fair chase hunting with a gun is just too easy.

It won't be that way in another depression. To feed their families people will take whatever game they can get any way they can get it legal or otherwise.

Even before the Great Depression predation by humans wiped out some species and came close to exterminating others.

With traps, snares and iron-sighted firearms Depression Era hunters swept the land clean of wildlife:

PARKERSBURG - Many wonder how they will get by if the current economic times get worse, but for those who lived through the Great Depression, self-sufficiency was the key during the hardest of times.


"People were self-sufficient in those times. They had to be. There wasn't much money anywhere. People improvised. They raised their own food and traded for what they needed. People survived. But even before the depression, people weren't used to having much. If it gets that bad now, I don't know what people would do, they aren't used to that. It would be a completely different world for them," Stanley said.

He said most everyone had a garden to sustain their families.


When Amma resident Howard Carper Jr. was a boy in the late 1930s and early 1940s, he and his family survived on what the land would provide and little else.


Every day after school, Carper and his older brother, the late Roscoe Carper Sr., scoured the woods near the farm for whatever small game they could find. There were no deer in that area then, so they kept the family fed with small game.


Carper said the boys learned a great deal about animals. They learned how they behaved and knew where they lived.

"The groundhogs, muskrats, squirrels, rabbits, possums, skunks and raccoons sure had a hard time when me and Roscoe was boys," Carper said.

Their hunting style bears little resemblance to most hunting today. It was Depression-era hunting, hunting that the family not only relied on for sustenance, but with a maxim of shooting only when absolutely necessary.

Larger animals, such as raccoons, Roscoe dispatched with the .22 rifle. Squirrels, however, the younger Carper brother sometimes killed with his bare hands. Shells, after all, cost money. Minor injuries from bites did not.


Just as in Parkersburg, Carper said there was virtually no actual money circulating in the Roane County economy. Muskrat hides, however, were an unofficial legal tender in Roane County. He traded 13 muskrat hides for his first rifle, a .22 single-shot Winchester.


Luxuries most hunters enjoy, such as warm clothing and Thermos bottles of hot coffee, were unknown, Carper said.


Depression era remembered

Some people made a living hunting and trapping during the last depression.

Even today some people continue poaching deer and fish illegally.

U.S. population was between 121,000,000 and 133,000,000 from 1929 to 1941 with a large percentage living on farms Can you imagine what will happen to game and non-game populations if some large percentage of our present day population of over 300,000,000 Americans turns to hunting/poaching to feed their families?

If moving from a bungalow in the burbs to a bunker in the bush and living off the land was your Great Depression Survival Plan A you'd better start working on Plan B.

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