Tuesday, October 20, 2015

The Florida bear hunting debate - an op-ed for the Tampa Tribune

If you watch debates about hunting all over the country, which I do because the future of hunting matters to me A LOT, you'll see a pattern: bear hunting is under attack.

It's an issue because bear populations are thriving, and everywhere state game agencies try to re-open bear seasons or increase quotas, the Humane Society of the United States argues that their science is all wrong and the population increases are a figment of their imaginations.

Right. Tell that to anyone who lives in bear country.

This Saturday, Florida opens its first bear season since 1994, and the anti-hunting hysteria is thick, so I decided to wade in with a little commentary on the subject. You can read it here in the Tampa Tribune.

© Holly A. Heyser 2015

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

What early teal season looks like: an interactive map

We don't have an early teal season in California, so I actually have no clue what it looks like.

But I do know how to find where all the action is: All you have to do is look at band recoveries, so I did just that, just for funsies, because I'm an OCD Dutch Virgo data nerd.

The map below is all the banded teal recovered by hunters in September of 2014 (data for 2015 isn't yet available). The color coding is really complex: Blue dots are blue-winged teal, green dots are green-wings and red dots are cinnamons. Click on the dot and you can see how old the bird was and where it was banded - you can even click through to its banding location.

One caveat: Sometimes the map will show birds being shot in weird locations, or in places where they shouldn't be shot, as in not in season. Keep in mind that all recovery information is reported by humans who might be confused about what they're reporting (the USGS Bird Banding Laboratory wants to know where you shot the bird, not where you live), imprecise (I've seen banded birds allegedly shot at busy urban intersections), or merely cagey ("I ain't putting no X on no stinkin' map!").

But imperfect as it is, it's still fun stuff. Enjoy!


© Holly A. Heyser 2015

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Lead ammo ban: Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

When I wrote five years ago about giving up lead ammo for hunting, some of my readers called me a traitor and collaborator with the enemies of hunting.

When I woke about it again in this month's column for Shotgun Life, I waited for the onslaught and ... nothing.

Is everyone over it, or have folks been too busy hunting doves? Either way, feel free to hop on over to Shotgun Life and let me know!

© Holly A. Heyser 2015

Saturday, August 1, 2015

My bird of regret - a column for Shotgun Life

You never know what's going to capture your imagination the most when you hunt strange birds in a strange place. The bird that did that for me in New Zealand earlier this summer is the subject of my latest column for Shotgun Life.

© Holly A. Heyser 2015

Monday, July 6, 2015

You should see what this duck hunter is doing for ducks!

"Got any stuff I can film this week?" I asked my coworker at California Waterfowl.

"Yeah, wanna go out with this wheat farmer tomorrow?" she replied.

"Sure!" I said. I actually had no idea that what this guy was doing would bring me to tears, repeatedly, as I worked on this video. If you care one shred about ducks, ducklings and giving back to nature, I hope you'll check it out. People are doing great things out there!

And if you're reading this by email and don't see a video below (Craig F.!), click on this link to check it out.

© Holly A. Heyser 2015