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