Ohio’s fall hunting season begins on September 1, with or without further thought.
However, let us remember that as predator and prey are part of the natural state of life, the hunt never ends. September 1, then, represents more of a technicality, an annual limit that humans decided they would have to set for themselves.
Squirrels, one of the earliest games to be played, used to be eaten by people who lived off the land, meaning farmers, trappers, poachers, and hermits. Squirrel meat can be tasty and satisfy the need for protein.
But the latest US census shows that rural residents continue to move off the land into metropolitan areas, where they find plenty of untouchable squirrels and a seemingly endless supply of Big Macs available for money and little effort.
Although they are exempt from becoming victims of the hunt, subway squirrels can end up as collateral damage of life in the city. How many squirrels have died under the wheels of a vehicle speeding to pick up a Big Mac or its equivalent? It is likely to end up as dinner on the plates of hunting families in any given year.
A second thought: only human hunters require restrictions like seasons, bag limits, and species selectivity. The need for regulation became apparent more than a century ago when hunted animals became harder to find and soon after began disappearing from places where they were common.
The regulations came too late to save some of the state’s inhabitants, including bison and eastern elk. Human beings, being adaptable omnivores, find substitutes for what they end up with, so cows and pigs took their place. Currently, wildlife makes up only an estimated 4% of the biomass of terrestrial species on the planet, the other 96% comprising people, livestock and other junk.
In short, Big Macs are not threatened by regulation, although their advertised main ingredient could one day be if nothing real is done to reverse climate change and protect wildlife.
Predatory creatures face starvation, starvation, and death when their numbers become too great for the food supply; and a recent study suggests that the stress of being close to death, like that felt by a rabbit that has escaped the panting breath of a chasing fox or a giraffe from a scratching lion, triggers life-altering fear and results in less hatchability. in the traumatized animal. Fewer copies of prey means less food for the predator.
While most predators are forced to follow the dictates of nature, the dominant omnivore who invents tools with which to kill, not to mention produce food on demand, has come to believe the exceptional biological uniqueness that can dictate nature. The evidence is not yet complete.
One final thought: The fact that people can declare hunting season open or closed, like in a fast-food restaurant, suggests that the approach we’re taking to the world around us isn’t entirely natural.
You can imagine the liberated spirit of Daniel Boone, who lived in a time and place where hunters could pretty much do whatever they wanted, cringing at what’s happening today. Boone, however, might as well concede that this time and place isn’t much like his own.