September 2010
Happy Hunting Ground

Happy Hunting Ground

Global Warming. New Ice Age. These are the phrases that have been tossed around by the media, talk show hosts and government officials for several years now. Personally, I’m getting sick of it.

Those of us who consider ourselves outdoorsmen here in Alabama have been dealing with these weather conditions all of our lives. When I was a boy, I went on many a camping trip during the summer and heat was just a way of life. We not only had to contend with the intense heat, but also the insects and snakes flourishing in a tropic-like environment. But hey, that’s what the South is all about, isn’t it? The heat is why older Northerners come down here to retire, because they are tired of the cold winters. As I’ve heard one Southern comedian say, this August is like last August, which is just like the month of August was 100 years ago (or something to that effect) and he emphasized next August will probably be hot and humid as well. To us Alabama hunters, it’s not global warming, it’s August (geeeze!).

Now let’s talk about winter for a minute. I have heard it said that because of our humidity the winters feel colder than they do up north. Now I don’t know if that’s true or not because it’s one of those things I’ve always heard, but really never talked with a person who could confirm or deny that fact. The closest I can come is from a friend of mine who told me he was in Canada to hunt whitetails on camera and they couldn’t shoot the deer they wanted because the camera was frozen! Although I personally have frozen on many a hunting stand here at home in Alabama, I have never had any of my equipment freeze.

I spent the first ten years of my life in Wyoming where the wind blows constantly; where we used to say we had two seasons, July and winter; where the biggest snowfall I’ve ever seen in my life was on Mother’s Day weekend and I swear the coldest I’ve ever been in my life was working a cattle sale for a friend of mine in January in Lexington, AL. I have felt frozen to death only to discover the temperature was a mere 42o. So, I don’t know if the old saying is true or not, but let’s agree on one thing, cold is COLD and hot is HOT.

Those of us who spend hours and hours in the outdoors know, here in Alabama, we experience global warming in the summer and global cooling in the winter. Not too long ago, I was sitting on my front porch (I would love to tell you I was out in the woods, but it’s just too darn hot) and remarking that last winter I was sitting in the exact same spot watching my daughter play in nearly a foot of snow and now I was sitting there looking at the same yard, the same trees and the same street, and it was over 100o and stifling hot.

Some of us scoff at the old global warming comments and, trying to sound as wise as possible, comment that all things are cyclical and it’s nothing out of the ordinary for our dear Mother Earth. We just happen to be on the planet at this time, etc, etc. when they come at us with a new catch phrase, "Extreme Weather Conditions."

They got me on that one. I might be able to argue about the causes and sound like I really know what I’m talking about, but I cannot argue about the term. Not when I’m sitting in the same spot and either freezing or drenched with sweat.

What is causing this "Extreme Weather Conditions"? Darned if I know. There are a few things I feel pretty sure of though. First, I don’t think the methane emissions from cattle have anything to do with it. Ever been around a dedicated human vegetarian? Cows ain’t alone if you know what I mean.

Although mankind is guilty of wiping many a species from the face of the earth and nearly wiping out several more, I don’t think there is much man can do to mess this planet up that, given time, she can’t fix herself. The Good Lord made it that way and He knows a whole lot more about creating miracles than we do.

I think it is cyclical and, years from now, it’ll go the other way. (I seem to remember some conversations back in the seventies about global cooling, but I’m not sure.)

In the meantime, let’s take care of each other, stay inside during "Extreme Weather Conditions" and be glad we aren’t one of those creatures living in the woods every day and night of the year, rain or shine, hot or cold, and manage to do just fine without having to come and knock on our doors begging to be let in just so they can seek refuge from the "Extreme Weather Conditions" their species have been living with for longer than any of us can remember. Hmmmm…maybe there is a lesson here.