‘City boy’ in waders

In the field. Perhaps my blue hat accounts for the fact that only one duck was taken that morning.

Sure, I consider myself an outdoorsman. I hike, I fish, and on the balance, I’d rather be out under the sun than languishing under these fluorescent lights.

But hunting? That’s new to me.

A big thanks to the folks at Woody’s by the River for allowing photographer Craig Sanders and I to accompany a half-dozen youth and their adult chaperones on a Feb. 2 duck hunt. Here’s the story┬áthat appeared in Sunday’s Record.

Applying ash from a burned wine cork. Not sure I really got the idea; most of the guys applied it selectively in streaks, while I pretty much smeared it all over my face.

I didn’t actually hunt, of course. This was a weekend for youth only; none of the adults could participate, much as they would have liked to.

Still, I got a sense of the kind of dedication it takes to carry on this tradition.

The peg for the story is the fact that new Census data shows a rebound in hunting, to levels last seen in the early 1990s. Good news for these guys, though a couple of caveats apply.

First, the numbers in question are national in scope. State-specific hunting numbers are expected to be released in the next couple of months. That’s when we’ll find out what the trend is in California.

Secondly, I got a press release this morning reporting a decrease specifically in duck hunting (the Census numbers looked primarily at overall hunting), and warning of the consequences should fewer folks buy duck stamps and therefore less funding be available for conservation projects.

Bottom line: The Census numbers are a snapshot. We don’t know why they’re up and we don’t know if it’ll last. The folks I spoke with, however, are pleased.

Conquering hero? No way.

One of my goals for 2013 is to write more stories about how real humans use or enjoy the world and its resources. Not just policy and political stuff — not that that’s not important. At the end of the day, though, most environment issues are best explained through the experiences of those who use/study/protect our resources.

If you’ve got any suggestions, please let me know.

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    Alex Breitler

    A native of Benicia, he lives in Stockton with his wife, Ann, who forces him to go backpacking in the Sierra Nevada or Trinity Alps at every opportunity. He has been writing mostly about natural resources since 2003, first in Redding and now in ... Read Full
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