News for Hunters*
How would you like to see game here in the Red River valley
just as prolific as it once was back in the 'good old days'?
I know: you’re thinking it's impossible considering the
way they farm these days in the valley: no soil bank, no shelter
belts, and hardly a stick left standing after fall plowing.
Why even the trees of the old deserted farmsteads are being
bulldozed and burned to squeeze that extra few sheckels worth
of profit out of the gumbo.
they get done in the fall there’s hardly cover enough
to shelter a snow bird, much less a pheasant.
that's pretty much true, but I’m not talking about pheasants,
partridges, or sharp tails; I’m talking about the exotic
new species that are evolving right now and adapting themselves
to conditions here in the valley brought about by modern corporate
farming and sprawling urbanization.
these new species might very well revolutionize all hunting
in the valley as we know it, and bring back the hunting tourist
industry even better than it once was back in the 50's. Why
not examine the possibilities of a few of these new species
to better understand what I'm talking about.
it is reported that new York, the city that gave us the stool
pigeon and the gutter snipe has recently evolved a new breed
called the pavement pecker. Pavement peckers hate vegetation
of any kind and thrive on either blacktop or concrete. This
makes them easily adaptable to the modern style of hunting.
That's right; no walking necessary.
mount a couple of 12 gauge automatics on the front fenders of
your SUV; When the pecker raises his impertinent head, remove
it with a broad side. Yes, the pavement pecker should completely
revolutionize road hunting, which is the method of choice among
many of today's tough young outdoors men.
the flavor of the pavement pecker isn’t exactly gourmet,
consider what an iron chef can do with a carp. He’ll find
a way to get that asphalt taste to seem delicious.
promising new breed is the Kansas spraddle-footed clod clutcher.
This mutant weighs about five pounds and can live solely on
dirt. It has been steadily replacing quail in Kansas, and last
year became their number one game bird.
clod clutcher should be ideally suited for survival here in
the valley, where a naturalist can often gaze out across the
fields for ten miles and never see anything but clods from October
through April. Just dirt. Not a tree nor a bush in sight.*
far there hasn’t been much demand for clutchers as table
fare, but Ewell Gibbons informs us that like the fence post
and the lightening rod, 'some parts are edible.'
reports another promising new breed which might well be of interest
to hunters nation-wide-- the iron-billed litter snapper. Litter
snappers need only road ditch refuse to survive. They thrive
on anything from broken glass to beer cans. They do present
a major challenge to hunters though, because they have iron
feathers and it takes a head shot to bring one down unless your
armed with a ten gauge with 00 buck.
are also said to have the unfortunate habit of praying on hunting
dogs, and have even been known to attack motor cycles and snow
mobiles. This is not out of hunger or anger, but rather out
of love. You see, the wail of such contraptions much resembles
the mating call of these creatures, and they are very much into
the way, if you should be so lucky as to bag one of these snappers,
don't try to pick it. These have to be cracked, much like a
crab leg or a bad joke. The flavor is quite distinctive--sort
of a combination of banana peel, stale beer, aluminum foil and
McDonald's wrappers. But, with the price of steak these days,
who can be choosy?
from right here in the valley comes a report of a new bird,
the scoop snouted snirt skimmer. They were first seen during
the dust bowl, but lately they have been finding habitat much
to their liking right here in North Dakota.
as their name implies, live on the eroded soil in ditches along
side fields lacking the proper ground cover suitable for erosion
control. Of course when proper conservation techniques are employed--such
as shelter belts and cover crops–the pheasants and the
partridges come back. And these are mortal enemies of the muddy-tasting
snirt birds. They usually kill them off in a season or two.
are but a few of the amazing new mutant adaptations being improvised
by ingenious old Ma Nature--new exotics which should keep road
hunters shooting and Ewell Gibbons eating for years to come.
in the 70's when this column first appeared, there was very
little minimum till ground cover left after harvest, just deep
plowing and in the spring the road ditches were often loaded
with silt that had blown off the fields during the winter. Now
spring presents us with an even more ominous problem--ditches
full of fast-moving water the product of tiling, ditching and
the removal of all of nature's natural flooding dampers. Pot
holes are drained or filled and low spots in fields filled.
Everybody down stream gets treated to the consequences. i.e.
floods. But that's progress; we dare not stand in its way.