October 26, 2018
Listen: Potter Talks Policy with Governor Rauner
Photo by Mark Goebel/flickr
McGraw President and CEO Charlie Potter recently hosted Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner on his weekly “Great Outdoors” show on WGN Radio. Charlie and the governor discussed environmental policy as it relates to natural resources in the state, and the need to preserve the outdoor heritage.

Listen Here
It’s Time for Hikers to Stop Hating on Hunters
By Steven Rinella/Outside
Photo by Edwin Bellota/flicr
It’s tempting for those of us who love the outdoors to think of ourselves as belonging to one of two groups. There’s my own crew of sportsmen and women, known as the hook and bullet crowd; and then there’s the  outdoor recreationists  or “nonconsumptive users,” a term for hikers, climbers, kayakers, birders, mountain bikers, and others who might enjoy being around wild creatures without ever eating one for dinner.

From cold shoulders at the trailhead to outright hostility, the tension between these groups can be traced back to at least 1903, when the preservationist  John Muir  asked President Theodore Roosevelt, a dedicated hunter, when he was going to get beyond “the boyishness of killing things”—a glib question to put to a man whose hands-on relationship with nature later inspired him to protect about 230 million acres of American land.

Even today, while I spend as much time and effort advocating on behalf of wildlife habitat as I do hunting in it, some people who spot me with my rifle are never going to imagine anything but a callous hick who inflicts suffering on animals while littering backcountry roads with beer cans.

After 14 Years, Oil Spill May Become Nation’s Worst
By Darryl Fears/The Washington Post
Photo by argusphotos/flickr
An oil spill that has been quietly leaking millions of barrels into the Gulf of Mexico has gone unplugged for so long that it now verges on becoming one of the worst offshore disasters in U.S. history.

Between 300 and 700 barrels of oil per day have been spewing from a site 12 miles off the Louisiana coast since 2004, when an oil-production platform owned by Taylor Energy sank in a mudslide triggered by Hurricane Ivan. Many of the wells have not been capped, and federal officials estimate that the spill could continue through this century. With no fix in sight, the Taylor offshore spill is threatening to overtake BP’s Deepwater Horizon disaster as the largest ever.

How Hurricane Affected
Quail Country
By T. Edward Nickens/Garden & Gun
Photo by Torrey Wiley/flickr
Hurricane Michael’s fury was well documented by news reports of the tragic damage along the Florida Panhandle coast. But after the storm ravaged Gulf beaches, it moved north into hallowed Southern quail hunting country. The brunt of the storm skirted to the west of the famed Red Hills region between Tallahassee, Florida and Thomasville, Georgia, arcing toward the Albany quail plantation belt, which comprises about a half-dozen counties south of Albany, Georgia, and is known as a stronghold for wild quail. Along its path it pounded pine forests that had been carefully stewarded for decades. Many plantations lost 50 percent or more of their soaring conifers.

Michael’s eye passed just a few miles west of Georgia’s  Pine Hill Plantation , a lodge that offers classic horseback and mule-drawn wild bird hunts. “There were 115 mile-per-hour straight-line winds in Donalsonville, twenty miles north of here,” says Doug Coe, the plantation’s owner. “Honestly, we’re lucky things weren’t worse.” 

That’s the story across the area: A general sigh of relief that plantation lodges were largely spared debilitating structural damage, but grieving over the pummeling meted out to these ancient and famed pine savannahs.

Losing Wildlife is Scary. Indifference is Scarier Yet.
By Dennis Anderson/Star Tribune
Photo by Kentish Plumber/flickr
In a world that rewards convenience over challenge and comfort above all else, hunting — which fundamentally is an exercise in natural-food gathering — remains the rare pastime that is both physically demanding and intellectually stimulating.

Those who doubt the latter should try someday to outwit wild animals that hone their survival instincts 24 hours a day, seven days a week, year-round. Pheasants are such a species, as are deer, ruffed grouse and waterfowl, ducks particularly.

Yet the topic today is not so much the difficulties hunters did or did not encounter. The larger issue is the remarkable — and scary — indifference with which the general public greets news of species declines, including the pheasant’s, whose population ups and downs bear a direct relationship to farmland health, measured by habitat availability and especially insect abundance.

“Through almost all of human existence, huntable land and huntable wildlife have preceded the hunter. They caused the hunter. But in the future this must be reversed. It is the hunter who must cause huntable land and wildlife, and a world worth
being young in.” 

- John Madson
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