Without hunters would there be more wildlife or less?
Plumas County Fish and Game Commission member Dave Valle says less. “Overall, if you look all across the United States, the No. 1 way to raise money to save creatures is the sale of hunting licenses.”
The local Fish and Game Commission, funded by the Department of Fish and Game, will provide lunch and a prize drawing for the youth who participate Oct. 15 in this year’s Junior Pheasant Hunt in Sierra Valley.
Valle wants people to know, “It’s a safe event, with lots of volunteers.” There will be morning and afternoon hunting sessions. Hunting dogs will be on hand for teaching and practice for young hunters who do not have their own dogs.
“The key is habitat,” Valle explained, when asked to defend hunting. “Animals need a place to survive. Hunters make a huge contribution to preserving habitats for wildlife.”
Valle explained that some of the money from hunting licenses, including those required of youth, is used to provide habitats such as the Crocker Meadow Wildlife Area, five miles east of Portola and three miles north of Beckwourth. Hunting of deer, pig, tree squirrel, waterfowl, quail, grouse and dove is allowed there, depending on season.
The area is also open to hiking, photography and bird watching. The 1,732-acre Crocker Meadow, one of 110 wildlife areas in California, provides ideal conditions for deer foraging and fawning. It also allows a migratory path for animals to move freely from the Lake Davis area to Sierra Valley.
“Beyond the funds that are raised for all these organizations — Trout Unlimited, Pheasants Forever — all these organizations are environmental groups with the purpose of giving assistance to creatures.” These groups generate volunteerism and education.
Valle said he teaches his students at Portola High School that “Everything we put into our mouth is something that is dead.” He spoke about the circle of life that is not appreciated, and how the youth of modern society often miss out on experiencing a connection with the natural world. Most hunters, he said, “have a passion to keep the creatures around. They feel real connected.”
Junior hunters must be under the age of 16, and have a Junior Hunting License. Call Valle at 832-0347 to reserve a spot.
The hunting event is free, but all hunters must purchase a license. The funds from licenses ($86 million in 2009) is what helps keep the habitat healthy. Happy hunting depends on healthy critters. That’s how the game goes.