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Size Matters: Horses, HMAs, Sanctuaries and Reserves

Size matters when it comes to wild horses, HMAs, sanctuaries and reserves.

In Sketches Here and There, Aldo Leopold described his moment of grace. After shooting a wolf from the rim rock in Arizona he recalls, “We reached the old wolf in time to watch a fierce green fire dying in her eyes… there was something new to me in those eyes – something known only to her and to the mountain.”1

Recent revelations about the suffering and loss of equine life at the International Society to Protect Mustangs & Burros have me reflecting again about the hubris of human kind. While being “protected,” dozens of formerly wild horses have starved to death, suffering untold disease and neglect. It’s a big case, but not an isolated one. Numbers, costs soar in wild-horse controversy, Rapid City Journal, Oct 14, 2016

 

dead-horse-size-matters-HMA-santuary

 

ISPMB has, at last count, 810 horses on 680 acres near Lantry, SD. The ISPMB herd was and is a failed experiment in self-regulation. Supposedly, the horses would not breed past their food allowance. It was expected that some would starve. They bred, and even now continue top breed  and when the money and food ran out it became a horror show.

 

Wild horse advocate and ecologist Craig Downer has put forth the idea that horses will self regulate if predators are in the environment. That presumes that the reserve (as he diplomatically avoides the word sanctuary2) is in a topographical environment large enough to allow seasonal migration and also contains and can sustain numerous mountain lions or large, experienced wolf packs.

 

Size Matters

Thousands of tourists flock to Yellowstone Park each year. The park’s advertising campaign last year, “Find Your Park” was so successful that a park representative this year suggested their pitch be “Find Another Park.”

What’s been learned over the past century is that even Yellowstone Park at 3,468 square miles is not large enough to provide a healthy ecosystem for the magnificent fauna that live there. This led to the establishment of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, linking Teton and the interstitial areas, increasing the size a thousand percent to 34,375 square miles. Kruger National Park in South Africa pales at only 7,532 square miles, while the stunning ecosystem of the Okavanga Delta has been transformed into the Kavango-Zambezi Transfrontier Conservation Area 17,8415 square miles.3

In the case of ISPMB, one has to wonder about the sanity of attempting a self-regulating environment for 810 mega fauna on 680 acres. From Heisenberg to Hegel, it’s not a new idea removing an object from its environment changes everything.

Gifford Pinchot, the first chief of the US Forest Service, and a founder of the Yale School of Forestry was a close advisor to Teddy Roosevelt, who understood the need for large, unaltered landscapes. Pinchot was instrumental in establishing the national forests and parks we enjoy today, due to his understanding that size matters. In 1905, when Pinchot became chief, federal forests totaled 56 million acres. In 1910, only five years later he left the service with 172 million acres as federal forest land.4

When it comes to mega fauna what is known is: 1. Almost impossibly large tracts of land with varying topography are required for a healthy ecosystem. 2. That we can’t divorce a species from its ecosystem and expect it to self-regulate the way it does in that ecosystem. 3. Horses are mega fauna requiring many, many square miles and the ability to migrate.

In my opinion, this is the downfall of the HMA (Horse Management Area) system as created by the Wild Free-Roaming Horse & Burro Act of 1971. Interestingly, today we just call it the Wild Horse & Burro Act. The “Free-Roaming” part seems to have gotten lost.

In an interview with author Paula Morin, Tom Marvel of the famed Marvel ranch of Nevada recalls wild horses migrating from Austin, NV all the way to Battle Mountain, with the only fences in Nevada being along the railroad. He said it took about a year for them to make the run up and back, a migration route of about a hundred miles each way.5

Today wild horses are confined to the artificial boundaries of HMAs that are between roughly 25,000 and 500,000 acres. And yes, there is some migration happening between HMAs and USFS land that are adjacent, and yes the horses do wander off the HMAs onto other holdings. Now, not only are the great migrations that allowed horses, like other ungulates, to move with the seasons not allowed, much of the land the HMAs occupy have other uses. Human development, ranching, mining and extraction are all effecting resources and water tables.

Do I have a simple answer? Of course not. However now more than ever, it’s vitally important to realize some source infinitely more intelligent than us has created a system so diverse, complex and inter-dependent and we should fall on our knees in beauty and wonder. We should be earnestly learning all we can before it disappears forever. There is almost no place on earth, and certainly no place in North America where the natural landscape has not been negatively impacted, if not irrevocably damaged by man. Now more than ever, there’s no place for ego, hubris or profit at all costs.

 

  1. A Sand County Almanac, Leopold, Aldo; Estella Leopold. New York: Oxford University Press, 1949
  2. Oxford definition: 1 [mass noun] Refuge or safety from pursuit, persecution, or other danger. 2 A nature reserve. 2.1 A place where injured or unwanted animals of a specified kind are cared for. 3 A holy place; a temple.)
  3. Various sources, easily verified.
  4. http://connecticuthistory.org/gifford-pinchot-bridging-two-eras-of-national-conservation/
  1. Honest Horses, Paula Morin. University of Nevada Press (February 13, 2006

Wild Horses and Trailer Loading

Wild Horses and Trailer Loading:

Solving Wild Horse and Burro problems is a lot like teaching my mustang to trailer load.

 

 

Because early on we had a wreck where she fell, we’ve been working on trailer loading for a very long time now. I’ve gotten a lot of advice and been offered a lot of help. But I don’t want to just get my horse the hell in the trailer. I want calm, controlled stepping up, and calm, quiet, controlled backing out. On command. She’s big and I don’t want to get killed. We’ve spent hours learning to take one step at a time, wherever I indicate, on the command, “Step.” Forward and back, stepping on and off platforms, stepping over poles, forward, back and sideways. Why? Because she wanted to move 10 steps for every one I asked for. Horses are gross movers, which is how we get hurt.

We’ve had everything but those hind feet in and out of various trailers probably 1000 times. She was still afraid to put those back feet in. It was time to try something different. I put her in a pipe stall and backed up the trailer.

 

On day 1, after about an hour of confinement in the pipe stall, she went in, got her groceries, TRIED to turn around but was blocked by the barrels and ultimately figured it out and backed, nervous but quietly.

 

Day 2 and 3 ummmmm… No. I fed just enough to keep her from colicking.

 

Day 4, after about an hour, finally, Yes. Nice bucket of groceries, nice calm backing out, and she got to go out with her friends for the day.

 

Day 5, after 10 minutes, Yes! Bucket of groceries, backed out, nice and calm, two times! Gets to go out for the day.

 

I’m thinking, yes! We can do this! Then I realize that after 4 months, I’ve achieved only step one of the goal. I got her back feet in the trailer. Now she needs to be able to do this, on command, a hundred times. I need to be able to close the divider and the tailgate. I need to be able to move the trailer 50’ and let her out so she doesn’t feel she’s going on another 24 hour ride. I need to take her places close to home like the trailhead and the fair grounds.

 

I see the work stretch out in front of me. Elated for a minute I realize how much more there is to do, that it will be weeks, I feel discouraged. Plus, there’s no guarantee she’s going to go in tomorrow.

 

It occurs to me, this is a lot like solving wild horse problems. You think, oh, if we could just do this and this, our problem would be solved. Nope. It’s going to be a long, long road, full of steps we don’t even see yet.

How Donate Button Advocacy Works

How Donate Button Advocacy Works

How Donate Button Advocacy Works

 

The Donate Button: We’ve all done it. Opened an email to find a gut wrenching story of a starving child or abused animal, accompanied by a horrifying photo that literally breaks our heart and leaves us in tears, or so angry our blood pressure rises and our face burns.

 

You sit, sobbing, tears streaming down your face, or feeling the heat of anger rising. It’s uncomfortable. Emotions swirl through your being. What’s even more uncomfortable is that crying child or bag of bones with the sad face and pleading eyes is hundreds or thousands of miles away. There’s nothing you can do. You are powerless to change that picture. But are you?

 

At the bottom of the page is, in marketing terms, a “call to action.” The donate button. Donate Now! it says, to alleviate the suffering of these children, animals, refugees. Help us save these dolphins, horses, homeless children. Wow, you think, there IS a way I can help. You press the button, sign the petition, give your email and financial information and Whew! You feel better. The terrible discomfort is relieved and there is a sense of closure. I did something. I helped. Big sigh. You dry your tears and go on with your day.

 

This scenario goes on millions of times a day. I dare say we’ve all done it. Charities, churches, advocacy groups and scammers rely on your discomfort and their donate button to fund their budgets. Why is this so successful and just how does it work?

 

What we know from neuroscience and brain imaging can explain this common scenario. Emotions are processed deep in the older part of the brain called the amygdala1. Just like receptors for pain, that information bypasses the prefrontal cortex that controls “executive function.” In a life or death situation, we don’t have time to cogitate on whether the fire is hot, the gun is loaded or if that scary person is coming to hurt us or not. That input goes directly to the older, more instinctive areas of the brain creating the fight or flight mechanism, producing adrenalin. Most learning and rational thought fortunately is not that fraught with the same intensity. Reading a technical manual or balancing your checkbook may not be a happy chore, but unless you are suffering severe financial problems, is probably not a fear producing event and the needed skills are found in the prefrontal cortex. No amygdala needed, thank you.

 

Can you see where I’m going? The disturbing images that come with the call to action, i.e.; the donate button, hits us in our hearts. Hard. Depending on our sensitivity and where we are at that moment, we may even feel a physical ache in our heart, or falling sensation. Like a broken heart, the pain is a real, physiological event. There’s a reason for that. The amygdala and the heart are sending strong signals back and forth. And it feels terrible. Even worse, you feel powerless.

 

Powerlessness has been studied extensively and has proven to be one of the most damaging of all emotions. People can endure unbelievable hardship if they feel they have even a little power over their environment. Overcoming the feeling of powerlessness is a large component of cognitive behavioral therapy. Even mice stay healthier when they have some control over their choices!

 

So there’s a quick fix to that discomfort you’re feeling at the stories and images of tragedy, cruelty and injustice. The Donate button! The call to action! Everything in that email or Facebook post is carefully crafted, often by marketing experts, and consciously designed to go directly to your amygdala2,3 and your heart, bypassing your cortex. Not only do we fail to investigate the verity of the information, often we don’t even check to see if we have the funds in our budget to make a donation. It does not want you to think!

 

A couple of years ago I met the head of a famous and very successful animal advocacy organization whose heart wrenching emails arrived in my inbox on an almost daily basis, screaming about the terrible injustices being done, always begging for money for yet another legal action. I liked her. She was intelligent, extremely knowledgeable and very realistic about the issues. I called her out on the hysterical tone of the emails. She waved her hand dismissively and said, “Oh that’s what my marketing person says gets results.”

 

I’m not saying it’s wrong to hit that donate button and support worthy causes or agencies that are aligned with your values. It is however, your responsibility to understand how you are possibly being manipulated and research the truthfulness of the claims.

 

My call to action is for you to recognize the mechanisms of “donate button advocacy,” be conscious of the discomfort, postpone the urge to relieve that discomfort by signing the petition or sending the money, and investigate the veracity of the information first.

 

“You can make this world a better world. Yes you can, yes you can, can…” Allen Toussainte. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xV7F-JwTx_U

 

  1. http://bigthink.com/videos/the-amygdala-in-5-minutes
  2. Feelings of anxiety start with a catalyst – an environmental stimulus that provokes stress. This can include various smells, sights, and internal feelings that result in anxiety. The amygdala reacts to this stimuli by preparing to either stand and fight or to turn and run. This response is triggered by the release of adrenaline into the bloodstream. Consequently, blood sugar rises, becoming immediately available to the muscles for quick energy. Shaking may occur in an attempt to return blood to the rest of the body. A better understanding of the amygdala and its various functions may lead to a new way of treating clinical anxiety. Davis, M (1992). “The role of the amygdala in fear and anxiety”. Annual Review of Neuroscience. 15: 353–375. doi:1146/annurev.ne.15.030192.002033. PMID1575447.
  3. Studies in 2004 and 2006 showed that normal subjects exposed to images of frightened faces or faces of people from another race will show increased activity of the amygdala, even if that exposure is subliminal. Brain Activity Reflects Complexity Of Responses To Other-race Faces, Science Daily, 14 December, 2004

 

The Checkerboard

Roughly half the wild horses in Wyoming are known as the Checkerboard Horses because in the 1800’s when the railroad was being built here the government did something that in my opinion ranks as one of stupidest moves ever, one that has basically destroyed the environment of the west and from which it still has not recovered. This includes the extermination of the buffalo, all the top predators (more on that later) and of course the indigenous people. In addition to the extermination of all large native beings as well as the Passenger Pigeon (at one point one in four birds in the U.S. was a Passenger Pigeon!), a century of overgrazing has turned what once was grassland into the Great Basin desert. Due to the phenomenon of generational amnesia, today we imagine that this area was always a desert except a million years ago when dinosaurs roamed, however most of our deserts were actually created in the last hundred and fifty years, due to poor grazing practices driven by the same (Eurocentric, patriarchal, manifest destiny informed) greed that continues to destroy rather than steward our planet. But I digress.

In order to hurry the settlement (and destruction) of the west the U.S. Government took the view that this land was “vacant” and “uninhabited” conveniently depriving Native Americans, like slaves, of human status. Our government gave Union Pacific as an incentive, (if you recall your American History it was a race, hence the term “railroaded through”) a section of Public Land, or one square mile, for every mile of track it laid. But it wasn’t contiguous land, it was every other mile for first ten, and later twenty miles north and south of the track, resulting in what is now called The Checkerboard.

CheckerboardBecause of the prohibitive cost of fencing this land remains unfenced, as it should for the benefit of wild life and the health of the range and it is my understanding that the BLM is mandated to manage the entire

Dark yellow is BLM. 40 mile swath along I 80 is Checkerboard.

Dark yellow is BLM. 40 mile swath along I 80 is Checkerboard.

Checkerboard as if it is one piece of land. It would follow then, that what is good stewardship for the BLM sections is good for the privately held sections.

This seems simple enough but of course it’s not. The grazing concerns claim that the horses are overgrazing their (government subsidized) allotments. Hunters are concerned that the horses are using resources that should be only for game animals, though populations should be kept in control by the missing top predators, which of course have been eradicated by the grazing concerns. Grazing allotments are for grazing sheep or cattle, which obviously are not native to the landscape. Yet raising buffalo does not get one the allotment or subsidy that cattle do. So the government essentially undercuts anyone trying to raise good meat animals that are indigenous to and help rather than hurt the range and supports and subsidizes ranchers who are grazing animals that are more harmful on Public Lands. Public lands. Now you can take the view that the land belongs to the government, or, I would argue, since it’s public land, it belongs to the public. You and me. Or, that it’s a public land trust, belonging to the public and held in trust by the government. Either way, the government then has a fiduciary responsibility to manage the land in a way that is best for public, not caving into private concerns. The cattle are not owned by the public nor does the public derive profit from them. Cattle are a privately held asset. So to summarize, we’ve got the owners of privately held assets pressuring the BLM to remove horses from public and privately held land that is administered by the government so that they may increase their profits by use of land belonging to you and me, at no benefit to you or me.

Grazing concerns lobbying state and federal government for both use of public land and the removal of all predators is nothing new, but the issue of management of wild horses is complicated by this checkerboard scenario as horses cannot see the imaginary line between public and private square miles.

Moonrise-2BHorses1

My Dad and the Ethics of Hunting and Meat

Sunday. Woke at 6am and truck stopped at my drive and stayed there. I’m wondering, what the hell are you doing dude? I need to go out and pee. Dogs want out. Another PU stops. I look out the window behind me and see six bull elk browsing their way across my camp. Whoa! Magnificent. They were just grazing and very slowly making their way across. Well one of those yahoos must have radioed back to the others because for the next hour and half there’s been a steady stream of ginormous 4×4’s going by, with guys dressed in full camo, slowly cruising, binoculars in hand, looking for those elk. I don’t get the full camo while driving a huge, loud, bright red 4×4. Does wearing the camo render one’s truck invisible? Do you really think you’re gonna get a shot off from the front seat? Do you really think those elk are gonna hang around waiting for you? These hills are filled with elk. Get off your fat ass and take a hike! At a stroll, those elk are doing 3-4 miles an hour. At an easy trot probably 10, so they are loooong gone. I’ve seen what may even be the same group a week or so ago up on the mesa behind me. Nights are getting a little chillier so they are probably starting to move down into lower grazing. Pretty soon these yahoos can get up in the morning, put on their camos, sit at their dining room table with their morning coffee and just wait for a bull to stroll through their backyard. Where I’m camped is little more than a backyard of Flagstaff. I’m only 15 miles from town. I can hear Route 89 and see the settlement of homes a mile or two away from here. (I’m roughing it.)

Bow season is open. You betcha I’m wearing my Day-Glo yellow running vest when I go hiking later.

I’m not opposed to hunting. It’s just the way it’s done these days. A little rant here. My dad was a hunter in the best sense of the word. One buck, one bullet. When I as a kid he hunted for eleven years with his friend Al Holzer and Al’s dad, who we called Oppa, a German immigrant who had left Germany in the late 30’s when he saw the writing on the wall. He and his wife, Omma, ran a general store and butcher shop in Phoenecia, NY, which was then a tiny hamlet. Now there is a big Buddhist meditation center there because of it’s beauty and remoteness.

Omma was a fabulous crafts person who inspired me greatly. She taught me the European way to knit so that the needles do the work and one doesn’t have to “throw” the yarn. She made ceramics with clay that she dug from Muddy Brook and rag rugs on a big loom. Oppa would take the 10 or 11 year old me on nature walks and show me where the deer had browsed the branches off the winter trees and a fawn had died because it was a harsh winter or where the larvae of trout lived under rocks in Muddy Brook. Oppa drove a war surplus Willys jeep that would shake the fillings out of your teeth. Even at 10 I knew they were “my” people; kind, observant and in tune with the natural world around them. In summer we would go up to the “old” cabin, a log cabin way up the hill that was only reachable in summer. In the winter Omma and Oppa lived in an apartment over the store. I remember it was warm and there was a bear skin rug, probably a bear that Oppa had killed himself. In later years as they became too old to deal with and maintain the old place they build a more modern A frame in the meadow at the turn off the very steep and rocky road up to the old cabin.

The old cabin was made of logs and rocked a little when you walked across the floor because the porcupines had chewed one corner of the log foundation. There was a cast iron stove in the kitchen, the big kind with four “burners” and an oven. The cabin was very because it was built under the protection of giant, old growth firs. I remember sitting in the dark living room listening to small radio and hearing Simon and Garfunkle’s Sounds of Silence for the first time.

I always wanted to go hunting with my dad since when I was small I was a Daddy’s girl, and we hadn’t yet come to the years of conflict and mental illness. One summer Al’s family and ours spent a weekend at the old cabin. We were shooting cans with a .22. I haven’t shot a rifle now since my teens, but I was a very, very good shot, much to the dismay of the macho husbands of some girlfriends. I guess the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree as they say, since I have my dad’s eye as well as his army medal for sharpshooter. Legend has it that he was a sniper during the war. Like most of his stories there is no way of ascertaining the validity of any of his war stories. They all seem to contain some truth along with a lot of contradiction. At any rate, we were target shooting and little chipmunk came down the tree. I don’t remember exactly how I cam to shoot it, whether I was challenged, or if I challenged myself, but I shot the chipmunk dead with one shot. I had conflicting feelings about it, so in order not to “waste” his life, I decided to skin and dissect him. I had shot him in one side of the gut and out the other, so the skin was actually not much good for anything, but skin him I did, separating the skin from the underlying fascia (a skill I was later to use in human dissection) then stretching the skin on a board and salting it to dry. I then started to take him apart, as well as a unsupervised 10 year old can, looking at his organs, and how his food was oozing out from the holes in his little stomach. It was all very queezy but I willed myself forward so that his little life would not be in vain. After I had done, it was time for dinner and what was up was rare hamburgers. I didn’t have much appetite at that point and as I remember skipped dinner and had very bad dreams that night. I lost my desire for hunting that afternoon. As sad as it was for the chipmunk, the experience of taking even one little life, changed me for life.

I am not a vegetarian. I know the meat I eat has been killed and possibly not in the most humane way possible, all though we can always try to vote with our dollars and where we purchase our meat. I have eaten game meat, moose and wildebeast, and found it delicious and nothing like farmed meat. But I think I would be a failure as a person killing and dressing (such a polite word for gutting and skinning) even a chicken. I still struggle with the fact that I eat meat. I tried being a vegetarian for six years and then I just craved animal protein so much I caved. As I’ve gotten older it seems to be an almost daily necessity. I remind myself that I am just a piece in the circle of life. Soil feeds grain which feeds insects which feed fish, amphibians and reptiles which feed mammals which feed us and the greater carnivores. And as omnivores we are just in the middle of that food chain with other small mammals, coyotes and the like. Some day the worms will eat me. The great carnivores like wolves and big cats are really above us in the food chain and indeed we could be food for them. But as a society, of which I am part, we are so out of balance and out of our place in the pyramid, that I have that social imprinting in my relationship to meat. Compounded by the brainwashing of industrial farming. I think that society has HAD to divorce itself from knowledge of it’s meat source because knowing with every bite what the last days were like for the animal one is eating, would really kill the appetite. No pun intended. Which is why in the supermarket you can’t find meat that looks anything like the animal that provided it. Maybe in the asian and latin barrio markets, where whole smoked ducks or goat heads hang in the window, but even that is fast disappearing. The only animals one sees in the supermarket are pictures of happy, frolicking pigs or “contented” cows. The size of this deceit is staggering. I’ve often said that if people want to eat meat, they should kill it themselves. That would keep it in perspective. What if you went to the store and bought a live chicken, took it home, wrung it’s neck and plucked it? Or a pig? My God would it be a different world. I can only dream. And feel like a hippocrite.

Back to my dad. He hunted for eleven years. The first year he shot a medium eight point buck and the antlers hung in our house for ten years. Ten more years he hunted, and nine years came back empty handed. He hunted with Al and Oppa up near Phoenicia in a place called Slide Mountain, very rugged territory. They would go out for several days together, splitting up and then, making rough camp in the woods. Hunting season in NY is in November. Often it snowed. Good for tracking, not so good for sleeping. When he came back empty handed there were always the stories. Sometimes he saw nothing, sometimes they were too far away. Sometimes Al or Oppa got a buck and we had some venison. One year a large deer teased him and stood perfectly still, a perfect shot, but with it’s head behind a tree and important parts in the bushes, so for the entire time he couldn’t see if it was a buck or a doe and held his shot. Finally the deer walked out of the bushes and it was a doe with a fawn at her side. Year after year it was the same. In the eleventh year his luck was to change. He was alone, sighted a huge buck and had a clear heart shot right behind the shoulder. He took his shot and was sure he had hit his mark but the deer bounded away. He had hit it. He was able to track to blood a short way to where the deer finally fell. He cocked his 30.06 and approached slowly. The deer leaped up and antlers down, charged him. He took another shot, and the deer fell in front of him. His first shot had been good, but the big buck had kept going on his adrenalin unfathomable will to live. There was a question of whether the second shot had even been necessary, but better than being gored. After ten years my dad’s patience and integrity had finally paid off. The buck was 165 lbs, eight huge points and a record for the area.

That was the last time my dad hunted. I was probably fifteen or sixteen at the time, and he was sliding steeply into the mental illness that would take his life. But this is the legacy he gave me: a deep understanding, appreciation and affinity with the natural world, extremely keen observational skills; a great sense of direction, ability to track and read weather. I am happiest when I am using those skills in wilderness.

So guys dressed in camos, looking with binoculars out of giant crew cab 4x4s on a well maintained gravel road just seem a little ridiculous to me.

As a P.S. I saw something online about there being several “quiet areas” in the Coconino National Forest here in Arizona.

“There are three unique recreational areas on the Coconino National Forest. From August 15th (bow hunting season) until December 31st each year, the areas are special: they are open only to foot, horse or bicycle traffic for the purpose of providing a unique, non-motorized recreational experience for the public.

Hunters, (the recreation group who requested this special area designation), desire areas where they can hunt on foot or horseback without the intrusion of motorized vehicles. Also the value of the area during these special periods for wildlife, horseback riders, hikers, mountain bikers and other forest users cannot be overlooked. Wildlife for example benefit from the absence of noisy vehicles through stress reduction, much the same as you and would, (I would add, especially during the rut in the fall!!!) yet may still be hunted in these areas during regular hunting seasons. The hunters who prefer this “back to basics” approach, where the presence of a vehicle does not favor the hunter’s success, and where the hunter’s skill as a stalker and woodsman are everything, believe that “this is the way it was done in the old days” (pretty shallow explanation) before people started “ROAD HUNTING”. In order to provide the experience intended, driving in the area to pick up a bagged animal is not allowed during the vehicle closure periods.” www.fs.usda.gov/detailfull/coconino/alerts-notices/?cid=stelprdb5357868

Yesterday I went over to Sunset Crater just before sunset. In a scenic turnout overlooking the lava fields I found three guys each with $5000 spotting scopes looking for deer on the mountain across the highway, approximately 5 miles away. That is some serious assistance. (And some very expensive meat.) They said they were bow hunters, the season being open here now, and one had his pretty blond wife and kids with him, wife and kid dressed in full camo. And in the hunting section of Walmart there is camo in pink for the ladies. Isn’t that cute?