Taylor T. Campfield is working as an intern for Delaware Currents and is a student at East Stroudsburg University. She's writing here about going hunting with her dad. — Editor
NOVEMBER 26, 2007 — The memoryof this day is still fresh in my mind. I was 12 years old, out hunting with my father for the very first time. We were in the woods before the sun came up, waiting for a deer. Being the 12-year-old I was, I could not focus solely on finding a deer. My attention was drawn to the crisp morning air, the dew on the ground, and to the sunlight slowly making its way into the woods and lighting up the beautiful woods we were surrounded by. My dad and I were so still and quiet that a young bear crossed our path about ten yards away without noticing us. All of this makes hunting more than just finding an animal, it connects you to nature. Where was I able to experience this connection with nature? The woods along the Delaware River in northeastern Pennsylvania.
The Delaware River and the nature surrounding it depend on each other. With increasing pollution, rising carbon dioxide levels, loss of forest, and many other factors that contribute to global warming, an understanding of how outdoor sportsmen/women help keep nature in balance is important. Growing up near the Delaware River, I feel as though I learned so much about the natural world, especially from my father.
Deer hunting is by far the most popular kind of sport hunting in Pennsylvania. If the deer population is too high, vegetation becomes scarce. While less vegetation provides a better view for the hunter, it also takes away places for the hunted to hide. When there is less vegetation for the deer to feed on from the ground, they stand on their hind legs and eat the lowest leaves off the trees. I have seen this particular kind of loss of vegetation while in the woods near the river due to high deer populations, and it takes away the beauty of the woods. This may not be mass deforestation that happens in places such as the Amazon, but it is still a loss. With this comes increased carbon dioxide levels and polluted air, major contributors to global warming.
Population control is just as important in water too, fishermen/women are as essential to regulating water animals as hunters are to land animals. The water and the land rely on each other and the overall control of either populations lies in the hands of the sportsmen/women. When the plants in bodies of water, such as the Delaware, filter the water just as plants filter the air, it makes for an overall clean environment. This, in turn, helps us and the wildlife around us, live cleaner and happier lives.
Controlling the population through hunting helps restore nature’s balance and will keep the woods as beautiful as I remember them from that early November morning.