Cumberland Times-News

March 16, 2013

Keep Texas dung out of Garrett County

Cumberland Times-News

— Mike,

I’m an outdoorsman, been one all my life. I don’t profess to know a darn thing about QDMAs that Mr. Leatherman expounded about on your page. I do know that comparing Garrett County’s way of managing 76,000 acres of public land is an entirely different undertaking than the King Ranch Private Enterprise of 825,000 acres (in Texas).  

Both need monies to run effectively, truckloads to make a management system work as King Ranch does. If I’m correct Garrett County public lands are managed through a portion of monies obtained by fees for Maryland licenses and permits?  Other than opening yellow gates and plowing to public hunting areas, I don’t know what else can/or does get funded.

What Mr. Leatherman fails to tell you is how King Ranch’s healthy deer population got to its current state, it certainly wasn’t by antler rule alone. The way I read it, is that the owners recognized an “economic value” in the King Ranch wildlife habitat. They imposed a closed hunting season from 1925 to 1928 to rebuild the deer herd (never happening on Md. public grounds), implemented a predator control program in 1925 that included hiring a full time trapper.  

Today they lease a half a million acres to corporate businesses (average lease 15,000 acres.) A condition of those leases is to have a wildlife biologist on staff or retainer. Not knowing the other conditions of theses leases, it’s fair to say that they have to at least sustain the original habitat manager’s practices of upkeep of food plots, water/windmills, brush management, fence mending, etc. I’m sure the 20-plus, grant-funded university/college research projects allowed on the property helped support the deer management also. The thousands of dollars per gun and $5 to $25,000 limited “trophy hunts” (determined by Boone & Crockett point scoring) surely helps too.

If Mr. Leatherman and King Ranch were true stewards of our natural resources and wildlife, they wouldn’t be profiting off of them. The next time his blood pressure gets up, he or the guide in one of those elevated blinds perched over a feeder should turn the a/c knob to cooler, so that the hunter (?) who paid $1,800 to have them decide which undesirable deer to “cull” doesn’t get sweat in his eyes and gets fined for shooting the wrong deer.  I’ll stick to packing a day’s worth, cutting a fresh track, stalking, and culling that gnarly 3-point.

Call me old-fashioned or outdated, but I’m a subsistence hunter first. King Ranch “sporthunting” is for deep pockets who could care less how that 200-inch class got there.

I could go on and on, and Mr. Leatherman might classify it as uneducated ramblings.

I just think shoveling longhorn dung in Garrett County isn’t productive.

Keep up the informative and humorous articles.

Kevin R. Fearon