Tom Finneran: Screw Mother Goose… And Bambi Too!
Friday, August 10, 2012
Why should Massachusetts hunters have to travel to Maine, New Hampshire, or Vermont to meet the challenge of a hunt and their taste for venison? Can we at least blast the deer back to the shade and comfort of the deep woods? Finally, how about calling off the love affair with the cute seals of Cape Cod, now protected so strongly that Massachusetts has become a summer home to more sharks than we see during television’s Shark Week?
Take a close look at our “environment” these days and you can’t help but think that we have become insane. The health, welfare, and comfort of geese, deer, and seals seems to have a higher priority than the health, welfare, and comfort of human beings.
Consider the evidence, so conveniently left behind by that foul fowl, the Canada goose. Town greens, high school and college athletic fields, town swimming and fishing ponds, golf courses, and even airports are closed off to the people who built and maintain them, all for the protection of a filthy bird which now must number in the millions (billions??). When do we say enough is enough? And when do we say, without equivocation, that our fields and our ponds are for our use and enjoyment, rather than for celebrating the fecundity of this obnoxious bird?
Consider also the Bambi love affair in every town in Massachusetts and, of course, the corresponding explosion in ticks and Lyme disease. I know people who have suffered through Lyme disease. It is not a pretty sight, and heaven forbid that a weak child or an elderly person contracts the disease. Funerals follow.
I’m as much an enviro and conservation guy as anyone and I challenge my enviro friends to describe the current explosion of deer herds in every suburban yard as the natural order of things. I realize that wolves and mountain lions are no longer part of today’s environment and that the loss of those natural predators has lead to the proliferation of deer. The remedy is obvious—expand the hunting season and increase the limits for each hunter. I daresay that we could get a good running start on eliminating hunger in Massachusetts if we began to cull the geese and deer which now dominate our lives.
Finally, let’s consider the evidence from Cape Cod, the legendary fishing ground of the Western world and the playground of Massachusetts. This past week we were treated to a story of a shark attack in Truro, where a father and his son were circled and then attacked by what appears to have been a great white shark. This is the first reported shark attack in Massachusetts waters since 1936. I’m betting that it won’t be the last.
Local television stations drink this stuff up. It’s great stuff for summer ratings. The Boston Globe ran some pictures last year taken by a tourist visiting from out West. The pictures were of a shark, perhaps two, tearing apart a seal no more than twenty-five yards off the beach. Twenty-five yards!! That’s just beyond the pitcher’s mound. Anyone for swimming????? I didn’t think so.
We know what has brought the sharks back here in such dangerous abundance. It’s those cute little seals. Anyone for a seal shoot? Here’s what those cute little creatures have done, in addition to attracting those lovely great white sharks to our boogie boarding kids. They have decimated the ground fish of Cape Cod—cod in particular, but the sportfish of stripers and bluefish too. I have to suspect that haddock and other species have been hard hit as well.
Those cute little seals grow up to be adults weighing hundreds of pounds and they consume prodigious quantities of fish. Guess what thousands and thousands of three hundred pound seals, all eating prodigious quantities of fish, produce every day? That’s right—prodigious quantities of seal poop.
This past week saw some of the Cape’s finest ocean beaches closed because of “high bacteria counts”. The rumor I picked up at Brown’s Variety Store at the Eastham windmill is that the high bacteria counts are NOT from human fecal matter but rather from seal poop. Heard enough?
One more observation should suffice. For many, many years countless parents have spent the best moments of their lives teaching their sons and daughters the joys of surfcasting from the beaches of Cape Cod. For twenty five years I have watched those families learn lessons of patience, skill, conservation, and environmental awareness. For twenty five years I have watched such families build the memories of a lifetime. And twenty five years ago, indeed no more than ten years ago, the appearance of a seal or two was a memorable event. Now the seals are in such overwhelming abundance that surfcasting is a total waste of time---no fish, severed lines.
So here’s to Cape Cod…….no swimming, no fishing, no future. I say screw Mother Goose, Bambi, and the cute little seals. I like people a whole lot more.