Announcements from around the country over the last few weeks show that wingshooting in America is anything but stagnant. The possibility of a sandhill crane season in eastern TN, the lack of a sage grouse season in SD, the return of dove season in MN, even increased limits on migratory birds. Some of this bodes well for hunters, some will drain a serious amount of enthusiasm.
Purists cringe when you fiddle with the established norm, and it's not just the principle of change that bothers them. Hunting is a sport of tradition, of opening days and bird camps and road trips and Saturday mornings before sunrise, and when you start messing with a man's tradition you might as well be messing with his wife or his dog. It's tradition because we like it. We also depend on it as a stabilizing element in the year, an anchor, and sometimes a beacon in the distance beyond rough water.
For better or worse, hunting is also a sport of nature and subject to its ebbs and flows, and while we can't control aspects like weather, we can and often do impact other factors. I'm thinking about land and habitat, specifically those parts that hang in the balance and can be nudged and persuaded back into something more favorable to birds. It's not predestined that certain species will fade into memories.
This is why I'm putting time and effort into restoring the bobwhite populations in our state. I don't ever want to open the paper someday and read that the DNR has cancelled quail season because there just aren't enough birds.
A similar effort is under way in Montana to help the sage grouse, as detailed in this story on NPR. And there are initiatives in most other states for species that aren't yet officially threatened.
It's true that we can't fix it all, but that's no excuse for passing on what we can. Fight for your traditions. Better still, preserve them with a little forethought.