Between Two Worlds
Inevitably, as the world grows smaller and man grows smarter, technology and the wilderness must learn to dwell together in ever increasing intimacy. The Bambis of the future will no longer learn of man from their doe-mothers as if he were a being from a world apart. The fellow will, in all likelihood, be living right next door, and—like many neighbors, no matter how well intentioned—may frequently make a confounded nuisance of himself.
This increasing tendency of man to involve himself in the lives of his new neighbors was frequently—and from some points of view, painfully—in evidence in the news last week. In the neighborhood of St. Paul, Minnesota, for instance, final plans were being made for the attachment of six tiny radio broadcasting sets to the backs of an equal number of wild ruffed grouse in an effort to chart their hitherto untrammeled flights into the wild blue.
In Montreal a chubby 5-year-old black bass was swimming moodily around a tank at the Sportsman's Show in the uncomfortable awareness that he was radioactive. In case he tried to forget the fact for even one moment, a wildly clicking scintillation counter provided by Quebec's Game and Fisheries Department was right there at tankside to remind him. And it was probably of small comfort to the bass, who was there to prove a point about the mutual affinity of fish and fallout, to hear the man in charge reassure spectators with the degrading information that he was probably no more dangerous than a luminous wristwatch.
Meanwhile, far out to the west where men used to be mere men and wild animals wild, the Oregon woods were atinkle with silver bells fastened around the necks of wandering deer as part of a long-range study of herd migration.
Small wonder then that, with their native wilderness all but wired for sound, the wild deer on Missouri's Knob Noster game refuge suddenly opted for civilization in its entirety and took to dropping around to Farmer Ebbie Adams' place at feeding time to watch TV. According to Ebbie, who lives right next door to the game refuge, the deer come around regularly, pull an ear of corn out of his crib, then position themselves like so many popcorn-munching teenagers in front of a kitchen window to watch the TV screen while they eat.
If the trend continues, it may well be soon that the only authentically wild animal left will be someone like Old Wily, a onetime respectable horse who went native in New Zealand-after his master died in 1957. Baffling volunteer posses and local police alike, Old Wily spent three glorious years running wild and raiding suburban gardens in the neighborhood of Auckland until his capture by a lariat-swinging circus man last week.
A Little Bit of Fun
On page 78, in the midst of Henry Romney's survey on social conservation, New Mexico's Senator Clinton Anderson is quoted as saying that whenever land is attached for public use, some sports-minded person should be there to hold up his hand and say, "I claim a little bit of this for recreation."
In Rhode Island last week, some 7,000 members of the Federated Rhode Island Sportsmen's Clubs did just that. Referring to the state's new plan to take over 11,856 acres of woodlands for use as reservoirs, the sportsmen voted to oppose the issue unless it guaranteed the water supply areas be made available for hunting, fishing and boating as well.