Hunting in the American West is dependent on land access, and as our population increases and human development continues to encroach into wild places, preservation and access becomes increasingly vital to our way of life. With a recent SITKA Ecosystem Grant, we were able to preserve access to an extremely important piece of land, ensuring that it remains open to the public without threat of development, forever. Perhaps most importantly for us, this vital piece of land is in our front yard.
We’ve all been on a trail in need of repair, whether damaged by erosion or blocked by fallen trees. Many of us don’t think twice about the people who work hard to make those repairs, people who are usually volunteers.
Chronic Wasting Disease is perhaps the greatest threat that wildlife populations in North America face, and it is the most significant threat posed to our way of life as hunters. This neurological disease currently has no treatment or vaccine, is fatal in cervids, and is spreading across deer populations in North America.
Once the snow starts flying, ancient rituals unfold as some of the planet’s greatest animal migrations take place. Animals embark on these seasonal journeys to survive, taking advantage of the rolling availability of resources that vary over space and time. A need for food, breeding grounds or overwinter habitat is what drives these wildlife to different locations and elevations.
SITKA Ecosystem Grant Profile: Montana Wilderness School Q&A
Montana Wilderness School (MWS) is a non-profit outdoor education program based in Bozeman, MT. The backbone of the program is multi-week backcountry expeditions that challenge our youth mentally and physically while teaching them practical outdoor skills. An overarching goal is to instill an appreciation for the importance of public lands and wild spaces. We sat down with Gar Duke, the co-founder and Executive Director of MWS to learn more about the program and their new curriculum for the aspiring backcountry hunter.
SITKA has awarded The Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation and Restore The Mississippi River Delta with an Ecosystem Grant to support the planting of native trees in vulnerable stretches of the delta. In doing so, habitat loss can be reduced as these newly strengthened stretches of the delta will help secure the greater ecosystem by literally putting roots in the ground and anchoring the land.
The brush of a shoulder against a tree. The zip of a zipper. The rub of a sleeve reaching for a rangefinder. The draw of a bow. Factor in sound-dampening snow. Negative temperatures. Zero wind. Add a mature whitetail tuned to hear every out-of-place noise in the woods. These considerations hatched the new Fanatic: the quietest jacket, bib and pack system ever made by SITKA. Designed by experts; informed by the most advanced science on how deer hear.
While we believe our gear fundamentally improves hunter safety and success, our ultimate mission at SITKA is to solve these problems so hunters can focus less on their gear and more on the extraordinary experience hunting provides.
Hunting is an exercise in humility. We might be at the top of the food chain, but when it comes to fair chase pursuits of species that evolved over thousands of years to survive relentless predators and the harshest conditions imaginable, we are simply outmatched in the wild...
Hunting is no longer a matter of life and death for most of us. We do not rely on wildlife for food, shelter, clothing or tools. The systems of modern society provide what we once had to earn on our own, which raises an interesting question: If you don’t need to hunt, why bother?