The transition from summer to fall in northern New Mexico has got to be one of the greatest spectacles one could ever hope to experience in nature. From the perspective of a conservationist/bow hunter, I get to experience this season on a level that most people will never understand.
The smell of the morning air as the first frost of the year is being melted by the sun, The sight of mule deer changing from summer gold to winter grey right before my eyes, the sound of the first flocks of Canada geese flying overhead toward their wintering grounds, and the sound that has filled my dreams since I was a boy, the sound of bugling elk. This is the sound that haunts every big game hunter I know, the sound that will keep him or her up at night preparing gear for the hunt, studying maps, and getting ready to get in the field not just to witness the spectacle, but to be part of it.
New Mexico is rich in public lands, and these public places afford many hunters and anglers opportunities to enjoy, improve, and benefit from the places they love. There are those who assert that hunting is cruel and inhumane. When I am confronted with that assertion, I simply reply, I know where my meat comes from, I know where the animals I harvest eat, drink, and live. I know they haven’t been injected with hormones and antibiotics and other dangerous poisons.
Honestly, I enjoy being part of the food chain and participating in the eco system as a member and not a spectator. I choose fair chase hunting on public land. After all, the land I hunt and fish on truly belongs to me by virtue of being a citizen of this great country. The thought that I legally have ownership in all of that land, not only in my own state, but across the country makes me feel rich beyond my wildest dreams, as should every other citizen of the USA.
September in many ways is the time of year when my instincts and senses are heightened and my time to be in the places I love most. It is a time when I can visit a domain where I am on equal ground with the animals I hunt. There are not too many experiences in life that compare to those in the field. When I am lucky enough to harvest an animal the experienced is enriched that much more. As a hunter I learned early on that the predator doesn’t always win, I have returned from the hunt many times empty handed and defeated by my prey. In these instances, I am in no way discouraged or in any way less likely to go again. In a weird way, sometimes I am totally fine with and yes, even happy that my prey outsmarted me and will live to start another generation.
To those who disagree with hunting , I would say this: The money that I and millions of other hunters spend on licenses, goods and services pays for the management of a resource that can never be compromised. The health of our wildlife and the habitat they live in is paid for by men and women just like me across the country. A hunter is not just a taker, he or she is a giver who realizes the value of our rich heritage, a person who understands the fragility of nature and a person who will fight to protect the wildlife and our precious public lands.
Keep a low profile and keep the wind in your face. Happy Hunting….
Max O. Trujillo II