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Birds Nisqually NWR

Duck !

Duck season started today in the Pacific Northwest, so it’s a good thing these two were practicing their getaway yesterday:

And, starting today the best parts of Nisqually Wildlife Refuge will be closed from now through January due to hunting season . Visitors to the refuge seem to subscribe to two different theories on why the best parts of the refuge are off limits for the next three months depending on their particular biases.

The first theory is that you have to walk dangerously close to the hunters on both sides of the refuge, and they’re worried about someone getting shot. If this is the main worry, why don’t they just make it illegal to fire into the refuge?

The second theory seems to be that they’re trying to provide a safe place for ducks and other birds, and they don’t want people walking through the refuge and disturbing birds already traumatized by hunters. I’d like to think this is the primary reason they’re closing it, but I wouldn’t bet on that since most wildlife refuges in the United States are open to hunting, which seem like a rather strange definition of “refuge”?

I know you can’t even walk the Ridgefield Wildlife Refuge during hunting season without a shotgun and hunting licence because hunting always trumps the mere enjoyment of nature.

Sadly, it seems to be a fact that much, if not most, of the money for bird preservation comes from hunting tags. Virtually all increases in refuge funding during the Bush administration have been derived from hunting licenses