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If you are an outdoors-man or hunter, going through a climactic, record setting drought is takes toll on our wildlife and outdoor activities as a whole. The lack of moisture and related depletion of food sources for game along with the danger of wild fires has never been at such a dangerous level. The ability to enjoy the world of nature and its many activities will require a proactive approach from hunters and recreational users of the land.
The relationship that exists between land owner and hunter will be crucial if your favorite hunting spot or recreational area is not provided outside assistance. Watering devices made from fifty-five gallon drums, split long ways and secured to prevent them from being turned over by thirsty animals is an inexpensive and practical method of providing life sustaining water to wildlife and game in the areas that are in jeopardy.
Simple construction techniques can be accomplished using clean, heavy walled fifty-five gallon barrels that have been cleaned to remove any residues that could be toxic to animals. Using a simple jig saw and a small amount of knowledge can create a trough that will hold enough water to sustain animal life for up to five days when located under a tree or in some form of shade. To prevent accidental drowning of small animals or fowl a simple safe bottom can be made from soft fiberglass insect screen material suspended to allow access to the water and a safe footing material.
Empty three liter beverage bottles, tightly sealed and laid in the bottom of the barrel halves, and enclosed in screen material with enough length to go to the bottom of the barrels as the water level drops will provide an effective and safe footing medium, but don’t overdo the bottles three or four suspending the screen material will be more than sufficient to get the job done. Key to this watering method is a concerted effort to fill and refill this man made oases on a timely basis.
The benefits are twofold, it not only sustains the animals, but it also acts as a way to attract the game when season arrives. If your hunting area is located in an established flyway, the long term benefits will be enormous; it will benefit the game now and will insure continued attraction as long as this drought situation continues.
Don’t skimp, several people that hunt together can build numerous water barrel units and place them strategically on your hunting ground. This act will not go unnoticed by your land owner and will promote a different respect for the people that use their land to harvest game or have access for varied recreational use. We as the hunting public need, and should do all we can to protect our vanishing hunting spots.
Picking up trash, fixing fence and gates is a given activity for dedicated and responsible hunters. Just imagine the pride and respect your land owner will have for you when they see the steps you have taken to provide for the bounty that makes his farm or ranch more productive or at least provide life giving water to the game that is shared with us. Be aware of fire danger and protect the land and life of the animals that call it home.
Most of our farms and ranches have wind mills to provide water for their stock. These wind mills have been in existence long enough that there locations have become genetically imprinted in migratory foul keeping them coming back year after year and generation after generation. Keeping trash, weeds and debris out of the stock tanks and small ponds that wind mills create provides a feeling of safety for birds like dove and quail. A clean pond bank keeps predators away because hiding places are removed. A weed eater used properly around ponds and tanks that are frequented by wild life remove the hiding places and make access to the water much easier for birds, deer and other animals.
If your hunting spot is blessed with live water, a stream or spring fed lake or pond, clearing debris and blown in trash helps to maintain clean water as well as improving water quality for all the wild life that uses it. It happens from time to time that man must provide for wildlife, and an unrelenting drought is one of the times we as the outdoor community must come together to do as much as we can to protect our heritage for future generations. In the mean time pray for rain.