Balancing the Predator, Prey Equation
Ask any hunter from the usual Western habitats to once-predator-rare Eastern habitats and you will hear the same thing, predators seem to be everywhere and they are making an impact.
Winchester World of Whitetail host Ron Spomer offers this take on what is needed to ensure a safe balance between predators and the many game species we love to hunt. Ron says:
“Varmints have always been a natural and essential part of the environment. They have important roles to play in preventing overpopulations of whatever it is they eat. But historically, they’ve also been controlled by severe and often brutal natural forces like competition, starvation, a shortage of denning sites and outright internecine warfare. Coyotes kill foxes, wolves kill everything including one another, mountain lions kill wolves. Bacteria and viruses killed all of them. Now, we humans have changed everything.
We provide extra food that tides predators over during natural shortages. Fruits, vegetables, grains and even dog and cat food left on the back porch provide just enough extra nutrition to keep coyotes, skunks, raccoons, crows and the rest of the carnivorous crowd alive. Old barns, rock piles, culverts, farm equipment and even bridge overpasses provide denning sites and shelter from killing storms that formerly limited raccoons and opossums to warmer climes. Irrigated grass, alfalfa, wheat and other crops lay out a smorgasbord for a dozen species of burrowing rodents.”
In short, we humans have created a world in which prey species lose habitat while predatory species gain it. It’s therefore our responsibility to balance the scales—or at least reduce the pressure a bit. If we shoot a deer and a few birds and bunnies each year, shouldn’t we also shoot a few of their predators?
Well said, Ron. In addition to Ron’s arguments for why we should hunt predators, for sportsman looking to expand their opportunities afield, predators offer a great target on two fronts. First, many can often be hunted year round rather than shoehorning a hunter into a certain timeframe during the year as hunting seasons tend to do. Secondly, because many landowners would love to reduce the number of predators on their land, getting permission to hunt lands that would otherwise be closed to them is not as difficult.
And actually there’s a third reason. Obtaining good, quality predator ammo is easy with Winchester’s Varmint X proven line of ammo. Varmint X is also quite affordable. It’s a favorite of Ron’s with loads available in .204 Ruger, .22-250 Rem., .223 Rem. and .243 Win.
In Ron’s words, “If I were creating an advertising slogan for Varmint X ammo, I’d go with ‘Varmint X. Costs less. Shoots great.’”