October 18, 2010

Celebrate Theodore Roosevelt’s Birthday by Supporting the TRCP

Deerskin suit, rifle in hand. Photo courtesy of USNPS.

Born Oct. 27, 1858, Theodore Roosevelt created enough federal wildlife reservations, national game preserves, national forests, national parks and national monuments in his lifetime to conserve 234 million acres of wild America.

A man of deep convictions and above all a man of action, Roosevelt had the foresight to take on the issues still so significant to sportsmen today, understanding that if we want to ensure that critical fish and wildlife habitat, special hunting grounds and secret fishing holes will be around for future generations, we must act now.

In the spirit of T.R., on this, his 152nd birthday, take action on the conservation issues that matter the most to you. The TRCP is working every day to sustain our nation’s irreplaceable outdoor heritage. Your help can guarantee that all Americans have access to high-quality places to hunt and fish – now and forever.

Support the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership today.

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September 18, 2010

Roosevelt on the Pleasure (and Pain) of Wily White-tails

White-tail deer are very canny, and know perfectly well what threatens danger and what does not. … We were reluctant to molest them, but one day, having performed our usual weekly or fortnightly feat of eating up about everything there was in the house, it was determined that two deer (for it was late in autumn and they were then well grown) should be sacrificed. Accordingly one of us sallied out, but found that the sacrifice was not to be consummated so easily, for the should-be victims appeared to distinguish perfectly well between a mere passer-by, whom they regarded with absolute indifference, and anyone who harbored sinister designs. They kept such a sharp look-out, and made off so rapidly if any one tried to approach them, that on two evenings the appointed hunter returned empty-handed, and by the third someone else had brought in a couple of black-tail. After that no necessity arose for molesting the two “tame deer,” for whose sound common-sense we had all acquired a greatly increased respect.

– Excerpt from Theodore Roosevelt on Hunting

July 4, 2010

Theodore Roosevelt a Proud American President

In honor of July Fourth, here are a few Theodore Roosevelt quotations reflecting his hopes for America.

“Is America a weakling, to shrink from the work of the great world powers? No! The young giant of the West stands on a continent and clasps the crest of an ocean in either hand. Our nation, glorious in youth and strength, looks into the future with eager eyes and rejoices as a strong man to run a race.”

“The country needs and, unless I mistake its temper, the country demands bold persistent experimentation. It is common sense to take a method and try it, if it fails, admit it frankly and try another, but above all, try something.”

“It is by no means necessary that a great nation should always stand at the heroic level. But no nation has the root of greatness in it unless in time of need it can rise to the heroic mood.” 

June 18, 2010

Theodore Roosevelt and John Burroughs

In a world before radio, television and the Internet, Theodore Roosevelt was a voracious reader. He read at least one book per day, and his interests covered an enormously wide range of subjects. One can only imagine what a man with his energy and curiosity would have consumed had he access to Google, Twitter and Facebook.

Among his favorite authors was the nature writer and essayist John Burroughs. When the two met in 1889, it marked the beginning of a 30-year friendship — which only ended with Roosevelt’s death in 1919.

The two were polar opposites in many ways. T.R. was a mercurial, animated and action-driven man of science while Burroughs was an introspective, contemplative and poetic observer of nature. T.R. hunted throughout his life, whereas Burroughs gave it up as he grew older. Burroughs loved to fish, especially for brook trout in his beloved Catskill Mountains, while T.R. did not particularly enjoy the sport.

Regardless of these differences they developed a deep and abiding admiration for each other. Soon after meeting T.R., Burroughs wrote, “I thought him very rigorous, alive all over, with a great variety of interests. … It was surprising how well he knew the birds and animals. He’s a rare combination of sportsman and the naturalist.”

Roosevelt in turn dedicated his 1905 book, “Outdoor Pleasures of an American Outdoorsman,” to Burroughs.

“Every lover of outdoor life must feel a sense of affectionate obligation to you,” Roosevelt wrote. “Your writings appeal to all who care for the life of the woods and fields, whether their tastes keep them in the homely, pleasant farm country or lead them into the wilderness. It is a good thing for our people that you should have lived: surely no man can wish to have more said of him.”

In reference to the two-week camping trip the two took in Yellowstone National Park in 1903, T.R. continued, “You were with me on one of the trips described in this volume, and I trust that to look it over will recall the pleasant days we spent together.” Their writings are enjoyed by sportsmen, conservationists and lovers of literature nearly 100 years after their deaths — a fact that would please them both to no end.

Roosevelt as a budding conservationist

Theodore Roosevelt first traveled west to hunt and ranch in the Dakotas. He was deeply affected by the people, animals and the stunning vistas found in the untouched landscapes where he rode. During his time out West, Roosevelt witnessed the extermination of the American buffalo – an experience that changed him forever. He saw the death of these majestic beasts as a “veritable tragedy of the animal world” and wrote about it extensively in his book, “Hunting Trips of a Ranchman”:

It may truthfully be said that the sudden and complete extermination of the vast herds of the buffalo is without a parallel in historic times. No sight is more common on the plains than that of a bleached buffalo skull; and their countless numbers attest the abundance of the animal at a time not so very long past. On those portions where the herds made their last stand, the carcasses, dried in the clear, high air, or the mouldering skeletons, abound.

Last year, in crossing the country around the heads of the Big Sandy, O’Fallon Creek, Little Beaver, and Box Alder, these skeletons or dried carcasses were in sight from every hillock, often lying over the ground so thickly that several score could be seen at once. A ranchman who at the same time had made a journey of a thousand miles across Northern Montana, along the Milk River, told me that, to use his own expression, during the whole distance he was never out of sight of a dead buffalo, and never in sight of a live one.

Thus, though gone, the traces of the buffalo are still thick over the land. Their dried dung is found everywhere, and is in many places the only fuel afforded by the plains; their skulls, which last longer than any other part of the animal, are among the most familiar of objects to the plainsman; their bones are in many districts so plentiful that it has become a regular industry, followed by hundreds of men (christened “bone hunters” by the frontiersmen), to go out with wagons and collect them in great numbers for the sake of the phosphates they yield; and Bad Lands, plateaus, and prairies alike, are cut up in all directions by the deep ruts which were formerly buffalo trails.

The TRCP is working hard to conserve vital habitat for our fish and wildlife populations – an unmatched resource for sportsmen. Donate today.

HOW YOU CAN HELP

WHAT WILL FEWER HUNTERS MEAN FOR CONSERVATION?

The precipitous drop in hunter participation should be a call to action for all sportsmen and women, because it will have a significant ripple effect on key conservation funding models.

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