Case: Old principles of conservation in a brave new world

AP file photo by Kathy Willens / Theodore Roosevelt’s Rough Rider hat hangs on the horns of an elk head, shot by the nation’s 26th president, in the trophy room at Sagamore Hill, Roosevelt’s summer White House and his home in Oyster Bay, N.Y. Roosevelt helped lay the groundwork for conservation principles that still guide sportsmen today.

Three of the turkeys standing in a cut cornfield raise their heads. A battered pickup truck eases to a stop, and the motor goes quiet. A large gobbler is strutting for the hens in this little flock and seems unaware of the intrusion. It is 47 steps from truck window to turkeys, and three days before the hunting season opens. Unaffected by such details, the driver slides the long barrel of a 12-gauge shotgun out the window.

One week later in the same county, a man and his 15-year-old son are turkey hunting and having a grand day. They have several gobblers answer their calls, come close to bagging a turkey twice, and finally the son lowers the boom on a nice gobbler.

Both of these incidents resulted in the death of wild turkeys.