By Rich Landers
FOR THE SPOKESMAN-REVIEW
One of those “memories” popped up on my Facebook page recently with a hunting photo I’d proudly posted in 2016. It featured my 9-month-old Brittany pup standing over the first wild pheasant we’d bagged as a team.
That was a great day in the field. A bird dog’s first perfect point and retrieve on a rooster is as momentous as a kid’s first home run.
But as I pondered the photo, I wanted to weep. Ranger and I had been hunting through tall grass, forbs and cattails that buffered 25 feet or so on each side of a small creek trickling through a farmer’s wheat field.
This ideal habitat mix had provided water, cover and food for all sorts of critters. Pheasants thrived there. My friend, John Roland, and I counted our blessings at having the landowner’s permission to hunt the property.
Five years later, the grass and cattails have been chiseled away so wheat can be planted right up to the edges of the creek, which has been ditched in places. The wildlife habitat is gone, and so is the wildlife.