ANYTHING WE PUT in this issue will be overshadowed by the global pandemic known as COVID-19 (coronavirus).
Our hope is to keep you informed as it relates to the outdoors world and hopefully inspired and entertained in what is no doubt an unprecedented time in history in terms of worldwide clampdown on freedoms.
Justified or not, freedoms have been restricted.
From thousands of event cancellations to travel restrictions, it has the entire world in a combination of panic and confusion.
And as usual during such a time, rumors spread like wildfire and this includes among outdoors lovers.
One rumor is humans can contract the virus from fish and should avoid fishing and buying live bait.
This is due to the fact scientists believe the first person that contracted the disease got it from a market that sold live fish in Wuhan, China. Numerous countries that trade live fish with China including Indonesia ceased operations due to the threat.
According to an article in the New York Times, “The market was later shut down and disinfected, making it nearly impossible to investigate which animal may have been the exact origin.”
What many have not reported is the market also sold many live birds and other animals. Officials believe bats which are a known virus vector could be the source or the endangered pangolin, which is trafficked throughout Asia and sold as a delicacy.
No one is pointing to the fish as a source of the virus.
While this virus seems to have emerged from an animal source, it is now spreading from person-to-person in China according to CDC officials.
“There is no reason to think that any animals including pets in the United States might be a source of infection with this new coronavirus. To date, CDC has not received any reports of pets or other animals becoming sick with COVID-19. At this time, there is no evidence that companion animals including pets can spread COVID-19. However, since animals can spread other diseases to people, it’s always a good idea to wash your hands after being around animals.”
Another rumor has been that since Chinese officials have put a ban on the eating of “wild animals” under very specific guidelines there is danger on consuming wild game taken here in America.
China has put some restrictions on “wild animals” but this is a very different scenario than in America where wild game is hunted and then eaten. China has large markets where wild animals ranging from civet cats to snakes are sold by the thousands. They are crammed together in small areas. Imagine a giant East Texas farmer’s market but with reptiles, birds and mammals instead of tomatoes and watermelons.
So far there is no warning from CDC about wild game and it is my opinion that will not become an issue in terms of wild game taken directly from the field.
By the time this issue hits your mailbox or inbox, we have no idea what the status will be. Some are saying 18 months of closures, while others expect it to blow over by June. This editor is praying this story is irrelevant by the time it makes print.
One thing that is clear is that we need to keep our cause ahead of the coronavirus. Of course, we need to be safe. Of course, we need to use wisdom, but we need to keep the cause of wildlife conservation at the forefront of what we’re doing.
Ducks Unlimited, Coastal Conservation Association, The National Wild Turkey Federation, Wild Sheep Foundation, Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, Trout Unlimited, Mule Deer Foundation and many other conservation organizations have canceled major banquets and fundraising events. As a result, millions of dollars that would go toward conservation stalled.
Hunting and fishing trips around the nation and world were canceled, putting dramatic hardships on outfitters.
At the time of this writing my friend Scott Smith of Canadian Wilderness Outfitters was looking at closed Canadian borders and an upcoming bear season that relies a good portion on American hunters.
We need to do what we can to support conservation groups during this time. If you can afford it, donate to the cause of your choice. If you would have normally bid on a painting at one of the banquets, donate your amount limit to that group.
If you have an out of state or country trip, postpone if you can and don’t cancel. You might just save your hunt and potentially help save an outfitter’s business.
If there has ever been a time we need to put faith in God and put our energy into prayer, hard work and supporting our fellow man and wildlife resources, it is now.
This can be a moment where we rose to the occasion or hide in fear.
Let’s rise up together and make a difference for the causes we love.
Email Chester Moore at [email protected]