The issue of African Swine Fever, ASF for short, is important for hunters and other outdoors people who might get to travel to countries with wild boar populations.In fact, all tourists travelling to and from countries where ASF is present should be aware of the basic facts and take the necessary precautions.
To raise awareness of this serious disease, I sat down with Shane McAuliffe, who is the director and secretary of the Irish Pig Health Society, to talk about ASF, what it is and what you should and shouldn’t do if you are coming back home from one of the countries where ASF is present.
A few weeks ago I published a series of videos on YouTube (and this website) regarding the proposed EU ban on all lead in shooting and fishing. At that time, Dan Curley, the chairman of NARGC, helped a lot by providing me with the information and documentation regarding this issue.
In this episode, I met with Dan in person to discuss what has happened since. And a lot has happened. In fact, you should check Dan’s appeal here regarding the action you ought to take if the issue of lead use in shooting and fishing is something you care about.
But the ban on lead is far from the only thing we discussed in this podcast. We discussed the work and role of NARGC, the scientific projects NARGC is involved in, the state of the countryside, woodcock population research and predator control issues.
The Wild Deer Association of Ireland was on my radar for a long time for all the obvious reasons. I have even had one of their long-time members, Paul Dowling, on the podcast. But we ended up talking about deer hunting in general, rather than about the Wild Deer Association of Ireland.
So, more than one year later, I am pleased to host on the podcast David Dunne, who is a seasoned deerstalker and the event organizer for the Wild Deer Association of Ireland. During our session, we talked about the association and its goals and campaigns. We also discussed many more general subjects related to wild deer, hunting, and the environment.
Listeners to this podcast, outdoors people, are a high-risk group when it comes to Lyme disease, a serious bacterial infection that gets passed to humans through tick bites. Spending long hours in the wild, often off the beaten track, exposes us to insect bites more than regular folks. But Lyme disease is not only a threat to bushwhacking deerstalkers. Even children on the playground are at risk.
The consequences of untreated Lyme disease can be devastating and nothing short of life-changing. To make things worse, the diagnosis of Lyme disease is very difficult, knowledge about it among medical personnel is weak and treatment is prolonged and complicated. As always, prevention is a much better option.
Listen to this episode where I talk with Mary Ferry Smyth of Tick Talk Ireland about everything you need to know about Lyme disease, ticks and how to decrease the risk of contracting this nasty condition.
Many of us outdoors people like to keep records of the animal and fish species we have encountered, caught or seen during our time in the outdoors. To keep those records we use spreadsheets, databases, dedicated apps and, perhaps, a pen and paper if you’re a little old-timey chap. As it turns out, there is a website that can not only help you record and explore your sightings but also include your data in the national dataset that is used by scientists. This website is operated by The National Biodiversity Data Centre and, in this episode of the podcast, our guest is their Citizen Science Officer, Dave Wall.
Just the other day, my buddy and I were unpacking our gear and were about to take a walk to our fishing mark. A passing family with two small kids waved at us and wished us good luck. This was not an uncommon occurrence. Many times, over the years, I have been greeted by, and even gotten into friendly chats with, non-angling passersby. On that day, while walking to our destination, we began to talk about how nonparticipants accept angling much more than hunting. We agreed that if we had been pulling out rifles, instead of fishing rods, from the trunk of our car, we wouldn’t have enjoyed such friendly reactions.
So why doesn’t angling spark such negative emotions as hunting? This must have something to do with the arbitrary scale each of us uses to assign value to the life of various creatures. We usually do so based on intelligence (elephants are so smart) or size (whales are so big) or perceived scarcity of the resource (there are not many lions left in the world). No matter how you cut it, fish usually rank pretty low on the scale. They are fairly simple creatures which are not fluffy or cute and in most cases are perceived as plentiful. So the public doesn’t mind seeing a dude with a fishing rod on the river bank.
Unfortunately, with the growth of radical environmentalism coupled with the recreational outrage culture, things have begun to change. Nowadays, anglers are criticised more often than before. The arguments are not new. Anti-anglers use the same rhetoric as anti-hunters: the causing of unnecessary pain to a fish, the allegedly negative impact on the environment, the supposed sanctity of all life, and all the rest of the quasi-ethical arguments. Social media platforms provide a slick echo-chamber for perpetuating such arguments. Alas, many people choose to shape their view of the world based on the shallow and uninformed opinions of their favourite celebrity, rather than scientific evidence.
It is somewhat worrying that this trend can also be seen among the hunting and fishing community. It is becoming more common for sportsmen to criticise each other based on what tackle they use or what quarry they pursue. For example, I have met a few anglers who were very critical about hunting, clearly blindfolded to the fact that angling is, itself, a form of hunting. So if you are a hardcore catch & release angler, criticizing fellow sportsmen, remember that you might be surprised, sooner than you think, to find yourself on the wrong side of this argument.