Nature Wars by Jim Sterba, A Book Review
As the cover states, this book is about the incredible story of how wildlife comebacks have turned suburban backyards into wildlife battlegrounds. Jim starts with arrival of the pilgrims and the massive deforestation and wildlife exterminations that followed the settlement of America. He then carefully, with extensive research, explains the reasons for the re-growth of the Eastern forests since the mid-1800. Moving on from there to the wildlife conservation movements which gained momentum at the turn of the century. He explores the demise of the small farm, and the massive population move to the suburbs following WW II. He then finishes with the influx of wildlife back into this “new” forest.
Written from a pro-hunting point of view, he acknowledges that hunting alone cannot control this population explosion. He breaks down the most common animals into chapters. Beginning with the common beaver, followed by our favorite whitetail deer, Canada goose, wild turkey, and black bear, but so many other species, domestic and natural, are thrown in the mix. He discusses the economic as well as emotional side of wildlife management faced by municipalities and wildlife departments across the United States. Emotions to often dictate wildlife management in this country as Election Day referendums and law suits threaten all lethal methods of animal control.
Jim’s insight as to the cause of some of these population increases are truly out-of-the box thinking, but really made sense to me. My own town was even featured in the goose chapter. He certainly doesn’t have the answer, but the problem is here to stay and will only continue to grow. This is a must read for any suburban dweller who thinks the cute fuzzy deer, goose, or bear in their backyard doesn’t present far reaching, costly, and life threatening danger at the same time. A majority of Americans have become denatured. Most people reading this post don’t fall into that category as outdoor types, but think of how many people today get their nature input from TV and computer instead of actual time afield.
As a hunter in the suburbs of New York City, I was especially fascinated by this book. Very happy that is appears my hunting will continue to get better, but also weary of the expense and potential hazard which will continue to increase yearly. I highly recommend this book (Nature Wars: The Incredible Story of How Wildlife Comebacks Turned Backyards into Battlegrounds)and give it Five stars.