It was my first wildlife association meeting in five or six years and there were many people I didn’t recognize.
Scott Cook was one of the familiar faces. A longtime supporter of the Kings County wildlife association and a staunch conservationist, Scott has been president of the group for several terms and is a 25-year member. He took the floor in this capacity when the meeting got underway, calling upon another longtime association supporter and 25-year member, Paul Rogers, to read the minutes.
After treasurer George Bullen informed the group they were in sound financial condition and Jim Haverstock did a sales pitch for hats – it’s a given that wildlife association members must have hats with club emblems on them! – the meeting got down to the real purpose for everyone being there. From one end of the province to the other, wildlife associations support various conservation efforts – stocking, fishing and hunting regulations, water enhancement programs, all are grist for association mills – and as I listened I learned that the Kings County group is involved in many projects.
An ongoing association project is wood duck nesting boxes. Over the years the association has constructed and placed hundreds of wood duck boxes around Kings County. This year would be no exception. A motion from the floor to purchase material, a discussion on where and when the boxes would be put together and who would put them out. The result was that this spring 31 new nesting boxes would benefit the wood duck population in wetlands across the county.
The wood duck project settled; the members discussed another ongoing conservation project. The last time I was at a wildlife meeting the association was heavily involved with salmon enhancement on the Gaspereau River. This has been a major project over the years, and it has resulted in the rejuvenation of the Gaspereau’s salmon population. Without the project, I doubt anyone would be angling for salmon in the river today.
From fishing, the members moved to a discussion of the upcoming moose and bear seasons. Videos of previous moose hunts in the Cape Breton highlands would be screened later, a member announced. Then came break time. With a welcome coffee in hand, I sat back to look around the room.
An interest in wildlife, fishing, hunting and conservation bring people of varying backgrounds together. There were several youths in the room, several professional people, trappers, hunters, anglers, at least one farmer. Some of the faces were familiar but I couldn’t put names to them. I recognized another 25-year member, Buck Longley. (For their 25 years of dedication to the wildlife association, Longley, Scott Cook and Paul Rogers would later be recognized by the Nova Scotia Wildlife Federation, but this was a secret at the time).
After the break, the members approved various cash donations – $500 to fight Bill C68 went to a prairie association, $100 to assist a local youth archery club, and so on. Scott Cook announced that the association would again sponsor a sports fishing weekend in June and a July bass tournament. A brief discussion of guide courses and exams. Mention that the market snaring of rabbits was becoming a problem.
“A wildlife group in action,” I thought to myself as I scribbled some notes. I was glad to be back.
Then Scott Cook announced that at the next meeting they would try something George Bullen had suggested. Members were requested to bring samples of their wildlife cooking – pheasants, duck, grouse, venison, bear meat, whatever they wished. Yes, I was definitely glad to be back.