Well, if you haven’t heard of the drought already you must be one of the lucky few that isn’t being plagued by extreme heat and devastation to plants, crops and wildlife. For everyone else, all summer long we’ve heard an endless amount of ways being in the red zone is affecting our environment and our pocketbooks. In today’s latest, even the great Mississippi River is drying up—causing the barge industry to suffer.
With so much being affected by the drought, it’s hard not to report on how it’s impacting our community and way of life. So, when I went looking for story ideas for a KBIA feature story, I saw that deer hunting season was coming up. I immediately wondered how deer were being affected by the drought. Sure enough, tons of information popped up about deer dying from a disease called epizootic hemorrhagic disease, or EHD.
This disease is killing off deer in parts of Missouri so I wondered how deer hunters here in mid-Missouri might be affected. Sure, a slight decrease in deer population from the drought won’t stop avid hunters from going out for the sport, but will it change where they go? Or, will it change what food plots they plant? How much money they invest into hunting this year? Will hunting businesses suffer? What is the Missouri Dept. of Conservation doing to study this disease?
This week I’ve been on a bit of quest to find out some of the answers to these questions and I’ve already learned twice as much about hunting than I knew before (which might not be saying very much). Today, I visited the bow-hunting permit meeting the City of Columbia held. I had some interesting conversations with deer hunters from different parts of the state. I then stopped by Powder Horn Guns & Sporting to talk to more hunters and see if their business might be affected.
After discussing the drought with a few hunters and business people I learned some great information that I hadn’t anticipated or even thought of. The main concerns I heard were from hunters who use their own private property using food plots. Of course, the drought is affecting all plants and crops right now, so hearing about the hunters’ food plots was like hitting a reporting gold mine.
We’ll see where this lead takes me in the next week as I do interviews for the story. So far this story idea has proven to blossom—despite the drought.