Written by Carly Brasseux
“A true conservationist is a man who knows that the world is not given by his fathers, but borrowed from his children.” – John James Audubon
I was born and raised in Texas, had a couple of quick stints in New Mexico and Arizona and lived on two ranches as a young kid, but I’ve been a city girl most of my life. I didn’t grow up hunting and I’m definitely not a tomboy. I’m a mom of two kids, wife, daughter, and business owner.
I’m your typical city girl who became outdoorsy because I started hunting with my husband. Maybe those younger years are where the seeds were planted for my love of the outdoors. I simply just needed a push to get reacquainted with nature.
I started hunting because I fell in love with a true outdoorsman. And, while my hunting journey started because I wanted to connect with my husband, I ended up finding myself throughout the pursuit.
Spending time outdoors fuels my husband’s passion and now, fuels mine as well. He and I sneak away for kid-free weekends, and most importantly, we spend time outdoors, together, doing something we both love.
I am now a hunter and enthusiast for all things outdoors. I hunt to conserve our land and animal populations. I hunt to put food on my family’s table.
How did I get here? How did our hunting journey turn into one of conservation and a true love for the outdoors?
I began going with my husband to ranches, but not hunting. Then, we found a hunting lease. I immediately thought, “How much a year? How far from our house?” I saw the supplies and gear we bought and felt very resentful of the time and money spent on his hobby.
A few times a year, I went to our lease with him. As we drove around the ranch, overlooked a canyon at sunrise or sat in a blind at sunset, I started enjoying our time together outdoors. We were out of the city, had limited or no phone service and listened to our favorite country music. It was the purest of quality time. Staying in the car, reading a book or taking a nap gave me time for quietness and stillness.
Teaching gave my husband a new spark. He coached me, answered my questions, watched me shoot and find arrowheads. As we continued our outdoor adventures, he educated me on the importance of land and animal conservation and explained ethical hunting. I learned why doe management is important and about the carry capacity of land. I learned about native and non-native wildlife and the damaging effects of invasive species, for instance.
I learned regulated hunting has never led to a threatened or endangered wildlife population.
I learned conservation is when we protect wildlife and their habitat. It’s our job to safeguard our land for future generations and that those animals and habitats continue to grow and flourish. Habitat and animals are codependent and we cannot conserve one without. An overpopulation of herbivores, such as deer, can destroy vegetation. In fact, the Nature Conservancy considers an overabundance of deer in the eastern United States the greatest threat to the forests – even more so than climate change.
I learned habitats have a carry capacity based on its amount of food, water and space. There’s a fascinating story about the Kaibab Plateau in the 1900’s. With mule deer populations deteriorating, wildlife managers banned hunting and eliminated all predators which caused overpopulation, habitat devastation and mass famine. But, after hunting was allowed again, the population and habitat balanced and there is still a large and healthy herd there today.
I learned over $200 million dollars a year is collected through the sale of hunting and fishing licenses, game tags, stamps and taxes from the purchase of hunting equipment and ammunition, according to the Fish and Wildlife Service.
I learned hunters are three times as likely as non-recreationists to enhance wildlife habitat on public and private lands and are twice as likely to donate money to conservation.
I learned which Texas species are native and non-native. According to Texas Parks and Wildlife, white-tailed deer, mule deer, desert bighorn sheep and pronghorn antelope are native. Exotic and non-native species live outside of their natural habitat either through natural process or human activity. Exotics, and most non-natives, are harmless to our ecosystem. Exotics include aoudad sheep, axis deer, sika deer, fallow deer, blackbuck antelope and nilgai antelope. Soybeans and petunias are actually non-native species, but they harmless.
I learned invasive species harm our ecosystems by destroying our lakes, forests, agriculture and even economy. These include wild boars, feral goats and even house cats and field mice.
We’ve all seen the public awareness campaign to clean your boat to prevent the spread of zebra mussels. These little animals are causing massive economic, recreational and environmental impacts on Texas lakes.
I learned more than 2.6 million feral hogs live in Texas with nine million feral hogs across the U.S., which causes billions of dollars in damage every year. Because of improved habitats, disease eradication and high reproduction rates, the population continues to grow out of control. Hogs are so aggressive with food sources that deer will leave an area or only get the left behind scraps of food. The indirect damage to agriculture caused by rooting for food and trampling the ground is one of the largest problems caused by feral hogs.
I learned respectful hunting by a respectful hunter. Always take a clean shot. Eat or donate your meat. Use respectful terms like cull or harvest. Leave the land better than how you found it. Pick up trash; don’t litter. Develop your property or public land on behalf of the wildlife.
As Theodore Roosevelt said, “In a civilized and cultivated country, wild animals only continue to exist at all when preserved by sportsmen. The excellent people who protest against all hunting, and consider sportsmen as enemies of wildlife, are ignorant of the fact that in reality the genuine sportsman is by all odds the most important factor in keeping the larger and more valuable wild creatures from total extermination.”
About Carly Brasseux
Carly Brasseux currently lives in Dallas, TX and is President and Owner of Carly Brasseux Consulting. As a relationship and problem-solving expert, she currently works with clients in marketing and sales strategies and special project management.
She started hunting because she fell in love with a true outdoorsman. And, while her hunting journey started because she wanted to connect with her husband, she ended up finding herself throughout the pursuit.
She is now a hunter and enthusiast for all things outdoors. She hunts to conserve our land and animal populations. She hunts to put food on her family’s table.