The wake-up temperature at my volunteer Wisconsin weather station this morning was -29.5F below zero and the windchill -52. While strolling around watching the sunrise, you could hear the freezing pop sounds inside the trees. Some of these trees will die from the damage. In the pole barn, some frozen mice were laying about on the floor, (no loss felt for them) victims of last night’s low temp. In the north country, it is no secret that cold kills. Throughout the woods and fields, there are most likely a variety of plants, animals, and birds that have perished in the first day of brutal cold.
As a young man during the early 70’s when fur prices were at their historic highs I ran trap lines in northern Minnesota. In those days there were very few passable remote roads in the winter if a trapper wanted access to prime fur they would snowshoe in with their packs full of equipment and live off the land for weeks. Living like this involved eating the flesh of the furbearers you caught, building a shelter from available materials, and keeping an adequate supply of firewood to make it through a few nights. There was no way to get a weather forecast so getting an unwelcome surprise, i.e. extended severe subzero temps and or blizzard was always possible.
In some ways, you’d hope for some, as it is called today “extreme weather”. Fifty years ago we called it weather and endeavored to survive it. Surviving is what the target animals were striving to do too. During these cold months, the animals are in search of food and shelter making them more responsive to trap sets using bait and/or shelter as a draw. In addition to the trapped
Much of my education of wild places took place by the example set by Aldo Leopold; daily observations. Now we have chattering class that constantly pontificates about the nature of things but clearly is unfamiliar with life in the wilds. So many make the claim we and the wild things are going to die by global warming. This hypothesis flys in the face of my half-century of observations. Warmer winter weather does not kill as many creatures as colder winters and the longer the cold lasts the more death results.
Back in the day, our elders taught us to be polite in conversations with strangers. We were instructed to never talk about politics or religion, so the weather was the safe topic. Fast forward to 2019, not so safe. I for one resent the politicization of the climate/weather. Perhaps it is getting warmer, or instead it’s getting colder on average,I do not know. What is very apparent to anyone who does even a little bit of observing of the wild ones, warmer rather than colder is better for survival.