This week I was again reminded of the problems that sometimes arise as humans and wildlife attempt to share this same planet.
As proven by the slow but constant increase in their dead carcasses along our south central Kansas roads, more Armadillos are moving into our part of the state all the time. Last week I got a call from a friend who lives in the community surrounding the Highlands Golf Course northwest of Hutchinson. Something was riddling her lawn at night by digging small holes all over it and she was told it was probably an armadillo. Now armadillos are quaint little creatures that usually cause no trouble. They are especially fond of grubs and worms and are second only to badgers in their digging ability, and the sand hills area around the golf course makes for easy digging; not a good combination especially in this part of the world where pristine lawns rank right up there with good fried chicken. They can hear or smell the grubs under the surface of the soil and waste no time digging them up for a tasty midnight snack. When I was a kid there was a Japanese beetle infestation in our part of Ohio and skunks, who also relish grubs, were ruining golf course greens at night by digging out Japanese beetle grubs from beneath the soil. Both situations had the same outcomes. All involved were glad to get rid of the grubs for sure, but not for the price of their lawn and golf course greens being ruined. The armadillo and skunks were both just doin’ what God created them to do.
Beavers are another good example of this predicament. Beavers are engineers and dam builders deluxe, and their dams create many nice ponds when creeks and streams are dammed-up. In mountain settings or in pastures or other locations where these resulting ponds are not a problem for anyone, the beavers can live their life without interruption. After all, these ponds become watering holes for wildlife (and in some situations even livestock I suppose,) they become marvelous trout and fish ponds and they make magnificent duck and goose habitat. The problems arise when creeks, streams and rivers in farm country are dammed-up and flood crop land, and most farmers can’t or won’t put up with that. Beavers also tend to cut down the best trees available. When I was first learning to trap beavers here in Kansas, I came upon a spot along wolf creek just outside our little town where so many nice trees had been felled it looked as though someone was preparing to build a log home there. If a strain of beavers could be bred to cut only brush and unwanted intrusive timber along creeks, I could probably make my fortune by leasing out flocks of them to local farmers! Once again, beavers get themselves into hot water by doin’ what God created them to do.
There are other examples of this same dilemma; deer/vehicle collisions in the fall because of deer following their God-infused desire to multiply, coyotes taking down a calf or a lamb because they were created to be a predator, etc. You all know that my wife and I are trappers and hunters, and heartily advocate the harvest of wildlife to control their numbers and the removal of problem wildlife when necessary, so I’m not even hinting at giving wildlife free-rein of our countryside because they simply follow their instincts. It just helps me see things differently when I consider that all wildlife are just doin’ what God created them to do. Continue to Explore Kansas Outdoors.