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So, Paul Ryan is a "noodler", in that he likes to catch catfish by hand. This increasingly popular activity is the focus of several recent cable reality shows.

A noodler will swim along the bank of a river or lake and look for underwater holes and stick their hand in to where the catfish is hiding, grab the fish and drag it out.

OK, so at first blush, so what? People fish with a line all the time.  Why should there be any difference between line fishing and "noodling"?  

The thing about noodling is that the reason these catfish are in the hole is that they are spawning. In other words, they are laying and guarding their eggs and young.  Therefore, when the adult catfish is yanked away by a noodler, hundreds of eggs are left unguarded and will therefore never hatch and reduce the catfish population of that body of water.  

As such, it seems to me that "noodling" is a terrible practice.  In the days when there were relatively few people noodling, it wouldn't be a big deal, but this is a "sport" that is expanding I'd speculate it's probably already had a significant impact on the catfish population where noodling happens.  I'd like to see if anyone has studied the impact of noodling on the population of catfish in the areas where it's extensive.

In addition, Ryan is a bow-hunter, a method of hunting that often wounds animals without an immediate death, so that they get away, but die hours or days later, unfound, in agony, and thus the meat is wasted and the bow-hunter simply attempts to kill again and again until they bag a deer.  A poor bow hunter might end up killing several deer for every one they finally find and recover; a very inefficient method of hunting.

Is it a surprise that Ryan has hobbies that are so bad for the environment? No, not given his voting record on environmental issues, nor given his general Ayn Rand selfishness attitudes.  If he doesn't care about sick people being kicked off medicare, why would he care about mere fish and deer or the environment.


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