In response to Les Palmer's Jan. 18 column, I agree with Mr. Palmer that our tradition of hunting seems to be less tolerated these days. But I doubt that change in attitude has as much to do with the occasional dead bear picture in the newspaper as it does with the animal rights movement's propaganda and Hollywood shows that portray humans as evil or stupid, and animals as intellectually superior beings wrapped in fur costumes. Most of us know that animals are not humans, yet some people are opposed to the killing of any wild or domestic animal based on those feelings. I believe many of those people are trying to avoid dealing with their own mortality through failure-assured attempts to save everything else around them from eventual death. Yet we all know that every living creature, including us, inevitably dies.
Thankfully, people are still able to legally and ethically pursue wild animals, kill them, and salvage the usable portions for human sustenance and enjoyment.
I'm not ashamed to be a hunter. Hunters pay for wildlife management and research in the United States through purchases of hunting licenses, tags, and other fees, as well as direct contribution of money and time to pro-hunting, wildlife conservation organizations. The Pittman-Robertson Wildlife Restoration Act of 1937 authorized a federal excise tax on the sales of firearms, ammunition, and archery equipment. That money is redistributed to all 50 states for wildlife management, research, and habitat protection. This system benefits everyone, even those who contribute nothing to it. Hunters also support local businesses and infrastructure through hunting-related purchases and taxes.
I appreciate the overall intrinsic value of wildlife, even though I legally hunt, kill and feed my family with it. I also love to watch wildlife.
I'll not be ashamed of our hunting heritage, "keep a low profile," or hide the mementos of my hunts as if they were the pornography that Mr. Palmer chose to compare them to. Outspoken, anti-hunting, animal rights activists are obviously not keeping low-profiles. Sometimes a hunting picture of particular interest is printed in the newspaper. If that offends you, just look the other way as I do when a picture offends me. A youngster posing for a picture with his or her first snowshoe hare or spruce hen is no different than an old guy with the last brown bear he'll ever hunt. Both animals are trophies to the hunters who harvested them, and they have every reason to be happy and share that experience with those who can appreciate the hunt and the hard work that goes into it.
I applaud the Clarion for publishing real-life, Alaskan hunting pictures. By the way, Mr. Palmer, I have an old, faded Clarion picture on my office wall that was taken of my wife and then 6-year-old daughter posing with their first Kasilof kings. Neither fish was very big, but that picture is still one heck of a trophy, and the fish tasted great!
Larry L. Lewis
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