Letters to the Editor

Vol. 8, No. 6
February 10-16, 2000
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A Bounty on that Rodent’s Head

Dear Bay Weekly:

In reference to your story “Squirrely Behavior” [Feb. 3-9]: In colonial Maryland, each head of a squirrel carried a bounty of tuppence, as did the head of each crow. That’s because they ate so much. The colonies needed food to survive, but everybody wanted to grow tobacco, the ‘cash’ crop, so the authorities did everything they could to encourage food growers. Bounty claimers would bring in sacks of heads.

—R. J. Rockefeller, Director of Reference Services, Maryland Archives

Hunters Are Conservationists

Dear Bay Weekly:

I would like to respond to a statement presented in the article “Duck Soup: DNR Blind Rules Retinkered” [Jan.13-19]. Sandra Martin states that “hunting ranks with junked cars, wild teenagers, and garbage eating dogs in these new Bay times.” I found those words sufficiently insulting to the hunting population that some facts about hunters and hunting need to be examined.

First and foremost, hunters are the most important conservationists in this country! The first president to seriously address conservation issues, Theodore Roosevelt, was an avid hunter. Hunters, through their license fees and excise taxes on guns and ammunition, have funded conservation efforts at all levels for many years. Organizations such as Ducks Unlimited, Delta Waterfowl, The Ruffed Grouse Society, Quail Unlimited and Pheasants Forever have spent millions of dollars and provided thousands of man-hours to rebuild vital wildlife habitat lost due to ‘progress.’ This effort, which benefits all wildlife, continues today.

These groups are made up of hunters, not backpackers, bikers or birdwatchers. Hunters spend more time outside, enjoying and experiencing the great outdoors than any other group of people (except perhaps fishermen). It is this intimate association with nature that forms the foundation of our love and respect for the outdoors and compels us to protect it for future generations.

Yes, we do harvest a small percentage of the game population but never to the detriment of the population as a whole. Our bag limits, season length, etc. are well regulated to prevent this.

Unfortunately, the same can’t be said of certain commercial interests. Has anyone ever wondered how many animals are permanently lost when hundreds of acres of woods and fields are destroyed to build a golf course? How about that trendy new shopping mall? Or those nice new condos down at the beach?

It’s about time hunters started receiving the credit we are due instead of the abuse we get every time some armchair conservationist hears a gun go off.

With an ever increasing human population and the resultant decrease in available hunting areas, hunters are going to be increasingly visible to the non-hunting public. It is my hope that publications such as yours will recognize our commitment to conservation as well as our deep respect not only for the animals we hunt but for nature as a whole. Thank you,

—Andrew G. Walther DVM, Lexington Park

Copyright 2000
Bay Weekly