Article taken from the Maryland - Delaware - Virginia - West Virginia FISH FINDER + Huntin

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=========================================================================== Article taken from the Maryland - Delaware - Virginia - West Virginia FISH FINDER & Hunting News - October 1990. =========================================================================== Some Thoughts for an Anti-Hunter You've been pretty quiet recently. At least at the local level. But the winds are shifting more frequently to the north now, and there's a hint of autumn in the air. Not much. But enough to tickle the spines of those for whom hunting and its rich tradition mold a way of life. Soon the guns will begin popping-mostly dove hunters in the grain fields, but also a few echos from the rail marshes. Those milder reports from the hickory groves will be .22 rifle fans plinking away at evasive gray squirrels. Welcome sounds to hunters who have suffered through a hot and humid summer. Sights and sounds to arouse you from your long slumber. Pretty soon you'll be pecking away at your typewriter and cranking out twisted sentences and shallow paragraphs putting down hunters and hunting. Many of your possibly well-intentioned misconceptions will make the editorial pages across Virginia. Do you really understand what you are trying to accomplish? I don't think you will be, but let's suppose for a moment you are successful. Hunting is outlawed in Virginia. Will all hunters accept that? Have you thought that through? Looked at the consequences? An immediate loss would be the crack law enforcement force and the dedicated game biologists of the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries. There would be no money to pay their salaries, purchase patrol cars, and provide biological support these highly trained professionals need to protect those deer, ducks, turkeys, and other critters you insist hunters are destroying. Bearing the Cost Are you and your fellow anti-hunters willing to assume that financial load, to cough up anywhere from $5 to $50 each to match the money hunters shell out annually for licenses, permits, stamps, and tags for the privilege of hunting in Virginia? That money is needed to manage the state's wildlife resources and to protect it from illegal hunters. It's no small amount. Last year hunters paid $9,640,465 for various kinds of licenses or permits. Here we are talking about Virginia alone. Nationally, the figure was $400,000,000. Over the years hunters have shouldered the burden of paying for the nations conservation programs. And you would eliminate that? In Virginia approximately 400,000 hunters carry the load. And they do so willingly for the most part. Oh, there are always a few who grumble when the costs of hunting licenses are jacked-but never the serious hunter. Would the average taxpayer, many of whom do not hunt, be willing to assume the financial responsibility? No Protection for Wildlife Conservation programs supported by hunter's money provide for all wildlife, not just for game species. Bird watching is a growing outdoor recreation, and a healthy one. Songbirds benefit from game habitat improvement and they are protected from hunting. But who's there to hand out a ticket when some unscrupulous person shoots a songbird? The hunter-supported warden, of course. And you would take away this protection for the birds you profess a love for? Picture, if you can, a Virginia November when there is no hunting. Hunting has been banned and law-abiding hunters have put away their guns. But poachers haven't. They've always ignored the law, but now there are no wardens to apprehend them. Is this the goal you are seeking? And no biologist to halt an epidemic that's hammering the deer populations... I could go on. I don't think you'll win, Mr. Anti-Hunter. Your case is too weak. ===========================================================================


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