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Hunters plan course of action

February 11, 2001|By KIMBERLY YAKOWSKI

Hunters plan course of action



Concerned about the future of their sport, hunters throughout Western Maryland are planning on lobbying state legislators for their support.

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Steve Palmer, president of the Washington County Federation of Sportsmen's Clubs, and other local hunters are upset with Gov. Parris Glendening's so-called anti-hunting stance and fear that the sport will be prohibited in the near future.

Members of the Western Maryland Coalition of Sportsmen's Clubs endorsed a plan Sunday to petition state lawmakers by calling them and sending postcards and letters.

More than 100 hunters from Washington, Allegany, Garrett, Carroll and Frederick counties gathered at the North American Rod and Gun Club in Hagerstown Sunday afternoon, to discuss a plan of action.

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Palmer said he hopes the group can send tens of thousands of post cards or letters to make a big impact.

"We're not going to do it alone. We've got to work together," said Palmer.

A sample postcard presented at the meeting asked that senators and delegates persuade the state governor "to appoint competent, qualified leadership of the Department of Environmental Resources and it's Forest, Wildlife and Heritage Division."

Another paragraph said, "Citizen's (sic) are becoming increasingly incensed with the governor's contempt for and interference with the scientific management of our valuable resources. The governor must be made to realize that these changes are in the best interest of Maryland's resources."

Washington County sportsman Michael Crampton called hunting "a scared and significant privilege."

He said maintaining the right to hunt will take a unified effort.

"If we're concerned about this, we all have to get involved," he said.

Palmer recommended hunters register to vote and repeatedly call, write or meet with lawmakers on every level.

He advised those at the meeting to share their plans with other hunters and encourage them to participate as well.

"It's got to be a battle, it's got to be in the trenches or you might as well sell your guns," said Palmer.

If the postcards and letters fail to make changes, Palmer said he promotes stronger action, including hunting in other states and boycotting Maryland hunting licenses.

"It's not off the table," he said of a possible boycott.

Longtime hunter Terri Light said she would support a boycott if it comes to it.

Hunting is a pastime she shares with her family, she said. She said she likes the sense of history she feels from hunting and trapping animals the way past generations have.

"I know it's a different world now but I like things to get back to the basics," she said.

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