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Letters to the Editor

March 01, 2009

Don't hunt or fish? You benefit anyway



To the editor:

There is a powerful force in the crisp air, and I, for one, cannot turn my back on it. I know the origin of "conservatism" and the pragmatic, rugged individualism logic that drives it.

This year, like every year, there is an effort in the Maryland State House to ban hunting on public lands. I am not sure why, but perhaps this is due to lack of knowledge on the part of those who back such a ban.

Many people don't know that outdoorsmen provide roughly 75 percent of all funds for state departments of natural resources for overall environmental management. Quality air, soil and water come from healthy wildlife habitat and that has always been our mission statement.

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Most don't know that funds generated through hunting, fishing and trapping licenses, stamps and various other self-imposed fees are also used to protect non-game species, provide areas for bird watchers and build trails for hikers.

You're welcome.

Too many people don't know that there are more turkey, elk, whitetail deer, geese, black bears and cougars in North America than at any time in our nation's history. America's wildlife management system is envied around the world for its overwhelming successes. Hunters, fishers and trappers demanded this and we rejoice in our success.

As a conservationist, I believe in the wise use of our precious life-giving resources and clearly understand man's critical responsibility for the stewardship of our wild ground and our wildlife.

I hunt, kill animals, start fires and barbecue my family's food. I bait hooks, catch fish and then cook them in garlic and butter. That's absolute perfection, just as God intended. How can anyone find fault with the perfect conservation lifestyle that is based on the sound science of biodiversity, sustained yield and responsible, renewable resources hands-on utility?

You probably don't know that hunting, fishing and trapping generates more than $30 billion annually for the U.S. economy: $2.5 billion in annual federal tax revenues, $4.2 billion in state tax revenues each year and provides well over 593,000 jobs for Americans. Wildlife should be counted in the asset column.

You probably don't know that tens of millions of American families spend hundreds of millions of hours in the great outdoors or that hunting is one of the safest recreational pursuits in America, with far fewer injuries or deaths per capita than skiing, football, cycling, swimming or boating.

Hunting and fishing are not sports that require great physical prowess, but rather rely on mental skill and senses, while creating a heightened sense of awareness and a connection to the Good Mother Earth. You can teach a child more about life during a day in the woods or along a stream than you can in a year in a classroom.

In this turbo-electrified, computerized, instant gratification world in which our children are immersed, the thrilling disciplines of hunting and fishing teach patience, responsibility, humility, persistence and real cause and effect. To understand the true circle of life and to appreciate it for all that it is. There can be no argument that these are the character traits that mold immature young people into mature, productive, conscientious adults.

For my children, there is nothing more magical than dawn in the woods. There is nothing fake or superficial. They are outside, away from mind-numbing electronics and their senses are alive. And, to me, nothing is more special than seeing them grasp the reality of life, and to experience the fulfillment of providing food for the family table and practicing hands-on conservation.

Many of you perhaps think that hunters and hunting is barbaric, while eating your chicken nuggets and hamburgers. Maybe you believe it is holier to eat something that someone else has bludgeoned to death. Or perhaps you live in denial that a Whopper once lived. I prefer not to live in such a fantasy world, or have my children do so, either.

As a heart-attack survivor, I understand the need for healthy eating, and I can assure you there is nothing healthier than venison I have harvested with my own hands.

It was not fed hormones or growth enhancers, its death was clean and quick and the meat was not processed in a filthy factory.

You probably didn't know that hunters provide more than 250 million meals each year to the less fortunate by providing a portion of our game to homeless shelters through our nonbureaucratic, nontax wasting and therefore very efficient Hunters for the Hungry programs.

You don't know these wonderful things because the outdoor community has not reached beyond the choir to educate anyone about the amazing success story of America's conservation efforts, activities and programs.

Many of you reading this are not hunters and do not understand the outdoor lifestyle. But without a doubt, you benefit from those who do.

S. Christian Anders
Sharpsburg




Can't Black Rock give senior golfers a break?



To the editor:

I read the Feb. 20 letter to the editor from Clifford Eardley, "Black Rock Golf Course too pricey for seniors."

I agree with Eardley in regard to the cost. The foursome I play with does not play Black Rock because of the cost. We travel the four-state area to play and everywhere we play is $25 or less.

Black Rock is an asset to the county, but most county seniors cannot afford to play there. We would play at least once a week if the price was lowered. I have spoken to a member of the board of directors, but nothing has been done. I believe that the cost for seniors could/should be $25 or less Monday through Thursday.

This would bring more seniors to the course every week. I agree with Eardley that 200 golfers a day at $22 will bring in more revenue then they now get. Currently, Black Rock does nothing for this county's seniors. But then again, neither do the County Commissioners.

Wayne Winebrenner
Hagerstown

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