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Sportsmen's Caucus

March 28, 1994

Your unbiased article about hunters and the Congressional Sportsmen's Caucus (March 16) was long overdue. As a longtime hunter, fisherman and conservationist, I would hesitate before aligning myself with such an apparently elitist group. Instead, I would prefer that hunters and fishermen work more closely with various environmental groups such as the National Audubon Society, the Sierra Club and the Nature Conservancy. As Richard Parsons of the Safari Club points out, goals of environmentalists and hunters are exactly the same: preservation of wilderness and natural habitat for the enjoyment of future generations.

You make the point that hunters' numbers are dwindling, but 15 million licensed hunters are still more than double the total membership of the 12 most prominent conservation groups in the country. With the sheer numbers and financial clout of sportsmen and the organization and financing of environmental groups, such an alliance could prove a formidable foe for those that would unabashedly trash our environment in the name of development and jobs.

Finally, pointing out that hunters and fishermen have long financed habitat conservation and restoration in this country through license fees and self-imposed special taxes raises the obvious question: If the animal rights movement were to succeed in banning hunting and fishing, who would foot the bill?


Huntington Beach

It is a sad state of the union when both the President's Administration and nearly half of the Congress actively promote the recreational killing of animals.

President Clinton's "point man on the hunting issue," U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Deputy Director Kenneth L. Smith, believes that "it is important for the (Fish and Wildlife) service, state agencies and the hunting community as a whole to engage in outreach to promote hunting among the young and those who live in urban areas."

Our wildlife has been mismanaged for years because the Fish and Wildlife Service and all 50 state wildlife agencies are disproportionately stacked with hunters. There are many more Americans who enjoy wildlife through non-consumptive activities (such as wildlife photography, hiking and bird-watching) than there are hunters, yet the professional wildlife agencies continue to actively promote hunting opportunities and interests.

Only 7% of the American public hunts. The hunting population is even lower in many states, such as the 2% who hunt in California. State and federal agencies should manage America's wildlife in the interests of the entire public, not only the small but vocal minority of people who enjoy killing animals for their amusement.


South Pasadena

"A Surprise Bounty for Hunters" highlights some of the mischief the National Rifle Assn. and the Congressional Sportsmen's Caucus are up to. In particular, their efforts to deny national park protection to the East Mojave in the California desert are shortsighted.

Hunting is not permitted in national parks. National and state parks serve as important habitats for several endangered species. The proposed East Mojave National Park has very limited hunting opportunities. In recent years less than two dozen deer tags have been used annually in the area. The California Desert Protection Act permits hunting to continue in wilderness and non-wilderness areas administered by the Bureau of Land Management.


Regional Vice President

Southern California/Nevada, Sierra Club

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