Hunters provide valuable service

The writer in last week’s Mailbag expressed the premise that bowhunting (and later she added rifle hunting as well) is cruel.

While there’s no getting around the fact that some animals are wounded and suffer, that can be helped immensely by hunters taking only high percentage, humane shots.

But, being that the writer is concerned with preventing the suffering of wild animals, she should be 100 percent behind the hunters. What she fails to realize is that, left totally to the hands of nature, virtually every wild animal dies a violent or a lingering death.

Wild animals, like humans, get more ailments and diseases as they get older. But unlike humans, they have no doctors or medicines to ease the pain.

They suffer through it and ultimately die, either from the disease or at the hands of the many wild predators.

Let her take a walk through the late winter woods and find the emaciated forms of deer who have succumbed to starvation. Or let her find the carcass of a deer taken down by a pack of coyotes.

They first hamstring the animal so it can’t run.

Then they begin feeding on it before it’s even dead – sometimes while it’s still standing. It’s not a pretty sight. And we’ve all seen the carnage along the highways each year (especially at this time of year).

For every one we see, I’m sure there are just as many that are injured and crawl off to die a lingering death. Without hunters thinning the numbers, the number of deer-vehicle collisions would be much higher.

Could/should hunters be more careful about what shots they take and when they take them? Absolutely. No hunter/sportsman would ever argue that point.

And I’m sure I’ll never change the mind of the writer who simply does not like hunting.

But please don’t paint us as the villains here. We’re one of the most valuable tools the game managers have for controlling wild game populations, while doing it in the most humane way possible.

Jeff McNelis