Citing the “All Outdoors” column of the Nov. 13 issue of the Hardwick Gazette, “Vermont ranks first in wildlife-related recreation.” This is a euphemism for this tiny state being the largest hunting preserve in the nation in the name of wildlife management. If $300 million is collected annually from hunting activities in Vermont and all that money goes to the Fish and Wildlife Department, how can this blatant conflict of interest be called anything but revenue management? Fish and Wildlife’s public relations campaign, aided by the gun and hunting lobbyists, to promote even more hunting in this state smells more of greed than maintaining healthy animal populations.
How can our politicians justify confining rural Vermonters inside their homes for four months of the year while our common countryside is turned into a war zone? Do we not have the right to walk, work and play in our own woods? Must we wrap up in day-glow orange gear when walking to the mailbox so those with a gun don’t mistake white mittens for the white tail of a deer? Can the rights of landowners be ignored through official mandates that further burden those owners with a town registration fee for posting their land or disallow owners of land in the Current Use program from prohibiting hunting on that land?
Pink guns for Teach Your Kid to Kill Weekend. Shooting fawns, mother bears and bear cubs. Bragging about new recipes for barbecue. Is this the predatory mind-set we should be encouraging? Is the wildlife watching mentioned in this Gazette column referring to animals running in fear from those whose eyes are focused on death instead of wonder? Creating a mental distance between humans and animals helps to exclude them from the family of living creatures to which we all belong, and, consequently, easier to kill. And if lots of money can be made from preserving this notion, thinking otherwise is nothing short of heresy.
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