Letter: Hunting should not be priority of efforts

To the editor:

Brandon Butler is the leader of a hunting group in Jefferson City Missouri (Conservation Federation of Missouri) and a columnist in several Indiana newspapers. He typically writes about the excitement of hunting activities and the thrill of the kill.

I visited his website and Facebook page to try and understand why anyone would encourage this as a sport. He has been “hunting his way across America” for anything he can. He signs up for special permits, waiting in line for the chance of bagging an underpopulated species, and complains when his number is not called.

He says that his home state of Missouri needs 40,000 new hunters this year, mostly children. His page was not too offensive until I saw a girl of about six years of age holding a shotgun with the caption “she just took her first turkey.”

Another post had several preteens holding handguns and rifles in front of a Christmas Tree with him standing in the middle grinning, “Brandon Claus has come to town bringing guns for all the good girls and boys.”

This is not much of a surprise when considering American culture, and I suppose that it may be normal on some level, but is this the type of behavior that we should aspire to? As with any public speaker or writer, he has some degree of influence over the minds of ordinary citizens.

He is obviously a dedicated representative of this nation’s hunting class, and he apparently lives and breathes for his time in the field, but are his ideals what is best for future generations?

Maybe Missouri is being overrun by wildlife, but in Indiana I think that is not the case. Theodore Roosevelt once said “There can be no greater issue than that of conservation in this country,” but when hunting and conservation are regarded as being synonymous, many of the efforts are somewhat counterproductive.

It has also been said many times (by outdoorsmen) that hunters are the largest group of wildlife conservationists in the country. This may be partially true, but it should only suffice until a better principled sector of the public becomes involved with the reconstruction and preservation of our natural heritage.

There is more at stake than only the so-called game animals or a token amount of restored hunting grounds. Please donate or contribute to an organization that does not give priority to hunting over other important environmental health needs.

Bill Wrightsman