11/16/04 — Sneaky: Anti-hunting letter writer aims attack at young boy

View Archive

Sneaky: Anti-hunting letter writer aims attack at young boy

Gail Grantham said that if she had written what she really wanted to, her letter to the editor would have been unprintable. Her 11-year-old grandson had been subjected to an underhanded attack.

As she explains in her letter, which is printed below, the boy got an envelope in the mail. Inside, he found a copy of his picture as it had appeared on the Sunday outdoor page of the News-Argus. It showed him with an eight-point deer that he had shot. “Killer” had been scrawled across his chest, and a note that accompanied the picture called him a monster.

The missive was unsigned, but the handwriting identifies the sender as the same person who sometimes leaves malicious notes at the newspaper itself and sends them to others whose pictures have appeared on the outdoor page.

Now, this person obviously is an animal lover. Nothing wrong with that. In fact, it’s admirable. But there are a few points that need to be made.

•First, to express oneself anonymously not only is cowardly, but it calls into question the real depth of a person’s commitment. He feels strongly enough to write an unsigned letter — which anyone could do — but not strongly enough to openly support his position. In other words, he hides, snipes and runs.

•Second, shooting a deer in the woods for venison is not wrong, any more than it is wrong to kill a steer in a slaughterhouse. In fact, killing the deer is far less cruel. The deer in its own environment has a better chance of survival than the steer.

And it is significant that the shooter — in Mrs. Grantham’s case, a young boy — witnesses the entire process. The experience can lead him to become a vegetarian if he finds it cruel. Or, maybe not. Anyway, when he eats a steak he has a good idea how it came to be on his plate.

•Third, most hunters love animals, too. They just understand the order of the food chain. We humans are at the top.

•Fourth, money from hunting and fishing licenses helps the state to save wildlife species.

Hunting is almost as old as mankind. Early man hunted because he had to. Now many men and women hunt because they like the exotic food that they garner, to meet a challenge that has come down through the generations, or because they love to be close to nature and to feel that they are a part of it.

They have that right. Others have the right to try to dissuade them. Let it be done openly, with reasoned debate, not with sneaky mailings and name-calling.

Published in Editorials on November 16, 2004 11:00 AM