Letter: Columnist glorifies hunting to a dangerous degree

To the editor:

In response to some recent articles in the Reporter: Reporter columnist Brandon Butler is the leader of a hunting group in Jefferson City, Missouri (Conservation Federation of Missouri), and has been writing articles in some of our Indiana newspapers.

With all the enthusiasm he portrays for his sport, the thrill of the kill and the excitement of these outdoor activities, I had to wonder what makes this guy tick.

I visited his website and Facebook page and read some of his other writings, mostly out of curiosity. He has been “hunting his way across America” for years now, trying to bring down at least one of every kind of animal in every corner of the continent.

He says that Missouri needs over 40,000 new hunters this year, and he is trying desperately to reach that goal, mostly in the way of children. Is this really a necessary component of conservation?

His page is the usual mix of personal stuff and opinions and dead animals, most of it not too offensive until I saw a girl of about 6 years of age holding a shotgun with the caption, “she just took her first turkey.”

The woods is a dangerous-enough place without little girls and big guns. I’d be surprised if the recoil didn’t knock her down.

What makes a person feel this way toward nature anyway? As for any public speaker or writer, he has some degree of sway and influence over the minds of ordinary citizens.

He is obviously a dedicated representative of the hunting class of this nation, 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 wild animals, and they need to take up arms against it. I don’t know and don’t really want to know, but here in Indiana, I think that is not the case.

Do we actually have so much wildlife that we need to declare war on it? One of our former presidents (a big game hunter himself) once said something to the effect of “conservation is of the utmost importance,” but when hunting and conservation are taken to be synonymous, many of the efforts of conservation 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, preservation, and investment of our natural heritage.

There is more at stake than only the so-called game animals or the token amount of restored hunting grounds.

Please join the conservation movement today and donate or contribute to an organization that does not prioritize hunting over the importance of other national and world environmental health needs.

Bill Wrightsman