Letter to the Editor

Department's view on hunting

Thursday, March 29, 2012

State conservation departments historically have been advocates for recreational hunting. The "conservation movement" was created by hunters (most notably Theodore Roosevelt) not to protect wild animals but to promote hunting. Hunting fees and the Pittman-Robertson Act provide a great deal of revenue to state wildlife agencies.

Even though we all pay sales tax to the Missouri Department of Conservation, it still see its primary purpose as providing optimal hunting experiences to the minority of citizens who hunt. On its website, the department recommends, "If you live in a community with an overabundance of deer, but ordinances prohibit hunting, let your city officials know that you would like to see the ordinances changed."

The Missouri Department of Conservation is deeply tied to hunting and (as I have learned) quickly turns suspicious to inquiries about hunting accidents or animal welfare. They were reluctant to release statistics regarding hunting accidents without clearance by their legal advisers.

Hidden deep within the Department of Conservation's website: "Deer may not drop right away when hit by an arrow. Deer could run several hundred yards before dropping and may cross into another person's property." Numerous studies show that at least 50 percent of deer shot with arrows are not killed but are crippled and left to suffer.

Many of us who recognize the gratuitous cruelty of bowhunting have faith that this attitude on the part of "conservation" agencies will change. For now, we find encouragement that most Cape Girardeau citizens do not want urban hunting.

STEPHEN W. STIGERS, Cape Girardeau