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Stereotyping hunters is easy

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Dear HCN,

Thanks for providing an open and honest forum so that we can discuss the myriad issues, such as hunting, that affect the West. In recent issues I've read Stephen Gies' whiny diatribe about the "macabre act of hunting" and Marc Gaede's bizarre but hilarious evaluation of the human male. I fit their stereotype. I am a former college football player (seeker of violence), Army officer (testosterone-induced war monger), and currently teach social science and coach football at South Medford High School (preaching competition during peacetime).

I have hunted, fished and backpacked for over 25 years. I did not attend a prestigious institution such as the Art Center College of Design, but I have educated myself about wilderness, wildlife and solitude without the aid of a global positioning system or snowmobile.

Hunters certainly can improve. We should never attempt to defend unethical practices such as baiting, salting, using dogs to tree cougars and bears for certain execution, or hunting for trophies. As hunters, we must always speak out against ignorance or we will lose our hunting privileges. We won't lose our privileges because of men like Stephen Gies or Marc Gaede. If we lose the privilege to hunt, we'll lose because of slob hunters and loss of habitat.

Mr. Gies ripped David Petersen's book, but probably didn't get any further than your review. Living in the wild canyons of Pasadena, Mr. Gaede did not do much better. Nature writers such as Rick Bass, Ted Kerasote and Petersen are among the best conservationists that our nation has produced. They hunt, but they also defend wild country and wildlife with passion. Hunters have lots of room for improvement, but we have done more for the protection of wild country and wildlife - while taking responsibility for providing a portion of our own food - than the great majority of citizens in this country. Unfortunately, Gies and Gaede will never believe that. How open-minded are they? Not enough to get beyond the blood!

Mike Beagle

Eagle Point, Oregon

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