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Bad for horn hunters, but good for wildlife

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Regarding the HCN article on antler hunting, I was glad to see that something positive has come out of the ludicrous Viagra/Cialis craze that fills up my e-mail spam filter daily (HCN, 8/8/05: Horn hunters face hard times). Now that artificial drugs have supplanted "traditional" remedies, we should see some relief for African rhinoceroses, North American elk and deer, and bears the world over.

I realize that there is an economic hit from this, and much of it impacts some pretty poor people. What was always troubling for me was not the people who sneak out into the backcountry of Yellowstone and gather up the "shed" antlers, but the regular reports of those who would run a small herd of elk into a snowbank, and then cut their antlers off while they are still in velvet (which fetched a far greater price, apparently). The elk then bled to death, or succumbed to the cold in their weakened condition. So, while I am sorry that the Boy Scouts will have to find another fund-raiser, and that marginal economies in small mountain towns will have one fewer option, I am not sorry to see the antler trade taking a (hopefully permanent) dive.

So, while I am sorry that the Boy Scouts will have to find another fund-raiser, and that marginal economies in small mountain towns will have one fewer option, I am not sorry to see the antler trade taking a (hopefully permanent) dive.

Sean Knight
Pojoaque, New Mexico

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