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They're probably afraid of the dark, too

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The letters responding to "The New Conservationists" were all equally noteworthy (HCN, 7/23/07). Most were insightful in that we all recognize organizations like Sportsmen for Fish and Wildlife and their henchmen like Don Peay are anything but conservationists. What is missing from the analysis, though, is SFW, Peay and his ilk in other Western states, are not in vogue and political power because of right wing Republicans and their minions. They exist because of, and are embraced by, many state wildlife agencies. They provide cover for SFW and their bidding, as most state wildlife agencies are nothing more than recreational agencies focusing almost solely on ensuring the hook-and-bullet clubs have adequate recreational opportunities to treat wildlife as fish and game. The distrust of biologists and biology expressed by Peay isn't directed at state wildlife agencies - they are recreation managers, calculating sustained yields and number of hunters. They are trained to ensure there will be plenty of elk, deer, pronghorn, moose, bighorn sheep and fish, mostly non-natives of course, to shoot and catch. Cougar, bear, lynx and now wolves are much harder to "manage" and thus to many state wildlife agencies are problems. The fewer the better - ecosystems don't matter, wildness is meaningless in their minds. In fact, I've always had this feeling that the SFW group is very much afraid of wildness - literally, they are afraid of the woods.

Dick Carter
High Uintas Preservation Council
Hyrum, Utah

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