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Hunters needed by ecosystem
By Bill Kranig
I am a 20-year resident of Whidbey Island and an avid hunter for 47 years, though I have not hunted on the Island for a number of years due to my own personal preference for other locations. My wife chides me for traveling hundreds of miles to hunt an animal that freely grazes on all the plants, trees and shrubs planted in our yard. I guess its maybe one of those things where a person believes the grass to be greener on the other side of the road.
I am not that familiar with the Kettles area, but I am familiar with wilderness lands, healthy ecosystems, land stewardship, and the relationship that hunting plays in maintaining healthy wildlife populations for all citizens to enjoy. Recently, a letter writer made statements, seemingly against hunting, to which I take exception.
Reference was made to our historic relationship with our public lands, seeming to infer that hunting has not been a part of that relationship. Indeed, a large portion of that historic relationship includes hunting. The writer does not appear to have good information, or maybe, a clear understanding of just how vital hunting is to maintaining healthy wildlife populations and healthy public lands.
In another statement, the writer says, It is a contradiction to allow the hunting of living things while we support those same natural places and their healthy ecosystems. Yes, hunting is about the taking of living things, but it is definitely not a contradiction. Healthy ecosystems and hunting are not mutually exclusive.
Other statements, These few remaining special places . . . for those of us who would otherwise have no access to such lands, and hunters can still hunt on private lands, appears to indicate that it is impossible for walking groups to obtain permission from private landowners to walk their land. Im going to go out on a limb here, but I would guess it would be far easier for a walking group to obtain permission from a landowner, than it would be for a group of hunters.
In a final statement the writer says, This is an inappropriate use of public lands and is a poorly thought out change of public policy for Island County, leading me to believe the writer has no tolerance for hunting on public land, no matter where its located. I apologize if this is not what the writer intended, but thats the way it came across to me. As for a change in public policy for the county, I wasnt aware the county had a policy to eliminate hunting from public lands.
If I might make a suggestion, to anyone who wants to learn more about the vital role that hunting plays in keeping our ecosystems healthy, let me offer the following Web sites. They contain information that will enlighten individuals as to the tremendous value of hunting, and the role hunters play in land stewardship. Hunters do more than just pay the freight when it comes to wildlife and ecosystems. These are only a few of the organizations doing great work for the benefit of all, not just hunters. Each of these organizations has projects to enhance both habitat and wildlife. There are so many more.
Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation: www.elkfoundation.org.
Ducks Unlimited: www.ducks.org.
Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever: www.pheasantsforever.org
National Whitetail Deer Foundation: www.nwdf.com.
Bill Kranig lives in Oak Harbor.