Opinion

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 it’s 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. I’m 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 it’s located. I apologize if this is not what the writer intended, but that’s the way it came across to me. As for a change in public policy for the county, I wasn’t 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.

We encourage an open exchange of ideas on this story's topic, but we ask you to follow our guidelines for respecting community standards. Personal attacks, inappropriate language, and off-topic comments may be removed, and comment privileges revoked, per our Terms of Use. Please see our FAQ if you have questions or concerns about using Facebook to comment.
blog comments powered by Disqus

Read the latest Green Edition

Browse the print edition page by page, including stories and ads.

Jul 26 edition online now. Browse the archives.