Animals in the Wild
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by Jim Robertson
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Private Land can be a Refuge for Wildlife

This letter appeared in the Methow Valley News in August 2003

Git the gun Martha, it sounds like that commie editor at the Methow Valley News wants us to take down our "No Hunting" signs and replace them with "Welcome Hunters"!

His allusion that turning back the clock will bring egalitarian bliss is part of a collective, Rousseauan fantasy which preaches the revisionist history that Indian tribes did not claim lands for their own. The fact is that many defended to the death their territories against neighboring tribes. And contrary to popular belief, their hunting practices were cruel and often had staggering impacts on local wildlife populations.

Harvard biological anthropologist Richard Wrangham and author Dale Peterson address revisionism in their 1996 book "Apes and the Roots of Human Violence". In a chapter titled "Paradise Imagined" they write: "Many of us who...absorbed the ideas of anthropologists like Margaret Mead, find deeply comforting their evocation of paradise and their notion that human evil is a culturally acquired thing, an arbitrary garment that can be cast off like our winter clothes". The chapter goes on to challenge this falacy with examples of human ill-behavior throughout the ages and concludes with: "To find a better world we must look not to a romanticized and dishonest dream forever receding into the primitive past, but to a future that rests on proper understanding of ourselves".

Considering all the public lands in the area, there's no reason to suggest that property owners should not mark their land with No Hunting/No Trespassing signs. I'm all for taking down unnecessary fences and would like to see all fences modified so wildlife can pass safely through. But private land can serve as a refuge for our wildlife neighbors in areas surrounded by public lands already open to hunting.

Jim Robertson


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