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Letters to the Editor

Spring Turkey Contest - 15 April 2003

To the Editor:

Mike Kelly's column from April 15 speaks of the Adams Center Sportsman's Club and its "spring turkey contest." Prizes will be given to the brave warriors who kill and submit "the heaviest bird, longest turkey beard and longest spurs." We find contests such as these to be the pinnacle of disrespect for New York's majestic wildlife.

According to the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, excessive exploitation by market hunting was a contributing factor in causing the virtual disappearance of wild turkeys throughout the state.

It was not until the late 1950's that the birds were trapped from a small population in southwestern New York and relocated to other parts of the state, in an effort to establish populations dense enough to open hunting seasons for the birds.

Today, the population of wild turkeys is manipulated to provide maximum recreational opportunities for sport hunters - people who derive pleasure from killing harmless animals. The DEC does this to maximize their income, since the salaries of DEC officials are paid for through the sale of hunting licenses. In order for these people to keep their jobs, they must ensure that there are ever growing populations of animals that hunters enjoy killing.

Hunting contests, such as those sponsored by the Adams Center Sportsman's Club show that there is no shortage of people willing to be cruel toward animals. Thankfully, those who hunt are a small and shrinking minority of the public. As an organization that promotes sound wildlife management techniques and an appreciation for New York's biodiversity, we suggest that the Adams Center Sportsman's Club sponsor a turkey photography contest, instead of a turkey killing contest. This will prove far more valuable to both the participants and the turkeys.

Joe Miele
Committee to Abolish Sport Hunting
201-368-8271

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