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Letters to the Editor

YOUNG GUNS IN JERSEY TAKE TO SPORT OF HUNTING - April 20, 2003

To the Editor:

The "sport" of hunting is in danger of becoming a thing of the past, so it is no wonder that the New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife is heavily promoting youth hunting programs in a desperate attempt to keep the sport alive. (YOUNG GUNS IN JERSEY TAKE TO SPORT OF HUNTING - April 20, 2003)

Despite being required to take a hunter safety course, there is an alarming number of hunting related accidents each year. These accidents are the result of people being mistaken for targeted animals, accidental weapon discharges, bullet ricochets, and other causes.

Children ten years old and younger are encouraged by the Division to fire guns and kill animals, when instead they should be taught to respect nature and protect it from wanton destruction. Children are injured and killed in hunting accidents every year, and putting more children in harm's way by giving them guns and sending them into the woods is the height of irresponsibility.

Will these youth hunting programs teach students that hunting increases animal populations? Will students be taught that non-native animals are bred to be nothing more than living targets for hunters, and that those animals who are not killed will most likely starve to death after being released into an unnatural environment? Will the programs teach students that the division routinely clear cuts areas of forest to increase the amount of browse available for deer so that their numbers increase? Given the arrogance of the Division, it is very doubtful that these issues will be addressed.

If children are to be taught about healthy ecosystems and responsible wildlife management, they will reject the "kill 'em all" philosophy of the New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife. I welcome the day when education and natural attrition makes sport hunting an ugly thing of the past. For more information on the realities of sport hunting, please see our websites:
www.all-creatures.org/cash
www.wildwatch.org  and
www.canadageese.org .

Joe Miele
New Jersey Field Office
C.A.S.H. - Committee to Abolish Sport Hunting
201-368-8271

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