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Your Opinion: Rebuttal on deer hunting

Dear Editor:

According to the Missouri Department of Conservation, in 1925 the deer population in this state was around 400. The department’s efforts to increase Missouri’s deer population by bringing in deer from other states and restricting hunting have been very successful. In 1944, 583 deer were killed in Missouri. Recently the total number of deer killed by gun and bow hunters each year has been about 300,000. Missouri has an enormous deer population that is managed solely for the benefit of hunters.

There would be a much smaller and less destructive deer herd in Missouri if it were not being maintained at the cost of tax dollars as well as human life and well-being. Last year 2.1 percent of all traffic accidents in Missouri were deer related with an average cost of $3,171. Five deaths and 276 injuries resulted. Each year about one in 150 Missouri drivers will be involved in a deer/car accident.

Donna Bernskoetter writes that she is a “bit offended” by my characterizing deer hunters as people with a strong sense of entitlement and an unwillingness to recognize the destruction that their hobby causes.

I’ve spent quite a bit of time in the Missouri woods and I’ve known many deer hunters. I’ve shared laughs and beers and good cheer with them many times but this thing that they like to say about their being motivated to thin the herd by a sense of mercy and duty is just bunk.

They are normal guys who are doing what feels good. Donna’s husband seems to think that non-hunters have no real appreciation of nature and see hunters as “blood-thirsty killers.” This is pure country boy snobbishness.

Almost everything that Donna said shows a lack of understanding. For instance, nearly all of the venison given to food pantries ends up in the dog dish or the trash, and it comes from hunters who just don’t want the meat. Anyone who kills enough deer to “live off the land” is headed for jail. On and on Donna goes.

Hunting is an important part of Donna’s family religion and she will defend it. Donna has a pretty good life. She likes the stories the men folk tell about who they are and why they do what they do.

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