I read Jim Misunas article with interest on Mr. William Spook Spann of Tennessee in the Thursday, March 7th issue of the Tribune.
The uses of the words hunter and illegal in the headline offend me not only as an ethical hunter with over 40 years of hunting experience, but also as a Kansas Hunter Education Instructor.
I will use this letter as a teachable moment to instruct Mr. Misunas, as well as your writers and readers, the definition of a true ethical hunter.
An ethical hunter obeys all laws and regulations regarding what quarry he/she is pursuing. This would include, but not be limited to, hunting during legal shooting hours, using a legal, proper method to ethically harvest the game animal/bird being hunted, only taking those animals as prescribed by law, and respecting not only the game they are hunting, but landowners as well.
Mr. Spann crossed the line of being labeled a hunter when he knowingly harvested the deer on land he was not permitted to hunt on, thus disrespecting the animal as well as the landowner. This was all done for the sole distinction of being able to harvest the largest whitetail buck ever to be taken on camera, hardly the act of an ethical hunter.
Sport hunting is a privilege that brings a great deal of money not only to the State of Kansas, but to our area in the Golden Belt. It is, unfortunately, a privilege that is trying to be taken away from those of us that enjoy hunting and the outdoors. Many animal rights activists use these types of headlines to lump all hunters into the same group. They assume that since a newspaper has labeled a person that committed this crime as a hunter, all people that hunt must do the same thing.
Hunters make up 5% of our nations population. Fortunately, anti-hunters also make up 5% of our population, thus balancing the scales. That leaves 90% of the nation as non-hunters that do not care whether people hunt as long as it is done legally and ethically. Headlines such as this may have the unintended consequence of causing a non-hunter to become an anti-hunter and tipping the scales in the anti-hunters favor.
2013 marks the 40th Anniversary of the Kansas Hunter Education Program. I would invite Mr. Misunas to sit in on one of my classes to see how this program is trying to teach the next generation of young men and women to carry on the tradition of the hunt and become ethical hunters.
I do applaud Mr. Misunas penning this article showing that game laws are being enforced. With that said, I can think of many words to describe Mr. Spann, but hunter is not one of them!
Kansas Hunter Education Instructor