Prophets Of Doom ... Or Legitimate Concern?

Is it possible that you and I stand here today as an accomplice in one of the greatest crimes ever perpetrated against our natural resources? Are conservation agencies in America today failing to come to the rescue of an endangered specie called the American hunter? If wildlife conservation organizations in the United States were to learn today that an epidemic of hoof and mouth disease was spreading through out wildlife population, we would immediately sound the alarm. We would work day and night to control the epidemic, and if the situation were to become serious enough, we would call in all who would help to join in our fight to protect our wildlife. We would warn that a cancerous plague was destroying our wildlife and that one of our major recreational activities was in danger. In short, we would press the panic button because we would be facing all the symptoms of a disease which could totally destroy hunting in America. And yet today, in fact this very minute, while we in the field of wildlife conservation bask in our self-satisfaction of having repopulated the Southeast with the whitetail deer or having brought the alligator back from the brink of extinction, there exist a menace fully as deadly as hoof and mouth disease. This menace slowly creeps across our nation, and we do nothing. We are kidding only ourselves if we fail to recognize the fast-growing anti-hunting sentiment in this country as a well financed and well organized coalition of the arch preservationists ... those who are opposed to killing anything, at anytime, for any reason ... and the anti-gun group ... those who are opposed to the ownership of firearms for any purpose. For generations, many Americans have viewed hunting as a right which could not be taken from them. Few stop to realize that hunting is actually a privilege for which they must pay. The cost of the privilege of hunting involves more than the mere cost of license. It includes the responsibility which hunters must assume. The responsibility of obeying game laws, the responsibility of respect for property rights, and the responsibility of hunting safely. Those who would violate the law, those who ignore the rights of the property owner, and those who become hunting accident statistics do a disservice to all hunters by providing accessible ammunition to those who would deny us the privilege to hunt.

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