Readers sent several letters about the Nov. 25 LI Life cover story, “Hunting heritage: LI families pass on a tradition that ties them to the land.” Here is a sampling.
In a time of increasing and vicious gun violence, you devoted six pages to hunting? You showed photos of families holding their guns, or bows and arrows, and described their lifelong love of hunting and “conservation” efforts.
It’s bad enough that you allow ads from sporting goods stores with huge displays of rifles and other guns. Now you have glorified killing animals by giving hunters a lovely spread and making it look like a great way for families to bond! Need I mention the animal families that are destroyed by this “sport”?
Guns don’t need more forums to bring them to prominence, and suggesting that families bond and continue their heritage by killing animals is almost like saying Southern families should bond over memories of slaves their ancestors might have owned.
Barbara Harris Pafundi, South Huntington
Thanks and congratulations to Newsday for having the courage to remind its readers that the foundation of Long Island is in its roots in fishing, hunting and open spaces.
In this day and age of a growing choir of misinformed gun fear and unchecked building development, it is important to remember that millions of Americans embrace hunting as a family activity, and the outdoors as an important classroom that no virtual device or game can duplicate.
I am eternally grateful to my parents and other mentors for teaching me gun safety, ownership, marksmanship and hunting. I am equally excited to raise the next generation of duck hunters, my sons, on the Great South Bay.
Paul McDuffie, Gilgo Beach
A 2016 survey by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service found that about 5 percent of Americans hunt, roughly half the percentage of those who hunted 50 years ago — a decline researchers think will accelerate.
State wildlife conservation agencies are funded almost exclusively by hunter license fees and an excise tax on the sale of guns and ammunition. Thus, at the heart of almost all wildlife conservation policies are the interests of the hunting and gun-buying public.
The interests of a new generation, those who value the ecological importance of all wildlife, are undeniably ignored. Instead, New York chooses to manipulate select populations of wildlife. It is ethically and scientifically wrong to manage the population of one species to benefit the hunting of another.
Non-hunting nature enthusiasts can provide New York with a more reliable source of revenue. They comprise a broader base of resident and nonresident consumers eager to help fund state wildlife agencies and thus earn a seat at the decision-making table.
The government holds wildlife in trust, a legal concept that implies we all share equal interest in wildlife. Legislative change is needed so that peer-reviewed science and changing demographic trends are reflected in state wildlife policies.
Diane Bentivegna, New Hyde Park
How sad that parents find pleasure and bonding by teaching their children to kill wildlife. And how sad that your six-page article portrayed this as admirable. Only a few words noted that poorly placed shots can cripple, and did not mention that they can result in slow and painful death.
The story frames hunting as as a form of conservation, but there are more humane approaches than slaughtering wildlife. Readers might be better served if you focused on the many life-affirming and positive outdoor activities that families can enjoy together.
Annette and Seth Kaminsky, Cold Spring Harbor
I applaud Newsday’s article about hunting. My home of Asharoken and Eatons Neck is inundated with deer. Before bow hunting was allowed in 2015, I’d found two dead deer on my property and a dead deer in the woods next door, likely due to disease and starvation. Conservation of the herd is my primary goal. Those causes of death are not conservation. Deer can carry ticks that harbor Lyme disease and babesiosis. The health, safety and welfare of my family, friends and neighbors are paramount.
Alexander Janow, Asharoken
With the nation seeing 38,000 gun-related deaths a year, I am not going to be silent about the LI Life cover story that suggests a 12-gauge shotgun helps “families pass on a tradition that ties them to the land.” Nor will I be politically correct or polite when I say bull to your tone-deaf decision to run the feature article. I don’t want to hear from legitimate hunters as long as they don’t stand up for reasonable bans on killer weapons never used by hunters, only mass murderers. Las Vegas, Pittsburgh, Parkland, Florida, and all the other places of death — Newsday disgraces their memory.
Steven M. Walk, Great Neck
Hunting was necessary for human survival thousands of years ago, but in the land of Levittown and strip malls, “sportsmen” stalk and kill animals simply for the thrill of it, not out of necessity. Quite the opposite of “binding generations” on Long Island, this violent form of entertainment tears animal families apart and leaves countless numbers orphaned or badly injured when hunters miss their targets. Their deaths can be slow and painful; it can take weeks for some to succumb to their injuries.
Killing animals where they live and raise families for a cheap thrill or trophy is cowardly; however, it is never too late to change one’s ways and get the same thrill out of animal rescue.
John Di Leonardo,Malverne
Editor’s note: The writer is president of Long Island Orchestrating for Nature, an animal advocacy group.