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It’s time to show respect for our DNR public servants

December 31, 2010
The Inter-Mountain

Another year and hunting season

is about to come to an end.

Years ago, I used to send a

Christmas card to the Elkins Operations

Center to thank them for the

good hunting season we had for

that year. Christmas cards seem to

have gone by the wayside for me,


A few weeks ago, I made a statement

in a column that there are

hunters statewide who have little

respect for these public servants. I

hope I will never end up with that

attitude. I come from a family who

worked for the government. My

father was employed by the United

States Postal Service. My mother

was a school teacher in Kanawha

County. At times, both were quick

to tell me that sometimes working

for the government can be very unrewarding.

I think we all know

there can be bad individuals in all

business enterprises from government

to health care. Some people

can be very derogatory to others

through their actions and verbiage.

While people can express their

opinions, they need to do it properly,

considerately and with respect

for people's efforts.

This past buck season, the harvest

was down more than 30 percent

from 2009. The wildlife

managers out of Charleston were

quick to admit they made a miscalculation

as to what they thought the

buck kill should be. A good friend

of mine who does not have a lot of

respect for the game biologists in

the past told me a few days later, "I

really respect them for owning up

to this."

All people who hunt should have

the same attitude toward the game

biologists who work for the DNR.

These people are human. Even

with today's computer technology,

they can and will make errors.

We are now in the early 21st

century. More and more people are

publicly yelling that sport hunting

and the killing of wild animals is

wrong. Here is another reason why

hunters need to cooperate with the

wildlife biologists in order to countermand

these unscientific and

emotional agendas. At the same

time, responsible hunters need to

call the Department of Natural Resources

Police when they observe

a serious game violation going on.

For example, when someone kills

a deer and just cuts a ham off, leaving

the rest to decay is simply wasting

game. If anyone sees this kind

of behavior, it needs to be reported.

We need to promote the youth

hunts in our state. I have often said

the youth hunts are important for

the future of the noble sport of

hunting. While I do not advocate

forcing any boy or girl to hunt, they

should have the opportunity to

learn the skills and enjoyment of

hunting. I wish I could have taken

both of my daughters hunting and

fishing more than I did. These two

sports are great when it comes to

bringing families together.

West Virginia has one of the

best hunter safety programs in the

nation with qualified DNR personnel

as instructors. Hands-on shooting

is now a vital part of the

instruction. Today, a youth hunter

has to successfully complete this

class in order to be able to purchase

a hunting license.

When adults start teaching youth

how to shoot, make sure to instill

gun safety. Don't be critical of

their shooting skills; just be sure

they are practicing in a safe environment.

Teaching youth the

proper way to shoot usually opens

a new world for them. Who

knows, they may end up being a

game biologist, natural resources

police or conservation officer, or

an educator who gives youth a true

picture of hunting. At least, they

will have some idea of what

hunters do for animal habitat and

the environment.

Happy New Year and I hope all

of my readers had an enjoyable

holiday season.



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