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I am writing in response to the Feb. 1 "My View" column by Valerie Will, co-president of Animal Rights Advocates of Western New York. She implied that she has witnessed armies of hunters armed with firearms and bows, but the two seasons do not transpire at the same time.

She remarked about a big buck running out into the road with no place to go. Why? Perhaps it's because of the overdevelopment of our land. Just look at the number of homes for sale while even more are being built despite a population decline for the last 10 to 20 years. Why is this rarely addressed by wildlife advocates? She wrote of modern-day weapons, but none is more destructive than the bulldozer destroying habitat to build another $200,000 home.

Will also wrote about the refuges she patrols -- refuges that the very hunters she is criticizing have paid to protect.

Yes, there are the occasional slob hunters, just like there are slobs in all activities. But there are many more sincere sportsmen who ask nothing more from the state than to pursue a way of life that has been in their families for generations. This is unlike the fans of football, baseball and hockey, who demand millions of dollars from the taxpayers to build stadiums so they can enjoy their sport. That money could be better spent on education and wildlife.

I have hunted, fished and camped in the United States and Canada for more than 35 years, and in all those years, I have never come close to witnessing the exaggerated events she described.

If only half of the wildlife advocates' efforts were focused on saving wildlife habitat instead of attacking hunters, many more deer and other wildlife would be enjoyed by all of us. Together we could make a real difference in saving wildlife and habitat.



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