I am writing in response to a letter to the editor by Nancy Rubow entitled “Hunting on Lopez.”
I believe that hunting is a safe and fun sport for individuals of all ages. I share Nancy’s concern about gun safety and it is for this reason that I teach a Hunter Education and Firearm Safety class each year (the next class is 7/23 – contact the Family Resource Center for details). If individuals follow local and state laws, target shooting and hunting is safe, even on this small island. Nancy mentioned, “a bullet going up to five miles.” This distance refers to a high caliber rifle which is illegal to hunt with in San Juan County.
Banning an activity because one individual is not following the rules is not a practical solution. Hunting is highly regulated and individuals must obtain a license to hunt. The money from hunting licenses pays for purchasing, protecting and managing habitat which is something that all of us benefit from, even non-hunters.
Hunting helps to reduce the deer population in a responsible manner and also provides food for many families on this island. Hunting gets teenagers and adults into the outdoors where they are likely to develop a deep reverence and appreciation of nature.
I acknowledge that shooting does make noise but I would not agree that the sound of gunshot on Lopez is like “living in a gang infested neighborhood.” There are many offensive and equally loud noise makers “on this otherwise peaceful island.” Weed eaters, tractors, mowers and other gas powered machines, construction noise and so on. In the scheme of things, this island is a wonderful and peaceful place even with the occasional gun shot.
I safely hunt deer and water fowl and enjoy the healthful meat, as well as the time I spend in the woods and wetlands to hunt this game.