To some degree, I can accept legal hunting as a means for wildlife population control. But I cannot accept hunting as a sport for trophies. Nor can I accept unfair or inhumane hunting, no matter how long it’s been done.

We mustn’t forget that we need to control wildlife populations because of us. For hundreds of years, people have disrupted the balance of ecosystems by encroaching on habitats and artificially reducing predators at the top of the food pyramid.

Three things about hunting in Maine disturb me.

* First, the indiscriminate killing of coyotes so there are more deer for people to kill seems grossly counterintuitive if our rational for killing deer is population control.

* Second, seeing newspaper pictures of hunters both young and old alongside their wildlife kills with glee on their faces makes my soul cry because reverence for the life taken appears to be missing.

* Lastly, I cannot accept the inhumane practice of animal trapping that causes pain and suffering, as well as the unfair and unsporting practices of hounding and baiting with little to no chase skill required.

Where is the sport or fairness in killing an animal that comes to trust a food source they’ve been trained to eat from? I consider that lazy-person wildlife killing, not sportsman hunting. And by baiting, aren’t we creating lazy bears who are rewarded with death for overcoming their fear of humans?

If we accept hunting as a means for controlling the wildlife populations we have unbalanced, then we should employ the most humane and fair hunting practices in Maine. That is why I support the Mainers for Fair Bear Hunting Ballot Initiative so, in 2014, Maine people can consider the moral, ethical and sportsman obligations we have to the wildlife whose ecosystems we share.

Lynne Rothney-Kozlak, Litchfield

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