Letters From Our Readers--January 2003

Find out what people are saying about the recent issue of Field & Stream.

Field & Stream Online Editors

Bearing the Unbearable
John Barsness said in his October Hunting Q & A that, according to the Alaska game department, there were no records of a handgunner surviving after defending himself against a brown bear. And here I thought the Kenai Peninsula brownie I shot off my foot with a .454 Casull about 10 years ago got the worst of it.

The red-pepper sprays sold as bear repellents have certainly proved more effective than handguns, but there's a danger to them if you're traveling in a small plane-if the container leaks, you then have a blind pilot. People who bring bear spray to Alaska need to be warned to transport it in some sort of sealed container (waterproof divers' boxes work well) and advise pilots of what they're carrying.

Craig Medred
Outdoor Editor
Anchorage Daily News
Anchorage, Alaska

F&S; Nazi?
What is the photo on page 36 of the October issue ("Good Advice, Bad Advice" by David E. Petzal) supposed to represent? The bearded man in the picture appears to be wearing some sort of uniform with a hat that bears a sewn-in device eerily reminiscent of a WWII German Afrika Korps cap. Are we to assume that the two people are hunters, or white supremacists somewhere in Idaho, discussing the "capping" of some civil-rights activists?

Bill Sims
Capt., Retired
U.S. Air Force
San Antonio, Texas

  • David E. Petzal replies: Obviously you lead a rich inner life, but if it will set your mind at ease, the photo was taken about 70 miles north of New York City at a shooting preserve. The "uniform" I'm wearing came from Cabela's (trousers) and Orvis (shirt). I bought the cap at Gunsite Academy in Paulden, Arizona. It's nearly identical to the cover (cap) that the U.S. Marines have issued for 50 years. The insignia on it is a raven, which is the Gunsite logo. I was explaining the workings of a Savage bolt to Amy Vischio, the woman in the photo, who is Field & Stream's design director.

The Wrong Message?
Geoffrey Norman's "Quitting Time" (The Right Way, October) has let me down. Shooting hours have a purpose, as he says in the article. And if they have a purpose, then we should either follow them or get them changed. I fear we're teaching our younger hunters that it's okay to fudge a little if it means getting your trophy. If you would look at your trophies proudly, you have to be able to say that you love fair chase and you live by the law.

Alan Wolfe
Monroe, Mich.
If October is any example, The Right Way should be changed to How I Can Get Away With It. Mr. Norman's weasling rationalization does a great disservice to all hunters and fishermen, and contributes to the public's negative opinion of the sports.

Doug Sell
Moorestown, N.J.

"Quitting Time" is an article better left in the wastebasket. As hunters and fishermen we have an obligation to follow the laws, whether we like them or not. Many of the technicalities in them are difficult to understand, but when to quit is not.

Donald G. Schnake
Grosse Ile, Mich.

  • Geoffrey Norman replies:_ The readers are, of course, correct. The laws are made to be obeyed, as the column consistently makes clear. However, as is also made clear, enforcement officers acknowledge that they often exercise discretion on the question of fractional violations of shooting hours because there are no time clocks in the woods, and even the righteous sometimes lose track of time when they're out hunting. It's one of the reasons they're out there in the first place. _ Classic
    I was stopped cold by the photo on pages 14¿¿¿15 of the October issue (First Shot: "A Beginning, Shared"). It is a classic that I'll remember for the rest of my life. Compliments to Denver Bryan for the photo, to Bill Heavey for the words, and to you as editors for having the good jjudgment to use it in your magazine. If Mr. Bryan ever decides to sell copies of the photo, I sure would like to have the chance to buy one.

Maben Yount Sr.
via Internet

  • Readers who are interested in obtaining a copy of the photo can contact Denver Bryan at www.denverbryan.com.
    -The Editors

Cooling-Off Period
Kudos to George Reiger for his October article, "A World Without Trout?" The Izaak Walton League has long fought for support of a four-pollutant bill that reduces emissions of sulfur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide, mercury, and carbon dioxide. All four pose a threat to many freshwater fish and waterfowl. To turn the tide, we need to reduce all these emissions quickly and efficiently.

Our members want to pass along a legacy of hunting and fishing to their children and grandchildren. We agree that the Clean Power Act in the Senate and the Clean Smokestacks Act in the House of Representatives is the best way to preserve that. Other proposals don't include carbon dioxide, don't reduce pollution as much, and delay implementation by 10 years. Those bills should not be acceptable to your readers.

Jeremy Kranowitz
Director
S.E. Clean Air Campaign
Izaak Walton League of America
Gaithersburg, Md.