Congratulations to Philip Caputo (“The Old Man and the Mountains,” February) for putting into words the differences between hunters and environmentalists-and how self-defeating these groups are. Tucked away in his story are six of the most concisely worded paragraphs ever written on this subject. He hit the X ring in describing our differences and pointed out the consequences of not getting past our prejudices. If Bubba and Granola Boy would stop fighting and combine their efforts to stop our common enemy-loss of habitat to out-of-control industrialization-together we could secure the future of the wildlife and pristine environment we all treasure.
Caputo misleads readers about President Bush’s proposal to allow energy exploration on a small sliver of Alaska’s Northern Coastal Plain. The area being proposed for exploration is not a designated wilderness area. In 1980, President Carter and a Democrat-controlled Congress specifically set [BRACKET “it”] aside for potential oil and gas development. In doing so, Congress reserved for itself the right to determine whether and under what conditions development would be allowed. This area holds the key to America’s largest onshore prospect for oil and gas. We need domestic sources of energy to heat our homes and to provide jobs-not to mention to power the planes that allow sportsmen like Caputo to reach their Alaskan dreams.
Mark Pfeifle, Press Secretary
U.S. Department of the Interior
As I read Phil Caputo’s story, I was reminded of the week I spent in an Athabaskan village in 2002. Looking out over the Yakutak River valley, I asked an older gentleman if the caribou migrated down the river. “They used to,” he said. “Since the pipeline, they don’t anymore. I miss my caribou meat.” Every time I hear the administration say that drilling in ANWR won’t damage the wildlife population, I hear that man wishing the caribou back.
Caputo wrote his story supposedly about hunting in ANWR, when in fact it was a thinly veiled political piece for the radical environmental movement. Not one of the pictures accompanying the article was of the plain where the oil lies. The Arctic Coastal Plain is hardly a cathedral of any sort. It’s cold, windswept, flat, and barren. He sure didn’t hunt there. We in Alaska are sick and tired of being the environmental conscience for the rest of the country. If you in the Lower 48 want parks and wilderness, create your own. Alaska has more federal parkland and protected land than the remainder of the entire United States. Let Alaska have some economic development just like you enjoy. Focus on where you live. We’ll take care of Alaska. That’s why we live here.
_Philip Caputo replies: Mr. Pfeifle: True, the proposed drilling area is not designated wilderness, but it is public land that belongs to all citizens, not just to the industries who want to see it developed. Mr. Smith: As a taxpayer, I own as much of ANWR as you. _
“Close Encounters” by Lisa Knight (winner of the Young Writers Contest) is one of the best one-page stories on hunting I have read in many a year. Your magazine is one of the best, and she certainly added a lot to it this month.
Field & Stream scores again. Thank you for adding even more classy writers to your magazine. Lisa Knight’s essay simply says why we are all out there. At her young age, she’s ahead of the game with enjoying all aspects of time spent afield, whether or not something is killed. The youth represent the future of hunting and fishing. I hope there are a lot more like her.
The photo of Lisa Knight was the worst example of a hunter I’ve ever seen. It looks completely posed, andd she looks as though she had never held a gun before. Her hair is down around her shoulders as if it had been combed that way. She looks scared to death. The article is okay, but the picture stinks.
Tracy A. Arbaugh
Tracy, Tracy. Do you have these kinds of feelings often? Have you ever talked with anyone about them? You might feel better. -The Editors
CHEERS FOR THE JEERS
I wanted to let you know how much I enjoyed reading February’s Cheers & Jeers. I love how so many people got so offended by Thomas McIntyre’s remarks about feral horses. I’d like to thank you for making so much controversy because honestly, I just love seeing ignorant fools raise hell in your magazine.
ALL IN A DAY’S WORK
I’m writing from Baghdad to thank you for a great magazine and morale booster. I’m a CH-470 pilot who’s moved all over Iraq. My wife’s letters and Field & Stream have kept me going all this time. First Shot shows beautiful scenery and near-perfect photography, while Bill Heavey shows the not-so-beautiful and never-so-perfect with sincerity and candor. Dave Petzal is a bastion of unbridled, honest opinion. I desperately yearn for the next deer season I can get back on the stand in the great American woods. I have been away from my family for a long time but it’s the simple things, like your magazine, that have kept my morale up. For all of the soldiers, sailors, airmen, and marines who are part of Operation Iraqi Freedom, I send my regards.
Capt. C. Paul Colbert
THOSE WILY WOLVES
The map accompanying Thomas McIntyre’s article “Return of the Wolf” might mislead some of your readers. It indicates that wolves were reintroduced to Northern Wisconsin and the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. Wolves were expatriated from the southern shore of Lake Superior but returned through natural dispersal, making reintroduction unnecessary.
Philip DeWitt, Wildlife Technician
University of Wisconsin
Correction: In Where to Go, we incorrectly placed Lake Fork southwest of Dallas. It is due east. We regret the error. -The Editors