MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

Editorials

October 27, 2008

Ballot non-issue

Just because we don’t want you to have a false sense of security, we encourage you to vote no on State Question No. 742 on Nov. 4.

Legislators put the question on the ballot, and it is referred to as the “Hunters Bill of Rights.” What it pretends to do is give Oklahomans the right to “take” animals by the traditional methods of hunting, fishing and trapping.

Presently no law exists against these methods. In fact, state laws support them. The amendment, however, is prompted by fear that animal rights activists might try to limit those rights in the future.

Without question, animal rights activists are against “taking” animals, but again, this amendment if approved, has questionable value as a deterrent against animal rights activists.

The amendment also states the proposal would make “hunting, fishing and trapping the preferred means to manage certain game and fish.” Sen. Earl Garrison, last week, told the Phoenix that hunting and fishing is needed to manage “our deer population” and we were doing a good job of it. Garrison means well, and hunters have been taking about 100,000 deer each year for several years.

However, don’t tell the people who hit a deer on the road or rural homeowners whose gardens deer have devastated that the more than 1 million deer are under control.

The deer population and the populations of other animals, such as Canada geese, have been increasing so that the animals have become more nuisance than benefit.

Many factors control the maintenance of animal populations, and hunting by humans can be overplayed as a management tool just as it can be underplayed.

Passing this amendment will make some people feel good, and for the legislators who support the issue, it will endear them to many constituents.

But it’s really a feel-good proposal that addresses a non-issue.

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