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The below Op Ed apparently was printed in today’s Times of Trenton. When you call the Governor to ask him to sign Sunday Bow into law 609-292-6000 please fax him the Op Ed too. Let him know it represents your thoughts on the matter. Fax: 609-292-3454


Ant
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Op Ed Times of Trenton

April 26, 2009

Why 14 Days of Sunday Bow Hunting?

I am a lifelong resident of New Jersey and deeply committed to the conservation of the state’s land, water and ecology. So, I’d like to speak to a piece of legislation that will benefit the quality of our state’s ecology and now awaits the Governor’s signature – 14 days of Sunday bow hunting.

It is little wonder why there are so many misperceptions regarding a bill that allows bow hunting on Sunday. New Jersey is one of the most disparate of all the world’s cultures; a spot where the roots of rural rearing and “living off of the land” are mere acres from the treadmill of metropolitan life and an existence dependent on modern conveniences. It is a setting that has flamed the fuels of more than one culture war but perhaps a little education can quell any fervor regarding Sunday bow hunting.

The basis for the legislation is founded on the precept of conservation. Conservation is the wise and deliberate use of a resource so that the entirety of its condition is safeguarded. Humankind’s survival is based on the consumption of natural resources such as water for drinking, trees for houses and animals for subsistence. Since people are dependent on resource availability we must strike a balance between consumption and the ability of the ecology to regenerate.

Balance is also central to the health of ecology and has as its custodian “Mother Nature.” When an aspect under her care is out of balance she labors to restore it. In the case of deer, an overabundance eventually leads to the devouring of forest undergrowth, a food source that sustains not only deer but other wildlife. As the fodder is depleted all of the links in the food chain are impacted leading to starvation, disease and death. Population levels are compromised until the remaining habitat is able to sustain the feeding demands of the surviving animals. Ideally, the flora and fauna eventually repopulate and flourish. It is a dynamic process, one that ebbs and flows and may take years or decades to attain equilibrium.

Since humankind is also dependent on natural resources for survival, modern society has augmented the role of hunting to assist Mother Nature in maintaining a balance in her ecology. The Division of Fish and Wildlife uses science as the foundation for determining excess deer populations and then institutes strict “bag limits” as a means for hunters to cull the excess deer. Deer culling also provides food for the hunter and his or her family. Should the hunter be prohibited from harvesting the excess deer he would likely join in the lines at the local food market adding to the demand for institutionally slaughtered animals such as turkeys, chickens, pigs, and cows. In America, more than 1 billion of these animals are raised, slaughtered and distributed to market annually so that people may avoid the labor of hunting.

Hunting is not only an honest way of obtaining food it is also eco-friendly. A hunter may use the forest to find his prey but leaves the ecology undisturbed. This is not the case with animal husbandry or farming. Farms are often built by razing the ecology and displacing wildlife, non-native grasses may be introduced as feed as are non-indigenous livestock. These animals are then slaughtered and trucked to market. Scientists tell us that methane gasses and carbon monoxide are byproducts of farming and food distribution, which adds to global warming. This is in stark contrast to the hunter who leaves no footprint on the ecology.

We should also keep in mind that not only is hunting a contemporary conservation tool it also provides societal benefits. Populations of deer in balance with the surrounding habitat will minimize car-deer collisions. Each roadside deer carcass is a story of a car accident. It is a headstone for financial loss, personal injury or death.

The addition of Sunday bow hunting will provide relief from agriculture losses due to deer feeding, which are currently estimated at 20% per year. It will aid in the reduction of residential landscape damage and lessen the chance of people contracting Lyme disease. It will help boost the sales of hunting licenses, which will add revenue to be used to improve natural resource management.

It must also be noted that the bill restricts Sunday bow hunting to private property and Wildlife Management Areas only. WMAs were originally purchased from the sale of hunting and fishing licenses and operational funding is still provided in this manner. Sunday bow hunting would still be prohibited in State Parks, County Parks and Municipal Parks and only amounts to 14 Sundays (24 in some zones) because hunting is limited to certain months of a year.

I suppose it was science and facts like those stated that were carefully considered by the legislators that voted to support Sunday bow hunting. The bill was passed in the assembly and senate by a super-majority and is a statement of commitment to a sound ecology and to prioritizing the safety of New Jerseyans.

On behalf of the 650,000 conservationists who hunt, fish and reside in New Jersey and for the reasons detailed above I urge Governor Corzine to sign Sunday bow hunting into law.


Anthony P. Mauro, Sr is an author on the subject of conservation. He is also Chairman of the New Jersey Outdoor Alliance Conservation Foundation, an organization dedicated to environmental conservation.
 

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Written very well Ant. Great job[up]
 

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Great article Ant. I'm glad you took the time to explain the whole concept of conservation because it's unbeleivable how many people don't understand it. A woman that I work with is anti but she understood the need for hunting, even predator hunting and fur-bearer trapping, when I explained to her the need to keep all animal populations in balance. She even asked me last week if she could have some turkey feathers to make displays for this years holiday party! It's amazing when people are presented with solid, scientific fact and reasoning how their views can change.
 

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Outstanding Ant.

Sunday bowhunting passed the Senate 32-6 and the Assembly 69-9. You don't get that kind of support without presenting the facts.
 

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Sunday bowhunting passed the Senate 32-6 and the Assembly 69-9. You don't get that kind of support without presenting the facts
that is correct [up] still having a hard time understanding why Corzine hasn't signed the bill yet with that kind of overwhelming bi-partisan support though... [confused]
 

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Wow. Good job. I wish I could express those things so clearly. Excellent thoughts.
 
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