As a deer hunter and a "retired" professional forester, I would like to express my appreciation of Charles W. Thayer's fine article (A More Sensible Way to Hunt, Oct. 28). To those of us who see public hunting and fishing as we used to know it being ruined by reason of posting, game-habitat destruction or both, the 11th hour has come. The situation with regard to Vermont deer hunting is a case in point. In other states things are no doubt much worse.
At this writing Vermont deer hunting suffers from three things: politics, the buck law (only one buck per hunter, no does) and general public ignorance of the facts of deer hunting and deer survival.
In 1962 our excellent Omnibus Game Laws were passed, transferring complete control of all fish and game matters to the fish and game department. At the last minute, however, the little matter of control of the deer herd was eliminated and the lawmakers turned back to the old idea of politics as usual. Last year a most beneficial one-day doe law was repealed. Before the repeal, we did manage to kill a few thousand does but, as usual, the herd went into the winter swollen in numbers far beyond the carrying capacity of the winter range.
Under natural conditions in remote country (e.g. northern Maine), the best and heaviest bucks get the does, and small, weak, sickly bucks are driven out of the doe area during the rut. The vital proportion of healthy bucks and does is maintained and the deer get heavier and more plentiful. Maine's more sensible law allows two deer of either sex per hunter. The longer hunting season permits both deer and hunters to spread out. It makes for better sport and a better chance for the finest bucks to reach inaccessible country and survive to maintain a strong herd.
But in Vermont, unless the present proportion of something like 20 does per buck can be corrected by heavier shooting of antlerless deer, the herd will continue to grow larger and weaker and the days of our old, good deer hunting will be numbered. The present 14-day season concentrates thousands of hunters for three weekends on relatively few acres of wild land nearest the highways. It is a nightmare for both hunter and landowner. A 45-day season on both docs and bucks would be desirable. It would benefit the hunter, the landowner and the deer herd alike.
Proper deer herd management begins with heavy shooting—the only practical method available at present that will improve deer feeding areas on large acreages of land. Intensive land management has solved the problem of bigger crops from less and less acreage of farm lands. Wild lands, too, will require the same scientific management if public deer hunting is not to follow the road already traveled by the buffalo hunters—a road to nowhere.
GEORGE B. GORDON
PUNCHES AND PLUMS
Robert H. Boyle hit the nail on the head when he stated that political appointees to the boxing commissions are killing the fight game (This Death Might Kill Boxing, Oct. 28). Boxing is a highly technical business. Why governors put greenhorns in these jobs never has been answered. Meanwhile boxing suffers. It can't take much more. Believe me.
FRED J. SADDY
You say, "We are usually the last to have anything to say in favor of governmental interference with sports, but..." (SCORECARD, Oct. 28). Then you go on to say you favor a strong federal commissioner of boxing. Appointing a federal commissioner of boxing would solve only one type of problem: the quest for another political plum to pay off services rendered. Sure, the first commissioner would be a Jack Dempsey, but once the position was established it would become just another political-patronage source. The idea of federal bureaucrats running boxing instead of state bureaucrats simply means the corruption would be on a higher scale.
Boxing is a business and should be run as one, with no government interference—state or federal. I think a privately run commission along the lines of the National and American football leagues could handle the present situation efficiently, using the imagination and ingenuity of the private-enterprise system.
New Britain, Pa.
LET 'EM EAT RADIO
I cannot understand your position in pushing for pay TV (SCORECARD, Oct. 28). Walter O'Malley's plan of putting Dodger games on pay TV sounds innocent enough, but if it proves profitable the idea will spread to other baseball teams. Pretty soon there won't be any baseball on regular TV. The next step is obvious—the World Series on pay TV only. Much the same could happen with football and basketball.