Having overcome the nausea which hit me after reading about the hunting of foxes with airplane and snowmobile (Snarling Tractors and No Tallyho, Feb. 17), several thoughts came to mind. It is unsound ecologically and morally that these men should be allowed to kill 100 foxes a year with mechanical aids merely to pass the time. It is a disgusting parody of sport.
Moreover, I was bemused by the complaint that there is not much to do during the Northern winters. Why not try hunting by snowshoe or ski, if one must hunt? The answer, I'm afraid, is that to these Americans (and they are not alone), minimal exertion, gasoline-powered engines, killing if possible, seem to be essential to outdoor "sport." Perhaps they are to be pitied more than the foxes, but meanwhile they are ruining the outdoors for the rest of us.
Palo Alto, Calif.
"He could have gone to ground anytime he wanted." It sounds to me like the speaker is equating his IQ with that of the fox so ruthlessly pursued and killed. Perhaps if this same daring hunter spent more time learning about ecology and the natural balance of nature he could surpass the fox's mentality, leave him alone and wait for the return of the game birds—if the sounds of the snowmobile engines haven't already driven them away for good.
MRS. JOHN A. JOSLYN
The mentality, not to say morality, of Minnesota's snowmobile fox hunters is best revealed in Bob Allison's remark that there is nothing else to do outdoors in the Minnesota winter. Having thus eliminated skiing, skating, sledding, tobogganing, ice fishing and the like, we can only say: don't just sit there—get out and kill something!
Groping for a rationale for this disgusting pastime, we are further advised that foxes are to be killed because in them are combined the worst traits of cats and dogs. I don't know about cats, but a dog's worst trait is what it does on people's lawns. I can see it now: after a visit to a neighbor's lawn, the poor poodle is pursued through the neighborhood by some nitwit, foot to the floor of his snowmobile, pump gun blazing, while a plane circles overhead to spot the next offender. After all, what else is there to do during a Minnesota winter?
JOHN R. HUDSON
Each time I read an article in SI or in any other magazine on conservation—or the lack of it—I am reminded of an experience I had some four years ago while I was attending Lehigh University. Like many other engineering students, I was taking a biology course in order to "broaden my interests." In the hall outside the classroom was an exhibit case containing what seemed to me to be a conglomeration of biological species.
One day I arrived somewhat early for class and, to pass the time, I skimmed the exhibit. As my eyes jumped randomly across the case, I suddenly saw a sign that made me stop. Here, in the most dimly lit part of the exhibit, where the glass case seemed to have years of dust caked upon it, I read something like this:
WORLD'S MOST DESTRUCTIVE CREATURE. MUCH OF ITS EFFORT IS SPENT DESTROYING THE VERY ENVIRONMENT IT NEEDS TO SURVIVE.
I strained my eyes to focus on what I expected to see, but I could see nothing. Perhaps a fly or a termite, I thought. No, there was nothing there. I turned away, softly cursing that this, of all the creatures, would be missing. But at the last instant, although it was almost invisible through the shadows and the darkness and the dust, I saw it. With a feeling almost terrifying in its intensity, I realized I was looking into a mirror: Homo sapiens!
DOUGLAS G. MARSH
OLD HANDS ON DECK
As Ezra Bowen has pointed out (I Finally Got the Point, Feb. 10), basketball games aboard the aircraft carrier Midway during the middle '40s were something to behold. However, for him to even suggest that gambling was going on—oh perish the thought! Also, I must take exception to Mr. Bowen's statement regarding "one or two notably ill-behaved officers' teams," for I was a member of one of those teams—and, after all, Congress had decreed that we all were "officers and gentlemen." What higher authority?