"The point of most coon hunting," the author writes, "is not killing coons. It is the feeling of getting close to animals." Such asininity reminds me of a hunter who once told me that his wife loved lions even as she was shooting them.
I hope that raccoon hunting can be truly illustrated in a future article that will demonstrate not only the immorality of this "sport," but also in many cases its illegality. Meanwhile, your readers may be interested to know that The Fund for Animals is deeply concerned and has been actively campaigning against this atrocity.
The Fund for Animals, Inc.
New York City
I read your article on coon hunting and hated every bit of it. There may have been a time when such hunting was necessary for protection of a farmer's crops, but if what I understand from your article is true most of today's raccoon hunters are not farmers but profess to be engaging in a sport. I do not believe there is any sportsmanship involved when you start playing games with the life of an animal. Dogs may instinctively chase raccoons, but when men become involved in what is normally nature's battle of survival of the fittest, the battle becomes unfair and cruel.
GEORGE B. SEELEY
I am amazed that SPORTS ILLUSTRATED would dignify such barbarism as coon hunts in a magazine devoted to sports. Men who torment live animals for enjoyment should not be glorified in a national magazine. The article was disgusting; the pictures even more so. Cancel my subscription immediately.
THEODORE D. PITTS
I sincerely hope your motives were humane in printing the article. If your intent was to induce nausea and disgust for the "sport," then you succeeded admirably and I have no criticism of your editorial policy.
TO RUSSIA WITH BUBBLE GUM
Whitney Tower's diary of his trip to the "grassroots of Russia's thoroughbred industry" (Journey into a Secret Land, Nov. 6) brought back some memories. As publicity director at Yonkers Raceway, I was responsible, in 1963, for bringing the very first Soviet harness horses to America. I correspond quite regularly with Dmitri Urnov, who acted as an interpreter for Mr. Tower. However, to lightly describe Dmitri as merely an interpreter is not to do him justice. He is a tremendous guy with great depth and a decent human being who keeps open the bridge of communications between the ordinary citizens of the two great powers.
On Oct. 13, 1963 my birthday was celebrated by members of the Ministry of Agriculture of the Soviet Union in Pyatigorsk. The caviar was great but the eight-ounce tumblers of vodka paralyzed my teeth and gave me cramps in the ankle. I wonder if Mr. Tower tried a couple of glasses of mare's milk as I did. It slakes your thirst, relieves fatigue and is considered a most superior food for its nutritious value.
I too visited Moscow's State Farm No. 1 and brought with me at least 50 pieces of bubble gum with baseball cards. I was mobbed and almost trampled by the crowd of Russian kids who thronged around me. Somewhere in various homes around the collective I hope there are young bens who still hoard their picture cards of Sandy Kou-fax, Frank Robinson, Willie Mays and other great baseball stars in America.
New York City
We could not disagree with you more concerning your contention that the University of Miami should have forfeited its disputed victory in the now notorious "fifth-down" game (SCORECARD, Nov. 6).
Over the years, football has had to put up with officials' mistakes. In general, they do a superb job under extremely tough conditions, but let's face it, they are human and will make mistakes. This has been and always will be part of the game.