Regarding Patricia Calhoun's "Reject Your Elders," in the November 28 issue:
The only thing more horrifying than the scenario Calhoun laid out was my realization that, having just turned forty, I'm old enough to officially be considered an endangered species! Other than that, it was a great piece--and I hope Martin's laid-off oldsters take the company to the cleaners.

Lee Hamilton

On the Hunt
Thanks to the normally obtuse Eric Dexheimer for a great piece on several of the central issues confronting wildlife managers nationwide ("Loaded for Bear," November 14). While college wildlife-management curricula and most federal land-management agencies have for years espoused the importance of the protection of all parts of the environment, state agencies are notorious for concentrating on game. The main reason, as Dexheimer correctly states, is money. It's undeniable that license fees bring in a lot of revenue, especially when marketed well. In some states or Indian reservations, tags for a trophy elk or mountain sheep hunt are approaching $100,000 each. I'm heartened that at least one state (Missouri) has taken its state wildlife-management agency away from the need to maximize revenues by supporting it through general state revenues instead of license fees. But is the public ready for the eventual implications of this--taxes on binoculars, backpacks and field guides, or fees just to view wildlife? (Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt is already looking into some of these ideas.)

Another reason for the concentration on game species by states is that most wildlife biologists go into the profession because they like being outdoors, especially hunting and fishing. It's natural that they should set policy according to their own personal beliefs. As a non-hunting (not anti-hunting) wildlife biologist, I am in a distinct minority. (The preeminent scientific journal of the profession, the Journal of Wildlife Management, was for years referred to by us non-hunters as the "Journal of Ducks and Deer.")

Nobody in the profession wants to do away with hunting, and we all appreciate the good that many primarily hunting-oriented groups (Ducks Unlimited, the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation and the National Wild Turkey Federation, among others) have done and continue to do. But as long as sportsmen such as Tom Beck can be labeled as anti-hunter for even wanting to talk about the issue, hunting groups will continue to alienate the general public, and their bunker mentality will, in the end, only harm their own cause.

Steven Albert
Zuni, New Mexico

Anyone who writes that wild turkeys are hunted in the spring because they breed in the fall is suspect in all their facts. If this illustrates the level of knowledge of the author, please spare us more.

J.T. Kirby
via the Internet

I am writing in response to Mary Rios's November 21 letter concerning "Loaded for Bear." The letter asks where the ethics can be in providing "joy to hunters" at the cost of the pain hunting brings to prey.

It sounds so nice and clear-cut. Yet almost always, painful death comes to the creatures of the woods. If it isn't starvation, it is predation; and other predators don't always wait for death or even unconsciousness before they begin feeding.

But that doesn't address the most slanted part of Rios's statement: The idea that all of hunting is joyful to hunters. Hunting, and the reasons people hunt, encompasses a terrain as broad as the human soul. It is embodied in a palette that includes sorrow as well as joy, that insists that we confront where our life comes from and denies us the freedom to ever again shrink-wrap it in fast-food convenience. It attracts the best and worst examples of humanity. And when we are successful, we are called at that moment to account. If we hear that call, it can be overwhelming; and we discover we do indeed love the creatures we hunt. We also find that it is almost impossible to explain this to someone who only sees the pain of the prey.

Daniel E. Platt
via the Internet

Judgement Calls
Steve Jackson's "Last Call," in the October 31 issue, was excellent writing, a verbal portrait.

Although I don't know Bobby Hornbuckle, my son grew up with Brian. Thanks for the tribute--an honest, heartfelt portrayal of a musician and a man. It blew me away.

Lila Collison
Kamuela, Hawaii

Mr. Hornbuckle may not find a miracle cure for cancer, but perhaps the information he could find at the following sources might be helpful.

CancerNet: Sponsored by the National Cancer Institute, this site offers current information on prevention, the disease, its detection, treatments, ongoing studies, cancer specialists and mammography centers.

The National Institutes of Health home page gives information on the clinical trials currently being run by the NIH.

The Food and Drug Administration provides press releases, copies of lectures and back issues of the publication FDA Consumer. It also has a list of recently approved drugs.

The Med Web page operated by Emory University offers links to hundreds of Web sites on topics ranging from alternative medicine to gynecology.

The American Medical Association site offers Web editions of its various journals, a searchable list of some 65,000 licensed physicians in the U.S., an HIV/AIDS information center, links to good health Web sites and a catalogue of its books.

Thousands of people have used these sites for hundreds of ailments.
Fran Washko

Riff and Ready
Please be aware of the fact that Michael Roberts has, on various occasions, used the term "watered-down jazz." I totally disagree. There are traditional jazz moments of great music and traditions, commercial/mainstream jazz, jazz improvisations and, last but not least, avant-garde/progressive/free-form jazz. Suggested reading: The History of Jazz, by David L. Collier.

Lynn Henderson

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