Please allow me to respond to Carmen and Nancy DeCicco's letter of Dec. 28.
Dear Carmen and Nancy,
I think I understand your distaste at the Roundup's publication of young hunters. But I'd like you to try to look at those pictures from a different point of view. See them as a source of pride. See them, not as "dead animals and their killers," but rather, as young people showing pride -- justifiable pride -- at their acquisition of an important life skill.
As far as I can tell, your main objections are first that young people are being taught to hunt animals, second, that animals have the right to live, and lastly, that you perceive hunting to be a sport.
I don't think these young people, or, for that matter, most of this community, would agree with your assessments.
I think your last objection needs to be addressed first. Hunting here is not for sport. It's not for trophies or bragging rights.
For the most part, people here still hunt for the purpose God intended -- to provide food for humans. Those kids are proud, and we are proud of them, because they are putting food on the table for their families. This is nothing to sneer at. I hope we never become so "modern" that we can't appreciate and be thankful for a freezer full of meat.
You might object to eating meat. You don't say that in your letter, so let's look at it from both angles.
If you don't eat meat, that is your personal conviction and you are surely entitled to it. I've been a vegetarian for quite a while and have a number of friends who are as well, and not one of us would argue for a minute that humans should not eat meat.
Simple biology tells you we are designed to eat and gain benefit from meat. Recent scientific studies show that the human brain requires meat-based proteins and enzymes during the pre-natal and early developmental stages. It's kind of presumptuous to decide that all people should do without the good things that meat provides.
Boca burgers don't do it for most people, so let's say you do eat meat -- the store-bought variety. That stuff doesn't grow on the Styrofoam, you know. Do you know what those cattle have been fed? Do you know what growth hormones they've been injected with? And have you ever visited a slaughterhouse? It ain't pretty. Those cattle can't do anything to protect themselves, either. Which brings me to your first objection, that young people are being taught how to hunt.
I cannot object to any activity that brings father and son, mother and daughter or vice-versa, together. I had a student miss a morning of school a few weeks ago to go hunting with her daddy -- nothing unusual in Payson. Here's what she learned.
• You have to obey the laws and make sure you have licenses, etc.;
• There is a humane way to take game, and that is what is expected of her;
• Sometimes you are lucky, and sometimes you aren't; and
• Her daddy loves her, thinks she is important and believes she can contribute to the family.
My student didn't catch anything but a cold that day. But one day, she will be a good, honest and successful hunter, and I hope you'll be proud of her when she gets her picture in the Roundup.
K. Alexander-Young, Payson