Letters To The Editor

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

October 31, 2004

No justification for Maryland's cruel bear hunt

Reading about the trophy hunt of black bears in Maryland that started and ended on Monday, I am disgusted. I am appalled. I am saddened. But even more, after 25 years, I am embarrassed to say that I live in Maryland.

One hunter was quoted in The Sun saying: "It was real foggy, and the bear was right up close by the time we saw it. It smelled us and turned to run away. I said, `Shoot,' and my brother hammered him. That's fun'" ("With 20 bears killed in a day, Md. ends first hunt in 51 years," Oct. 26).

Personally, I don't see anything "fun" about it.

Black bears, once nearly extinct in Maryland, have made a remarkable comeback, thanks to a half-century of environmental programs to protect bears and their habitat. The small population is now estimated at 266 to 437 bears in the state.

There is absolutely no justifiable reason to have allowed a black bear massacre in Maryland: It won't reimburse farmers for their crops, it won't teach people to store food away from bears, and it won't show people that there are humane, nonlethal alternatives to manage wildlife.

The only thing it will do is allow trophy hunters to display the heads of these magnificent creatures on their walls.

Lauren Silverman

Rockville

Allowing hunt shows cowardice

Maryland's black bear hunt marked the end of our state's proud 51-year tradition of protecting our fragile population of black bears, and is the latest example of political cowardice from Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. ("With 20 bears killed in a day, Md. ends first hunt in 51 years," Oct. 26).

The governor's willingness to reverse a moratorium that has been in place for more than half a century without addressing the public opposition or responding to the vote against the hunt by the General Assembly's Administrative, Executive and Legislative Review Committee is simply inexcusable.

Solomon Gully

Kensington

No sport in killing small black bears

I am certainly glad that the residents of Western Maryland can now sleep easy at night knowing that those 20 bears are no longer rummaging through their trash cans and bird feeders ("With 20 bears killed in a day, Md. ends first hunt in 51 years," Oct. 26).

Of special comfort must be knowing that the 84-pound, 10-month-old female cub was killed. My last dog weighed more than that bear.

The hunter who killed that bear said he was going to shoot "whatever came through," and another hunter mentioned in the article said he participated because he wanted a bearskin rug.

Those are two examples of what is wrong with the mindset of the Department of Natural Resources and everyone else who was in favor of this slaughter. How sad.

Kerrie Ater

Baltimore

Shooting 84-pound and 114-pound young black bears surely mustn't qualify as a sport. Just because the state won't set a floor on weight doesn't mean hunters should settle for dog-sized bears.

No-risk hunting of juvenile Maryland black bears is no sport.

Steve Van Order

Ellicott City

Greed threatens Middle River

Middle River is not a "destination," nor is it a "revitalization" project ("Team's ideas for improving Essex-Middle River outlined," Oct. 27). It is a river whose very viability is endangered by greed.

Too much development, too much boat traffic and too little concern for the natural habitat's ability to handle the continued loss of quiet space and calm water threaten its existence.

Profit and political gain cannot replace a lost river.

Kathleen Kiselewich

Baltimore

Insurance industry needs tighter control

Are the increases in malpractice insurance premiums a matter of necessity to cover loss or a matter of greed on the part of the insurance companies ("Ehrlich offers doctor remedy," Oct. 26)?

I believe insurance companies should make a reasonable profit -- a reasonable profit, not windfall profit. Are malpractice awards so high in this state that insurance companies have lost money? I seriously doubt it.

Insurance companies should be strictly regulated and required to furnish documentation to substantiate not only the rates they charge, but any increase in premiums that are proposed.

I know there is some regulation of the insurance industry in Maryland; however, it is obviously not stringent enough.

Jim Lockerman

Baltimore

Protecting the oil but not the weapons?

It appears the Bush administration was able to secure the oil fields in Iraq, but unable to secure several hundred tons of explosives that can be used against our troops ("Bush, Kerry trade fire over cache, troops," Oct. 28).

Jerome S. Wittik

Randallstown

Only those who vote decide the election

Just 10 years ago, South Africa held its first free election in which both blacks and whites could vote.

Tens of thousands of citizens stood in line for hours to cast their vote, most voting for the first time in their lives. They proudly stood to make their voices heard, to vote for a leader who best represented the values that would move their country forward.

We have the same opportunity, and the same responsibility, on Tuesday.

Stand up and vote for what's important to you, your family and your country.

Because the people who vote determine who wins.

F. C. Ottenheimer

Baltimore

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