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Adam Ophaug, McVille, N.D., Published November 13 2012

Letter: North Dakota’s hunting tradition no reason to exploit wild animals

With fall here again and another hunting season under way, I want to make a few points in favor of not participating.

As I watch animals moving through the woods and fields, I can only think how closely it must mirror the existence my great-grandfather experienced out here nearly 100 years ago, and that truly these are the things that were made for this place, impressive things, wild things, creatures that in the harshness of this world survive on nothing but their own mettle, their own instinct, their own unique intelligence. Creatures that, at the end of another hard day, don’t return home to supermarkets, automobiles and electric furnaces. They simply do the best they can with what they were given, never complaining, never compromising, they simply put their heads down and keep going, kids to feed and all the rest.

And with what we face out here most years, whether it’s record droughts or the arctic wasteland-like winters, inevitably some will fail in their efforts, but to add to this natural struggle unnecessarily is shameful.

This is not what men do; men are stoic but compassionate, men are providers. They will sacrifice, depriving themselves of even the necessities so another may live better. They do not take from nor exploit the meek and undefended. They treat all life with a basic and fundamental decency. Death is not something to be dealt so freely, so callously; it is black and cold, full of pain, terror and loneliness, as anyone who has ever lost someone knows, and nothing should have to face it unless absolutely necessary.

My old grandfather used to say, “Leave it better than you found it,” and I know he’d agree this piece of the past has run its course. Tradition can be a wonderful thing, keeping us in touch with what has come before, but we’re not feeding families any longer, only wasting God-given lives.

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