- The Washington Times - Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Imagine turning a tragic incident in which a child apparently shot his father and another man into a campaign to stop those younger than 18 from hunting.

That’s what happened in Arizona, where wacky animal rights group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals sent a letter to Gov. Janet Napolitano, urging her to support legislation that would ban hunting by anyone younger than 18. The U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance, a pro-hunting organization headquartered in Columbus, Ohio, is trying to making sure every hunter in the country knows about this.

“PETA is attempting to exploit recent news coverage of a tragedy in which an 8-year old boy allegedly shot and killed his father, Vincent Romero, [with] a .22-caliber rifle,” USSA’s executive vice president Rick Story said. “The organization claims that the violent act was fomented by a recent family prairie dog hunting trip.”

PETA, Story said, told Napolitano that hunting teaches “children to see others as nothing more than living targets. PETA always uses the most distasteful tactics to make headlines. In this case, it is exploiting a tragic situation to advance its anti-hunting agenda.”

How a sad event of a boy misusing a gun can have anything to do with the hundreds of thousands of children who accompany their fathers, uncles and grandfathers on hunting trips is beyond me. I started hunting at age 10 under the tutelage of my father and grandfather. Never in all my years of hunting have I heard even the most rabid anti-hunter say an apparent criminal act was the result of a child being introduced to hunting.

Shame on you, PETA.

Elk hunters score in Pennsylvania - The Pennsylvania Game Commission said 40 of its 45 licensed elk hunters were successful during the Nov. 3-8 season.

Pennsylvania has done an outstanding job managing its wildlife, even restoring an elk population that is steadily growing. With the cooperation of the hunters, the commission extracted flesh and tissue samples needed for disease testing, then collected samples to examine food preferences and habitat used by elk.

The largest antlered elk was taken by Susan Luce of Aaronsburg, Pa. On Nov. 3 in Clearfield County, she shot a 799-pound, 7-by-7 - seven points on each antler side.

Woman qualifies for Bass Classic - The full field of 51 Bassmaster Classic contenders has been finalized. Kim Bain-Moore, the first female to qualify for the quasi-world championship of bass fishing, will face 50 of the best fishermen in the world.

Bain-Moore, of Alabaster, Ala., earned her berth by capturing the Toyota Tundra Women’s Bassmaster Angler of the Year title. To win the Bassmaster Classic, Bain-Moore will have to get past multiple winners, including four-time champion Rick Clunn, of Ava, Mo. Then there’s phenom Kevin VanDam, of Kalamazoo, Mich., and Davy Hite, of Ninety Six, S.C., who has scored big in Louisiana waters in the past. The 39th edition of the event is Feb. 20-22 on the Red River out of Shreveport-Bossier City.

Oyster dredgers nabbed - On Nov. 6, the Maryland Natural Resources Police charged three men with illegally harvesting oysters on the Wicomico River near Indiantown.

Robert L. Copsey, 39, John S. Evens, 44, and James P. Nelson, 32, all of Mechanicsville, were charged after officers observed the three power-dredging oysters just north of Chaptico Bay in an area reserved for hand-tonging. Officers seized as evidence 17 bushels of oysters that were returned to the waters of the state. A court date of Jan. 16 has been scheduled in St. Mary’s County District Court.

Look for Gene Mueller’s Outdoors column every Sunday and Wednesday and his Fishing Report every Thursday in The Washington Times. E-mail: gmueller@washingtontimes.com. Also check out his Inside Outside blog on washingtontimes.com.

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