- The Washington Times - Wednesday, July 10, 2002

The way Mark Taylor, a reporter for the Roanoke Times, put it, "J. Carson Quarles is no stranger to politics, so he wasn't floored when he got a call from a member of Gov. Mark Warner's staff. The caller said that the Democratic governor was relieving Quarles from his position on the board of directors of the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (VDGIF). A replacement is expected to be named this week."

Concerning Quarles, he worked untold hours on department business without pay when he could have stayed in the mountains and gone fishing.

So the nasty game of politics and the handing out of rewards for helping a governor get elected is reaching even the VDGIF. Quarles, 65, a retired bank executive who lives in Roanoke, is an active Republican, and during the governor's race last year, Quarles supported Gov. Warner's opponent, Mark Earley.

What worries many of the state's hunters and anglers is the uncertain future of the VDGIF. Some Virginians already have begun to compare it to the highly politicized Maryland Department of Natural Resources under that state's governor, Parris N. Glendening, a thinly disguised animal rights advocate who many fear is staffing his natural resources offices with people who share his vision of "nonconsumptive" use of the state's natural resources and "nonlethal" management of wildlife. Read that to mean that hunting is politically incorrect and that only dandelion pickers and tree huggers are welcome to Maryland's forests.

In the case of Virginia, earlier this year, when the department was struck with massive budget cuts, Quarles fought for the funds and eventually had some of the cuts restored. In that fight, he obviously ticked off Gov. Warner when he questioned the governor's loyalty to the sportsmen of Virginia, which Warner actively courted during the election campaign.

Meanwhile, Quarles, who had three years remaining on his VDGIF appointment, said, "I have no regrets for what I did for the department." He served five years on the board, the past four as its chairman, and unlike some other board members, he was prepared to handle any business on the table whenever the board met in Richmond. Quarles was a strong and decisive chairman.

But Quarles' didn't please everybody. He opposed Sunday hunting. He didn't care to pursue elk restoration projects in Virginia, which now makes him a visionary considering the number of states banning importation of elk and deer because of the threat of spreading chronic wasting disease.

However, as state delegate Vic Thomas, Roanoke Democrat, said last week, "[Quarles] did an outstanding job for the sportsmen of Virginia, but it's the governor's prerogative and that's an important part of state government. Politics is politics."

What a shame to lose such a good man to sleazy backroom maneuvers.

Take that, Canadians! In response to our June30 column concerning the Canadian government's huge and expensive gun registration program that has Canada's hunters and target shooters more than a little upset, H. Lea Lawrence, the popular author of many books on the outdoors, writes, "The Canadians have always been spooked by handguns, so this latest move isn't at all surprising. Like the Brits and the Aussies, their public is one huge flock of sheep, unable to realize that if they got together in opposing such a stupid proposal, they could stop it in its tracks. At the heart of every gun registration effort lie the anti-gun, anti-hunting, and anti-freedom forces. [But] they face a more formidable opponent in the U.S. in regard to public opinion and attitude. The problem [with us] is certain male and female members of Congress, guys like [Sen. Ted Kennedy, Massachusetts Democrat] and [Sen. Charles E. Schumer, New York Democrat] and women like [Sen. Barbara Boxer, California Democrat] and [Sen. Dianne Feinstein, California Democrat]. None of them know a thing about what they're talking about. They use only crime figures from the ghettos as ammunition.

"I consider myself lucky. I hunted in Africa seven times before things went down the drain; in England before it became super-paranoid about guns; and the Canadian provinces about a dozen times when there was absolutely no hassle. I was one step ahead, it seems."

But "good show" Ontario Ontario's outdoors heritage and the province's fish and wildlife programs finally have been recognized with last week's passage of Bill 135, the Heritage Hunting and Fishing Act. The act fulfills the government's commitment to anglers and hunters across the province as it recognizes the right to hunt and fish in accordance with the law. It also ensures that the government can continue to manage fish and wildlife resources in a sound manner without being interfered with by animal rights groups.

The Heritage Hunting and Fishing Act will establish a Fish and Wildlife Heritage Commission to provide advice to the province's minister about a variety of fish and wildlife initiatives and to promote increased public involvement in recreational hunting and fishing.

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