Re: Respect, don't destroy, the local wildlife, letter to the editor, Dec. 30 After reading the letter by Lori Argent, I felt compelled to write. Argent's implication that hunters do not respect wildlife is a very uninformed opinion.
Growing up as a fourth generation Ladner resident (I currently live in Surrey for economic reasons), hunting season has been an integral part of my life. I looked forward every fall and winter to spending time in the field with my grandfather, my father and friends and to harvesting some of the best food nature has to offer.
While spending many days in the field we were able to witness many wonders nature has to offer. I now take my own kids out to do the same thing and one of the things I have always taught them is that as hunters, it is our responsibility to have a great respect for the fish and game that we pursue.
That is why our club conducts an environmental cleanup every spring of areas like the dike and Ladner Marsh. We believe it is important we give back by cleaning up tons of garbage from areas that are inhabited by many game and non-game species.
Currently, there are no conservation concerns regarding any of the species of waterfowl that we hunt.
When it comes to some species, the exact opposite is the truth.
The farming community (most of the families are multi-generation residents as well) relies on the hunting community to try to minimize the crop damage done by waterfowl, which can total hundreds or even thousands of dollars in a single night.
Species like snow geese and widgeon can do extensive damage to a field in a matter of hours, and farmers are given little, if any, compensation for their losses.
We have worked hard here in Delta to minimize conflicts between hunters and other users of the dike and surrounding areas and will continue to be as proactive as possible to maintain the priority of public safety while keeping it possible for everyone to enjoy the wildlife of Delta in the way they choose.
This has always meant that if public safety was an issue, we as hunters would endorse the closure of an area. At the present time, with no conservation concerns and public safety being a priority, I see no need to create a big issue of hunting as it is a local tradition that has been going on for many years.
As for my "ridiculous" choice of camo clothing, some people may choose Calvin Klein, but I like Mossy Oak Duck Blind.
Mark McDonald Secretary Delta Ladner Rod & Gun Club