Wednesday, 08 May 2019 19:18

LETTER: Hunters facing charges need our support

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To the editor:

I would first like to say I have the greatest respect for members of law enforcement and the military. I pray every day for their safety and success. I understand our system of government in the U.S. and N.C. and appreciate everyone involved. From the law makers to the individuals who devote their lives to enforcing those laws. Like many of you, there may be a few laws I disagree with, but like all of you, I am honor bound to follow them.


I say that to say this. The recent story covering the over 300 charges filed against 25 or more hunters in a Richmond County Hunting Club is disturbing. Now, I must admit, I know many of these hunters and am related to some as well and I will try and prevent that fact from swaying my words here.

I ask you to look at the charges. Now the article doesn’t provide a lot of the specifics, but I have seen some of the actual charges and believe that some, if not many, are a disgrace to the lawmakers who passed them and the law enforcement officials who enforce them.

For example, one person was charged for littering on Dec. 29, 2017 for dropping a dip can on the side of the road. Yes, a dip can. Now this charge was placed against an individual who had spent many hours of his free time policing the property and even reported littering to the Richmond County Sheriff’s Office.

Many hunters were charged with trespassing and if that’s all you knew you would think they snuck onto someone else’s land, without permission, to hunt. However, this is not the case. All trespassing charges are the result of young men being asked to track a wounded deer shot by and older hunter. Since a wounded deer does not know the property lines and the hunters find it far more dishonest to let the deer lay down and die because he happened to fall on the wrong side of an invisible line, these young men hiked through the woods, where there are no property line markings, to find the deer.

Now some of the charges are legitimate. If someone killed a deer and did not tag it and call it in, they are guilty, and I am in no way saying they should be let go without any repercussions. However, what I am asking is for you to put yourself in the place of these hunters. Good men and women. Conscientious citizens who provide a valued service to nature and our community. How would you like it if a law enforcement officer followed you around every day for two years taking notes? Watching you hunt legally 99 percent of the time but only noting the extremely rare instances when you failed to follow the letter of the law. Dear readers, there is something extremely wrong with allowing this practice to stand. This is not the purpose of the law nor the duty of law enforcement officials. This is not a sting operation on a drug kingpin or organized crime. No, I think it is something far worse.

This is an attack on the long-standing practice of using dogs to hunt. Lest I remind you that humans have been hunting with dogs since the very beginning our history. Before there were guns and before there were bows and arrows. So, all of you NRA, 2nd Amendment supporters, of which I am one, hunting with dogs predates those fundamental rights. All dogs are descendants of the first domesticated wolves and those wolves were befriended and used for the purpose of hunting. So, the next time you look at your Lhasa Apso, your Shih Tzu, or your Pomeranian, remember they were once hunters.

In conclusion, whether you hunt or not, whether you hunt with dogs or not, please be considerate and compassionate, and please try to understand that these hunters are good people. They are law-abiding, honest, hardworking taxpayers. They deserve or understanding and our support. Please join me in wishing them the very best in this tough situation.

With my most sincerest regards,

Chris Maples