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Hunting needs a burial plot

Hunters gathered for a controlled deer hunt at the Patuxent Wildlife Research Refuge talk about why hunting is declining in Maryland. (Kim Hairston, Baltimore Sun video)

Why anyone who claims to be an advocate for animals would encourage more people to slaughter them defies common sense (“Why wildlife advocates are working to make hunting more popular in Maryland,” Nov. 23). At any rate, it’s a lost cause.

The statistic you cite — the number of hunters fell to about 11 million from 2011 to 2016 — partly explains why hunting is a dying blood sport. It’s half the number 50 years ago, and the decline is expected to accelerate over the next decade. People should be encouraged to peacefully observe and photograph animals, as 86 million Americans did over the same period, a 20 percent surge.

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And can we retire the specious argument that hunting controls deer populations? It creates a spike in the food supply that increases breeding among survivors and attracts newcomers. Effective control is humane and long-term. Repellents such as pepper spray and installing fencing keep deer from unwanted areas and planting vegetation they resist controls their food supply. Hunting doesn’t need a transfusion, it needs a burial plot.

Craig Shapiro, Norfolk, Va.

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The writer is a staff member at the PETA Foundation.

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