Printed letters, January 1, 2013

I want to elaborate on Bill Grant’s recent column on a proposal to expand motorized use within Area 5 of the Bangs Canyon Special Recreation Management Area, an area designated as backcountry and recognized for its wilderness characteristics.

Some folks want to open up the canyon to more motorized traffic. But make no mistake that wildlife, hunters and other people who enjoy wildlife will lose out if that comes about.

This habitat serves as a corridor between two populations of bighorn sheep and has been identified as “severe winter habitat” for mule deer by Colorado Parks and Wildlife. Yet these values were given scant consideration in the BLM and Responsible Rec Foundation’s motorized trail development plan.

When the BLM first drafted the plan for this area, somebody got the idea that more motorized access was needed for elk hunters. This flawed concept is repeated throughout as a “need” for the development of new motorized trails. But any successful public-lands elk hunter knows that the elk tend to retreat to the least disturbed habitat.

Elk hunting is very good at Bangs Canyon and surrounding units as it is. Some 40 percent to 50 percent of elk hunters consistently find success in this unit, which is more than double the state average.

To the BLM’s credit, it seems to have retracted this statement in the current plan, acknowledging that “disturbance of game species due to increased recreation traffic would likely decrease hunting success.”

The current management seems to be working quite well. Hunters are enjoying good success, and the habitat functions well for mule deer, bighorn, elk and a host of other wildlife.

Let’s leave it as it is.


Backcountry Hunters & Anglers


Look at breakdown of families, other factors behind violence

I am a 68-year-old male who has been involved in the shooting sports since 1952. I am an avid hunter, shooter and firearms collector, and I have never felt the need to misuse a firearm against another person except while in the military.

I am sickened by all of the shootings of late but, as Matt Soper stated so well in his column on Dec. 18, the problem isn’t firearms. It is mental health, extremely violent video games, all the trashy TV programs and the complete breakdown of the family unit in which parents can’t or won’t raise their children with strong moral values, just to name a few.

The knee-jerk reaction of the anti-gun lobby every time an act of violence occurs is predictable and expected. Yet everywhere that concealed carry laws are in effect the violent crime rate is down dramatically.

Jim Spehar is obviously unfamiliar with federal firearms laws or deliberately prefers to mislead the public when he states in his column that he “is exempt” from a federal firearms background check if he “goes to Lincoln Park barn” to buy a firearm. Here’s just an FYI for Spehar:  He will be subject to the very same check as if he were at Cabela’s or anywhere else. It is also against federal law to buy a firearm outside of a gun show in the parking lot.

So, Spehar needs to be more educated about what he writes, or, as I stated earlier, he intentionally desires to mislead the public to strengthen his point. So much for the “gun show loophole theory” so widely espoused by those of his ilk.




Heed political radical’s word before relinquishing liberties

As I read through The Daily Sentinel editorial published on Dec. 23, I noted that the editors believe there’s nothing unconstitutional about a ban of so-called “assault weapons.”

They are wrong. After all, how hard is it to comprehend a statement providing that “… the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed”?

The Second Amendment is clearly designed to protect ownership by private citizens of weapons up to and including those that an ordinary soldier might use. And any legislation designed to prevent that is unconstitutional, notwithstanding whether a court can be found that will go along with it.

But there is a larger point. Over the past century or so the federal government has arrogated to itself the power to reach into every corner of our lives, and that trend shows no sign of abating. People who seek power gravitate to government. And because absolute power over the individual is the ultimate expression of that drive, over time government itself gravitates toward despotism.

But we in America have the Bill of Rights. And two of its provisions are linchpins. One, the First Amendment, protects our right to communicate and to persuade, even if the governing powers don’t approve. The other, the Second Amendment, protects our right to keep and bear arms. It allows us to defend ourselves and our communities. This includes resisting, by force of arms if necessary, the despotic actions of our own government. And that explains the repeated attempts to eviscerate it.

An 18th century political radical once wrote, “They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.”

His name? Benjamin Franklin. The Sentinel might take his advice to heart before it advocates the abridgement of any more of our essential liberties.


Grand Junction


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