The short Associated Press story on poaching in the Sept. 9 Gazette-Times included an all-too-common mixing of poachers with legitimate hunters. Following the lead-in language describing poaching in terms of animal slaughter, hunting animals with dogs and leaving animals to rot, the term poacher was switched to hunter in the text.
As a lifetime hunter-conservationist and active member of several pro-hunting conservation oriented groups I see this mistake as an insult to the hunting community. The illogical and erroneous media jump from poacher to hunter happens far too often to believe it is coincidence. Some percentage of readers actually do not make a distinction between the two opposite legal and illegal acts.
Shoppers at our grocery stores are not labeled shoplifters, patrons of our local credit unions are not labeled bank robbers. So why label hunters, the strongest supporters of anti-poaching laws, wildlife management and wildlife law enforcement nationally and here in Oregon, as poachers?
Corvallis (Sept. 9)
The writer is resource director of the Oregon Hunters Association.