As a deer hunter and a "retired" professional forester, I would like to express my appreciation of Charles W. Thayer's fine article (A More Sensible Way to Hunt, Oct. 28). To those of us who see public hunting and fishing as we used to know it being ruined by reason of posting, game-habitat destruction or both, the 11th hour has come. The situation with regard to Vermont deer hunting is a case in point. In other states things are no doubt much worse.
At this writing Vermont deer hunting suffers from three things: politics, the buck law (only one buck per hunter, no does) and general public ignorance of the facts of deer hunting and deer survival.
In 1962 our excellent Omnibus Game Laws were passed, transferring complete control of all fish and game matters to the fish and game department. At the last minute, however, the little matter of control of the deer herd was eliminated and the lawmakers turned back to the old idea of politics as usual. Last year a most beneficial one-day doe law was repealed. Before the repeal, we did manage to kill a few thousand does but, as usual, the herd went into the winter swollen in numbers far beyond the carrying capacity of the winter range.
Under natural conditions in remote country (e.g. northern Maine), the best and heaviest bucks get the does, and small, weak, sickly bucks are driven out of the doe area during the rut. The vital proportion of healthy bucks and does is maintained and the deer get heavier and more plentiful. Maine's more sensible law allows two deer of either sex per hunter. The longer hunting season permits both deer and hunters to spread out. It makes for better sport and a better chance for the finest bucks to reach inaccessible country and survive to maintain a strong herd.
But in Vermont, unless the present proportion of something like 20 does per buck can be corrected by heavier shooting of antlerless deer, the herd will continue to grow larger and weaker and the days of our old, good deer hunting will be numbered. The present 14-day season concentrates thousands of hunters for three weekends on relatively few acres of wild land nearest the highways. It is a nightmare for both hunter and landowner. A 45-day season on both docs and bucks would be desirable. It would benefit the hunter, the landowner and the deer herd alike.
Proper deer herd management begins with heavy shooting—the only practical method available at present that will improve deer feeding areas on large acreages of land. Intensive land management has solved the problem of bigger crops from less and less acreage of farm lands. Wild lands, too, will require the same scientific management if public deer hunting is not to follow the road already traveled by the buffalo hunters—a road to nowhere.
GEORGE B. GORDON
PUNCHES AND PLUMS
Robert H. Boyle hit the nail on the head when he stated that political appointees to the boxing commissions are killing the fight game (This Death Might Kill Boxing, Oct. 28). Boxing is a highly technical business. Why governors put greenhorns in these jobs never has been answered. Meanwhile boxing suffers. It can't take much more. Believe me.
FRED J. SADDY
You say, "We are usually the last to have anything to say in favor of governmental interference with sports, but..." (SCORECARD, Oct. 28). Then you go on to say you favor a strong federal commissioner of boxing. Appointing a federal commissioner of boxing would solve only one type of problem: the quest for another political plum to pay off services rendered. Sure, the first commissioner would be a Jack Dempsey, but once the position was established it would become just another political-patronage source. The idea of federal bureaucrats running boxing instead of state bureaucrats simply means the corruption would be on a higher scale.
Boxing is a business and should be run as one, with no government interference—state or federal. I think a privately run commission along the lines of the National and American football leagues could handle the present situation efficiently, using the imagination and ingenuity of the private-enterprise system.
New Britain, Pa.
LET 'EM EAT RADIO
I cannot understand your position in pushing for pay TV (SCORECARD, Oct. 28). Walter O'Malley's plan of putting Dodger games on pay TV sounds innocent enough, but if it proves profitable the idea will spread to other baseball teams. Pretty soon there won't be any baseball on regular TV. The next step is obvious—the World Series on pay TV only. Much the same could happen with football and basketball.
You speak of the Constitution and the right of private businessmen to do with their product as they see fit. I think you are overlooking the fact that the public as consumers have some property rights too.
Millions of dollars have been invested by millions of individuals in television receivers. These investments were made with the idea of receiving the type of programming in existence when the purchase was made—including many sports attractions. If a significant block of programs should be transferred from free TV to pay TV, it would lower the value of the investment represented by the TV set, through no fault of the investor. This smacks of the public-be-damned attitude of the last century.
Do you actually mean, "What the Constitution says about private property is that a man can do with it what he pleases"?
Under your philosophy we should never have had police departments to insure order, child labor and poor wages should abound and the average property owner who opted could start garbage disposal in his backyard.
Private-property rights are and must be conditioned by the just rights of others and always will be in our country, and the Constitution says no such thing to the contrary.
What Walter O'Malley considers doing, however, is no infringement upon anyone's rights, as you point out. You are right for the wrong reasons.
The REV. JOSEPH P. SCHERER
I couldn't believe my eyes when I saw that you had picked Cincinnati over Boston in the NBA (Scouting Reports, Oct. 28). The line that really shocked me was, "The Celtics will need depth for their fight with the Royals." Now, what more depth do you want, with Havlicek, Naulls, Loscutoff, Ramsey, Lovellette and McCarthy on the bench, plus the strong starting team of Heinsohn, Sanders, Russell, Sam Jones and K. C. Jones? Cincinnati's Lucas is a very good young player, but how can one man added to Robertson and Co. possibly defeat the all-round team effort of the Celtics?
WILLIAM J. SULLIVAN
This year, with the advent of Jerry Lucas, Cincinnati is chosen to dethrone the Boston Celtics!
The Celtics are a team of destiny. Under the Founding Fathers led by George Washington, a revolutionary nation triumphed and prospered against all odds. The Celtics led by Bob Cousy also crossed the turbulent Delaware, faced tremendous opposition and triumphed. They, too, shall prosper.
JOEL LAWRENCE GOODE
After watching several recent nationally televised football games, it seems to me that penalties have about reached the saturation point. The referee, field judge, etc. simply control the game this year. Time and again, touchdown drives succeed or fail because of what the official sees. These annoyances were particularly evident in the recent West Virginia-Pitt and Notre Dame-Stanford games.
My solution is not to call fewer penalties, since it is assumed that all of the called infractions actually occurred and that the basic purpose of a penalty is to keep the game fair and limit injury. The suggested solution is a change in the penalty system.
I for one feel that 15 yards is too much to assess and unfairly limits a team. Why not borrow from hockey and assess a time penalty against the offending player? Remove him from the game for a set time, for a given number of downs, or for only one down if a relatively minor infraction. A personal foul would receive a longer penalty than holding, for instance. This would accomplish several things: 1) it would point up the guilty player, 2) his removal for a time might allow tempers to cool and perhaps further reduce injury and 3) if the other team then gained 5, 10, 15, 20 yards, it would have at least earned them, and the other team would still have a chance to prevent it.
The five-yard penalties are much too severe and should be reduced to two or three yards—i.e., for offsides, illegal motion, delay of game, etc. These are almost always minor offenses, and the penalty should be quite minor.
Perhaps the worst of all is the pass-interference penalty. There seems to be almost unanimous agreement that this is a very difficult call at best. I suggest the penalty should be reduced by half—in other words, give the team with the ball half the distance it would have gained by the pass.
ROBERT F. KIRK, M.D.
Please tell John Underwood that we do not think Hal Bedsole is a "bum," and never have (A Very Big Head Getting Smaller, Oct. 21).
It should go without saying that we would hardly permit our daughter Cathy to go with any young man about whom we felt that way. Quite to the contrary, we are proud and fond of Hal and have tried to encourage him toward getting his education and planning his future career.
MR. AND MRS. FRANK G. WALTERS