Good hunters pay the price for bad

Published 12:00 am Monday, May 19, 2003

Remember that time in fourth grade, when the entire class missed a field trip or a picnic because a few of the class members got out of hand? Or the time you all sat in during recess, because one student acted up? Those who hunt deer in the Conecuh National Forest are now sitting out recess.

Why? According to landowners in the area of the park, and in other dog-deer hunting regions across the state, the dog deer hunters are a threat to property and life.

We have no doubt that some of them are. There is no doubt that some of the hunters ignore the rules, stroll past the posted "No Trespassing" or "No Hunting signs," and have little control over their pack.

These "renegades" as Commissioner Barnett Lawley of the Alabama Department of Conservation calls them, have brought down the righteous wrath of those who live in the area, and they, in turn,

have brought down the law. There will be no more deer hunting with dogs in the Conecuh National Forest.

Unfortunately, the "renegades" have shown no inclination to follow the law before this new rule. We doubt they will do it now. We understand the landowner's concerns and applaud their determination to create a safe environment around their homes, but we can only hope their efforts will prove to be effective.

Whether or not you are "for" hunting or "against" it, it is hard to ignore the unfairness of a conscientious and dedicated majority paying the price for a reckless and inconsiderate minority.

But when part of that price includes the potential loss of human life, we must take the side of caution. Like the frustrated teacher who recognizes vandalism or violence, but doesn't know the perpetrator, it is safer to punish the entire class than it is to let the guilty one go free, knowing that he can do it again.