YOU CAN'T STOCKPILE DEER
My congratulations on your progressive deer management article To Save the Herd: Shoot More Deer (SI, Nov. 21). If game and fish departments are ever relieved from political influences and uninformed "pressures," then they may be able to start fulfilling their true purpose. That goal should be to provide as much hunting and fishing as is humanly possible without hurting the basic breeding stocks.
Theodore Roosevelt's definition of the word "conservation" included the idea of "wise use." He looked on game and fish as renewable resources to be harvested scientifically.
We'll have to realize that wildlife must be used as it is produced—it can't be stockpiled like butter!
JACK D. REMINGTON
Colorado Game & Fish Commission Denver
TO BE INFORMED
Be you an experienced trophy hunter of deer or just a weekend shot for the sport of it, this article is truly one of the most informative stories I've read in SI. Hats off to you.
EUGENE A. PETERSEN
Sioux City, Iowa
December 5, 1955
CAN IT HAPPEN AGAIN?
The deer article by Ed Zern and Reginald Wells will do more damage to our dwindling deer herds, especially here in the eastern states, than anything I have read for a long time....
"Experts" seem to think that they have discovered some magic formula that will allow indiscriminate killing of doe and fawn deer and still keep enough breeding stock to insure decent hunting conditions in the coming years. Brother, it just isn't so. If the sportsmen of the United States don't wake up and stop these experimenters soon, we will be right back where we were 40 or 50 years ago. It is an undisputed fact that unlimited killing of deer back in the old days led to the virtual extinction of this great animal in most of the U.S.—and it can happen again....
Rivesville, W. Va.
WE MAKE GREAT JUMPS
...We are a buck law state—and proud of it. When the time comes that we need herd reduction we'll know it. We won't need slanted opinions and confused mathematics to provide the answers either. When "experts" try to sell us rabbit browsing as an example of deer damage we know that biology has reached a new low. We have been threatened by these "starvation" fables for years—and you should see the punctured windpipes of some of those supposedly starved deer. We have the greatest herd in the New England area, excluding Maine, and our deer are fat, healthy and agile. We still get an abundance of twin fawns from healthy does. Year after year we make great jumps in our total kill of bucks—and we are still far from the saturation point in deer population, and we still have plenty of feed for them in spite of unrealistic surveys....
You say the management idea is a "brutally practical" thing. You are half right. It is brutal. It is as practical as a fur coat in a jungle swamp....
IT'S A PLEASURE
It is a pleasure for this hunter to see that at long last someone has taken the initiative in trying to educate the people in this country to the fact that we have too many deer. If we are going to solve this problem we will have to have a doe and buck season in these overpopulated areas. I also hope that people will get over the idea that it is "unsportsmanlike" to shoot female deer.
Such an article as this does the entire country a very valuable service. As a hunter and sportsman I can't thank you enough.
W. H. ESHBAUGH III
BABBITTRY AND BALDERDASH
The principal danger that SI faces, in my opinion, is that of falling into a philosophy of sports fully as Babbittrous as anything the Lynds found in Middletown.... I refer particularly to your November 21 E & D editorial on Veblen.
Now the fact is that football (and I have played it somewhat better than average) is a dull game as compared to soccer (which I have also played) and to Rugby (which I have only watched). The ball is actually in motion a very small part of the official playing time. The game places an overwhelming importance on size, and the opportunity for any individual initiative is sharply delimited except to the backs, in comparison with either of the other games. And there is not nearly the opportunity for the fortunes of the game to shift as swiftly as they do in soccer and Rugby....
As for hunting, I don't know how any reasonable man can argue that hunting is a sport or, if it is a sport, that it is an ennobling sport.... The concept of hunting as a sport leads to such twisted logic as your article on deer. Your statements with respect to the need for the reduction of herd (SI, Nov. 21) may be perfectly correct, yet I am sure that no shot deer feels that he has been done a service, nor does any hunter announce to his family as he sets off, "I am going off to do the deer herd a service." The purpose, in short, is not to enrich and ennoble the deer herd but to provide healthy game to be shot....
The series of sportsmen's codes, which are an abomination on clear thinking, is a reflection of mediocrity which has no place in today's world. I don't know that Albert Einstein or Enrico Fermi or Thomas Edison or Henry Ford ever bothered to learn any of this balderdash.
D. L. STOFLE
Palo Alto, Calif.
JUST THE FACTS, PLEASE
You say in A Mountaineer Dream Is Over (SI, Nov. 21): "Then suddenly Coach Art Lewis frowned, looked around wildly, took four quick steps to a nearby goal post and knocked soundly on wood.... He was taking no chances of affronting his muse. He was wearing the same frayed brown suit.... In his wallet was a tarnished half dollar that carried its own spell," etc., etc.... Shades of Veblen!
If Lewis' actions are not an expression of the "boyish temperament," of the "rehabilitation of the early barbarian temperament" ("Football and Veblen," E & D, Nov. 21), then what are they?
Please, sirs, just relate the exploits of our virile heroes, no philosophy. Us boys like your archaic magazine just as it is.
CLEMENT T. McGUIRE
•SI's point on Veblen was that this humorless advocate of austerity and utilitarianism "could write an entire chapter on sports without ever thinking of the word 'fun.' " While sports may at one time have been the prerogative of a "predatory and archaic leisure class," today it has become, as President Eisenhower said the other day, "the great common denominator." And only last month Pope Pius, in considering the widespread interest in sports as one of the "phenomena of modern society," compared the ideal goal of an athlete to the "power and harmony, order and beauty, effort and victory and renown of achieving a record" attained by the architects of St. Peter's. As to which sport is the most fun—football, hunting, soccer, Rugby or hero worship—in the Wonderful World of Sport, that is the privilege of everyone to decide for himself.—ED.
My vote for Sportsman of the Year—Juan Manuel Fangio.
DAVID R. CONDER
...A man who can stand unflinchingly beside SI's last-year choice of Roger Bannister, without fear of comparison insofar as accomplishment, self-sacrifice, perseverance, humility and all-round universal appeal are concerned. I refer simply to the strongest man on earth and quite possibly the strongest man that ever walked the face of the earth: Weight Lifter Paul Anderson.
R. D. MYERS
MY SPORTSMAN IS...
As a reader of SI my Sportsman of the Year is a woman: Jill Kinmont, one of the country's best skiers and one who has inspired thousands of us with her brave and cheerful fight against total paralysis. She has skill, spirit and fortitude. What more can we ask of our Sportsman?
G. A. ROSCOE
THIS INSPIRING LEADER
There can only be one choice for SI's Sportsman of '56. The man who led the greatest baseball team of decades to a long-sought league victory and then climaxed this by the most thrilling world series in recent times. I refer, of course, to Walter Alston, the modest, capable, inspiring leader of the Brooklyn Dodgers. I think Alston can stand beside Roger Bannister.
South Londonderry, Vt.
HOW I HEARD IT
Regarding Arthur W. Calver's letter (19TH HOLE, NOV. 14), the way I heard the story, the telegram really went like this: BRUISES HURT ERASED AFFORD ERECTED ANALYSIS HURT TOO INFECTIOUS DEBT.
ONE FOR THE RACE
I was very impressed by Ylla's pictures of an Indian village fair (SI, Nov. 14). They were a striking portrayal of North Indian villagers and their love of color and group entertainments. This is an aspect of Indian life which we Americans rarely hear about, being absorbed as we are with the idea that India is either a land of problems or of pageantry solely on the princely level. You have presented an outstanding example of another aspect of the lives of these hardworking farmers.
I thought you might be interested in the following sidelight on bullock-cart races. Last year, when in India, I visited a village in Bombay State (which is legally dry) and was told of an apparently common practice among the villagers in that area when they hold such races. In order to enliven the proceedings, they will often prepare their bullocks in advance by dosing them with potent amounts of homemade bootleg liquor. The results are considerable and the race is a good deal less dull than a 10-mph speed would lead us to expect.
Unfortunately, I never was able to find out how a bullock feels with a hangover.
DURONDA R. KOENIG
BETWEEN US BABOONS
Can you send me further information on the Colonel Hilsman duck-calling phonograph? You say (E & D, Nov. 7): "...a duck hunter is the craziest baboon in the world. If it costs $85 to have a duck on his lap he'll spend it in a minute." My husband and I are such baboons and we want it.
MRS. ALBERT W. WALKER
•Both records ($2.50) and phonographs ($84.50) may be obtained from the Roger Hilsman Company, 3270 Lyon Street, San Francisco 23.—ED.
SUCH A SMALL COUNTRY
I have just had the pleasure of reading Hungary Becomes a Great Power—in Track, by David Mayer (SI, Nov. 21). I was happy to see that you have given some long-overdue recognition to Hungary as a power in the world of sports. It is certain that for such a small country (pop. 7 million) to amass such a phenomenal record both in the Olympics (third in '48 and '52) and other international sports competitions (soccer, swimming and now track) is a remarkable and highly praiseworthy achievement.
I was saddened, however, by the fact that SI and Mr. Mayer steadfastly insist upon drawing a line between the athletes of East and West. If the Soviet Union wishes to use sports as a battleground for political ideology, the United States need not stoop to do likewise. I am sure that
Mr. I haros does not run in order to put a feather in the Soviet "bonnet." It is also grossly unfair to identify the athletes of a country with the political forms of government they represent, in particular when they do so not of their own choosing.
ADALBERT K. HILBERTH
Notre Dame, Ind.
THE KINDEST THING
Oh, for heaven's sake put us pore dawg lovers out of our misery and show us a picture of Ludlovian Bruce of Greenfair! We all know what to wear at these field trials—we really go to see the dogs, not the people!
Ann Arbor, Mich.
•Herewith International Field Trial Champion Ludlovian Bruce of Green-fair with Handler Larry MacQueen and Owner Joseph C. Quirk.—ED.
ADD MR. BURTON'S VEST
In your description of Ernest Burton's shooting clothes (Nov. 14th cover) you neglected to include the distinctive buttons on his petit point vest and Bedford cord jacket. These are made of spent shotgun shellheads, a vogue originated by Mr. Burton and quickly adopted by many clothes-conscious sportsmen across the country.
HARVEY H. SMITH
THE ONCE-IN-A-LIFETIME AUERHAHN
Your layout on upland game birds (SI, Oct. 10) prompted me to jot a few notes about one of the game birds you illustrated so graphically in a painting which shows him during his Balzzeit, or mating time. He is one of the rare trophy birds of the world, a prize which most European hunters insist should come to a hunter only once in a lifetime, if then. This, of course, is the capercaillie, or, in Germany, the Auerhahn.
The Auerhahn, a dramatically striking creature in his sheen of ebony, is sought only in the mating season, which lasts from roughly mid-April to mid-May. According to German hunting custom, he must be shot only while perched on an evergreen limb while in the midst of his peculiar chattering-hissing mating call, sounded from before daylight until approximately 4:30 a.m., when he flies to the ground and searches ardently for a mate.
Without doubt, he is one of the wariest and most capricious birds to hunt. While in the exhalation process of the call, the Auerhahn is totally deaf and blind, and during this brief second or two the hunter must make his stalk, one quick step at a time. The slightest, the least inadvertent movement at any other moment, and he disappears into the still, black morning. Only the beating of his powerful wings signals his vanishing.
Almost without exception, the bird is located beforehand by droppings at a tree base, and seldom does he leave the vicinity of this domicile for a different roosting place before the Balzzeit begins.
Your capercaillie caption indicates that the bird has been unsuccessfully introduced into the States. It may interest you to know that no one has ever learned the secret of keeping one of these birds in captivity; frequent attempts to house them in zoos have inevitably resulted in the bird's death. Until the mating season, they are singular, virtually nomadic creatures which resist contact with civilization, or, for that matter, with their own kind.
During this past hunting year, I had the rare privilege of observing a magnificent Auerhahn in his evening mating dance, when for 25 minutes he unknowingly performed for me only 30 yards away, as the dusk turned into night. Without doubt, this was one of the most enthralling experiences of my life, watching him in his weird replica of a Virginia reel, with only the music of a light wind shuffling the tops of pine trees.
ALBERT W. JOHNSON
In SI's Nov. 21 pro basketball column, I have discovered two cases of mistaken identity. The name under one picture is given as Maurice Stokes. Actually, the player shown is Jesse Arnelle, former Penn State great. Jess is now playing ball with the Harlem Globetrotters and doing very well for himself.
Secondly, the picture identified as Corky Devlin is really that of Eliot Karvel, now serving in the U.S. Army.
I enjoy reading your fine publication.
University Park, Pa.
•Correct. The pictures were miscaptioned. For a look at the real players, see below.—ED.