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Publication: Dear Abby
Boy Should Bond With Dad At Home And Not Out Hunting

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     DEAR ABBY - April 22, 2008 
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BOY SHOULD BOND WITH DAD AT HOME AND NOT OUT HUNTING

ABBY: I am writing in response to the letter from "Concerned 
Grandpa" (Feb. 11), regarding his son-in-law taking his 4-
year-old grandson hunting. I'll bet you were inundated with 
mail from both sides of this issue.

I fail to see how a 4-year-old can comprehend the safe use 
of a firearm, or navigate through the terrain to locate prey 
and return safely home.

Before the industrialized age, people were forced to hunt to 
put food on their tables. Today, whether they consume the 
meat or not, the majority of hunters (I use the term very 
loosely) are not "hunting." They are camouflaged, hiding in 
blinds or in tree stands waiting for the prey to wander by. 
Some even put out bait to lure the animals to their location. 

There is no skill in hiding, waiting for an animal to wander 
by to be shot. These people are animal snipers. A true 
hunter would stalk prey using a bow and arrow for the kill. 
That son-in-law would better serve his son by staying home 
with him and teaching him real life skills. 
-- WALTER M. IN FLORIDA

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with letters from readers on both sides of this issue. The 
comments ranged from child endangerment and cruelty to 
animals to the proper use of guns. Read on:

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ABBY: I started hunting with my dad and grandpa at the age 
of 4. It forged a bond between us that lasted until their 
deaths. Learning to be a hunter is also learning 
responsibility -- specifically gun safety, game laws, and 
a deep respect for the animals and nature. 

Even though you referred to hunting as "killing for sport," 
please remember: License fees help to pay for game habitat 
and management. Habitat and proper management assure a 
healthier game population and the survival of many species 
through conservation efforts. Also, children schooled in 
the safe handling of firearms at an early age aren't as 
likely to be involved in gun violence. 
-- CARING HUNTER, WALTERS, OKLA.


ABBY: I was a preschool teacher for several years, and the 
children who were the biggest bullies and least socialized 
were always -- and I mean ALWAYS -- the ones graphically 
exposed to the killing of animals. These children were aged
from 3 to 5, the same age as the grandson in South Carolina.

The gentle, studious, most popular children never spoke of 
hunting, but the bullies would talk at length about killing, 
guns and blood. It affected their emotional stability and 
ideas about death.

Please urge Grandpa's son-in-law to wait until his son is 
old enough to understand death before allowing him to 
participate in it. The bonding and skill-building experience 
will be more meaningful and less traumatizing if the family
waits. 
-- LOVES CHILDREN -- AND HUNTING -- IN CALIFORNIA


ABBY: If the boy's parents are responsible hunters, they may
be teaching their son gun safety, nature and wildlife 
conservation during these expeditions. Grandpa should thank 
his lucky stars that the boy has a father who cares enough 
about his son to spend time with him. Many fathers just can't 
be bothered. -- GAL HUNTER IN N.Y. STATE


ABBY: We can't trust our political leaders not to injure 
others while hunting. How do you trust a 4-year-old to abide 
by the rules and understand the consequences of breaking 
them? I can't even get my 4-year-old son to wash his hands 
after he goes to the bathroom! 
-- CONCERNED MOM, MARSHALLVILLE, OHIO




ABBY is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as 
Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline 
Phillips. Write ABBY at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box  
69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069. 
____________________________________________________________

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