LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Kowtowing to Delaware special interests

In his letter to the editor, Stan Vonasek exhibits how special interests can affect government policy in the politically correct age. [“Delaware Equine Council opposes Sunday hunting,” May 14]

Mr. Vonasek is the president of the Delaware Equine Council, and if you hunt and fish, you already know how this group has taken advantage of our state wildlife areas and forced those who’ve paid for them to play second fiddle. I’ve been an outspoken critic for years about how this singular group has managed to be given such power in molding the state’s wildlife laws.

First of all, Delaware is one of only five states that prohibit Sunday hunting. It’s amazing that the PC crowd which has taken all religious references from every public venue suddenly hides behind the old Blue Law “day of rest” syndrome. In Delaware, I can buy liquor, gamble away my mortgage payment, go to a NASCAR race, go fishing, and even shoot sporting clays on Sunday, but I’m not allowed to hunt. Not even on my own private property.

Mr. Vonasek blatantly admits that because he takes advantage of state land to ride his horses on Sunday, it should require me to forfeit the enjoyment of my own property because it may border his horse trail.

All the state wildlife areas were bought and paid for by hunters and fishermen, if not directly through paying licensing and permit fees, then, though money from the Pittman-Robertson funding gathered from excise taxes paid on hunting and fishing equipment.

Additional funding came from conservation organizations such as Ducks Unlimited, the National Wild Turkey Federation, the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation and others. I do not recall ever seeing any such contributions from the Delaware Equine Council.

His statement that those five days will “open the door” for expansion is pretty revealing in his wanting Delaware to remain a Blue Law state, unlike the 45 other states in the union. Maryland has had similar laws for the last few years, and I haven’t seen any moves toward that end. Perhaps fall and winter are the best time for horseback riders; they coincide with the only times allowed for hunters to use the woods.

The real crux here is the state dictating what, who, and when you can do certain things on your own private property. I have mixed emotions about hunting on Sunday, but I have those same feelings about getting up at 5 in the morning to be in a tree stand before daybreak.

If I own an ATV/RTV, I’m not allowed to ride it on state land. If I own a hunting dog, I’m only allowed to use it in specific areas of those lands. Remember, now, I’ve paid some pretty heft dues over the years for that privilege. Yet, horseback riders are given a free pass. I also have to stay within those confines, and to cross over any private land boundaries, I’m subject to prosecution. On my own land, I’ve had to ask horseback riders on several occasions to get off my property. They’ve all acted insulted at my insistence, and when I reported it, I was told, “Well, horseback riders are given some leeway on this issue.” Why is that?

This bill is just common sense. We are losing hunter dollars every year simply because people (the same people who’ve bought and paid for the lands to begin with) who work six-day weeks simply don’t get the opportunity to participate. Why spend $100 for licensing and tags when you’re likely not going to use them?

These elitists have 52 weekends every year to ride their horses. They can still ride those horses on most of the state lands, but now, they want to deny me five Sundays to hunt on my own land. It’s past time to stop kowtowing to special-interest groups, especially those who’ve never contributed to the issues they’re trying to control.

George S. Roof

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