So it turns out there are Kaibob deer on Santa Rosa Island. This is bad; they’re non-native, and they eat various endangered plants on the island. (S.R.I., off the shore near L.A., is part of a recent acquisition by the National Parks Service.)
The Parks Service wants to either cull the herd’s numbers or relocate (probably some of both) the deer, so that by 2011, they’re off the island. But some nincompoop (his name is Rep. Duncan Hunter) thinks the already-underfunded NPS’s job should be to run amusement parks first and national parks second. So he’s shoehorned an amendment onto a defense spending bill that says the deer stay on the island (never mind their damage to the ecosystem) so the Wounded Warriors can have themselves an annual hunt.
The National Parks Service shouldn’t burn resources running game preserves for hunters, any more than Homeland Security should burn resources investigating insurance fraud.
Nothing against the Wounded Warriors — they are, after all, veterans injured in combat and deserve our appreciation — but there have to be hundreds of places they can go to hunt, some of which have the exact same deer (see Arizona). Also, the Warriors should take a cue from Paralyzed Veterans of America, who passed on Santa Rosa because the terrain is too inhospitable for vets with mobility problems. Not that it matters, because we think they’re just window dressing for Rep. Hunter’s desire for a personal playground. Who bets he has a space on his wall for a Kaibob deer mount? We do.
Environmental groups and hunting groups have gotten along well in the past — Ducks Unlimited, for example, advocates all the time for habitat (specifically wetlands) protection. Gone are the days when hunting groups went after species with the reckless disregard that wiped the passenger pigeon from the skies and the bison from the earth. Our beef is not with hunters; it is with Mr. Hunter.
Duncan Hunter represents both short-sighted ignorance and self-interested corruption in his effort to keep the deer on the island. The ignorance is in his refusal to see beyond his own value of the island. All he sees is a good hunt; everything else is decoration. The corruption is in his strong-arming of the NPS and the legislative system (he shoehorned this onto a defense bill so it could pass without a vote) to serve his own value and his own interests.
The story is here.