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Elephant murderer.

I do really enjoy your magazine to the fullest. I am a gun enthusiast, owning a Ruger .22/45 semiauto. I also do some competition shooting and am a member of the NRA. I purchased the May/June 2009 issue of American Handgunner yesterday and had curled up on my sofa about to absorb its contents when I read J.D. Jones' column {Handgun Hunting).

The article states that at the age of 77 years old, Mr. Jerry Biegle dropped a majestic elephant with a brain shot at 20 yards. So am I supposed to be admired and excited for Mr. Biegle? If so, I have failed to do so. Correct me if I am wrong, are not elephants an endangered species? Is it not illegal to transport or sell the ivory tusks from these beautiful creatures? If the answers to both of my questions are yes, then shame on this 77-year old man who slaughters animals and is proud of himself for doing so. Maybe he should concentrate on the deer population which is starving to death due to human infringement on their natural habitat.

Marge Naccari

Annapolis, Maryland

Actually Marge, elephants are not endangered. As a matter of fact, the licensed hunting of "cull" elephants generates millions of dollars used to hire, train and equip wardens and game field management teams to keep herds healthy. It costs upwards of $25K (and more) to hunt an elephant and even then, they are only the trouble-makers or specific "cull" animals needing to be taken out for a wide variety of reasons. There are tens of thousands of elephants in Africa and not endangered in the least.

I've been to Africa twice now hunting plains game. There were so many elephants we had to throw rocks at some to drive them off, others kept us in our trucks due to false charges and such. Licensed hunting of all African game helps to keep the herds healthy. Poaching by Africans is the single biggest threat to wild animals, and poachers have almost wiped out game animals in some parts of Africa. It's only in the giant national parks where hunting is allowed and monitored that animals thrive.

I hope this helps to clear some things up. Yours is a commonly held belief, mostly thanks to organizations like PETA, who have no concept of reality in the field. And those deer? There are so many not because of our encroachment into their habitat, but because of laws outlawing lawful hunting and as they starve, they come to our homes and farms to try to find food. We do need to keep the deer cull going to control the herds to keep them healthy. Editor

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Title Annotation:SPEAK OUT
Author:Naccari, Marge
Publication:American Handgunner
Article Type:Letter to the editor
Geographic Code:60AFR
Date:Sep 1, 2009
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