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October 29, 2009

At Burlington Free Press, an Apology and an Op-ed


The Burlington Free Press today ran a letter of apology in its print edition after publishing a reader's letter yesterday that said, "I suggest that before the next annual [moose] killing season, other residents be awarded legal permits to kill hunters . . . ." 

The wording of the print edition apology was similar to that which appeared yesterday online. Here's the print version:

Moose-hunting letter inappropriate

Editor's note: The letters to the editor in Wednesday's editions and on the Free Press Web site included a letter about the annual moose hunt. The letter clearly violates the standards of the Free Press for submissions to the Opinion page by advocating for violence against hunters. The letter in no way reflects the views of this paper. We apologize for publishing the letter.

We were pleased to see that Wayne LaRoche, commissioner of the Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department, provided an op-ed column explaining the value and culture of hunting, as we urged yesterday. Here is what Mr. LaRoche had to say about hunting and the state's moose population:

"Vermont has an abundant moose population. In fact, the moose population in the northeastern part of the state has increased to a level that has damaged their forest habitat and caused losses to forest landowners. The Department of Fish and Wildlife and its biologists carefully manage the moose and other wildlife populations using highly regulated hunting to sustain the healthy and abundant populations so that they do not destroy their own habitat or cause serious losses to landowners. Through time, hunting benefits the moose, the forest landowners, hunters and those of us who enjoy viewing moose."

The mistake of printing the letter having been made, we appreciate the quick response from the newspaper to correct it and applaud Mr. LaRoche for taking advantage of the opportunity to help educate readers about the role hunting plays in wildlife conservation.