Following Jonathan Way’s lead, I request that the town of Barnstable be declared a wildlife watching area dedicated to non-consumptive wildlife uses (but with fishing/shell fishing still allowed). Massachusetts currently does not have one single public area dedicated to wildlife watching despite wildlife watchers outnumbering hunters 30 to 1 and outspending them $755 to $71 million (2006 figures) in this state alone.
After all, an animal can be killed only once, while it can (potentially) be watched unlimited times!
All of the existing sanctuaries are small in size and are privately owned (e.g., Mass Audubon's land holdings). Even the state's largest national park, Cape Cod National Seashore, allows hunting despite most national parks nationwide not allowing hunting.
There ought to be a place where researchers and wildlife fanatics (some hunters included) can study wildlife (deer, coyote, fox) without having their study subjects get shot. In addition, there should also be a place in Massachusetts (similar to the many national parks out west) where animals are not under constant management (i.e., killing) pressures from humans.
Supporting this wildlife watching area does not necessarily make me an anti-hunter; rather, it makes me a pro-wildlife watcher. After all, an animal can be killed only once, while it can (potentially) be watched unlimited times!
I would be much more likely to spend my money in the town of Barnstable if it was declared a wildlife watching area with a hands-off approach to wildlife management similar to the many national parks out west. As an active hiking leader with the Southeastern Massachusetts Chapter of the Appalachian Mountain Club, I would also be more likely to plan and conduct AMC events and hikes in Barnstable if it was to be able to take the lead in this important conservation arena.
Future generations will praise the designation of Barnstable as the first in the Commonwealth to take such a bold initiative against the status quo currently favoring a vocal minority in the hunting community.