How did it happen? Is someone there asleep? Stephen Bodio was able to express his genuinely poetic thoughts, his calm reasoning about hunting ("What the Falconer Knows," Aug. 8).

Bodio actually said that cows aren't evil, and he mentioned with affection an old Browning rifle, and he actually eats those cute grouse he kills, yet he hasn't turned into a racist redneck thug who rapes the environment, nor is he portrayed as one. Doesn't that violate some longstanding rule you have?


Mesa, Ariz.

Considering his relationship with wildlife, I must seriously question Bodio's misguided image of himself as a naturalist.

I had hoped to read a story worthy of its noble subject, but doubts were raised early on when I read that "a hawk in the living room seemed more normal and unremarkable than a television set." He then takes a turn for the schizophrenic when he describes the prairie chicken as "the noblest of all. . . the most beautiful and the most delicious."

Give me a break. With friends like Bodio, wildlife doesn't need enemies. Unlike a true naturalist, who is content to observe and admire, Bodio seems to believe that animals exist for his enjoyment and recreation. Bodio is just another of the many who now refer to themselves as conservationists and naturalists, skewing these words to include self-serving manipulators of wildlife.

Hinting at some great primal, cosmic synchronicity is a worn-out myth and a cheap attempt to paint hunting and trapping with a veneer of righteousness and purpose. Hunters and trappers do so because they enjoy it.


North Hollywood

Bodio tries to convince us that falconry is a noble form of "play." He authoritatively states those who "play" (interchangeable here with "hunt") have a "civilized desire to personally touch the roots of the flow of energy." How Zen.

After educating us that falconers actually brought back the nearly extinct peregrine falcon, he modestly confesses to making the ultimate sacrifice not to hunt prairie chickens this year. Ah, yes, I can see Bodio now, profiled against the flat horizon at dusk, with "no hawks, no guns and no dogs." A regular cross between Mother Teresa and Johnny Appleseed.


Woodland Hills

When I was a teen-ager, I had a friend in my neighborhood who was fortunate enough to have a red-tailed hawk that visited a perch in his back yard. Watching Pandora swoop down out of the sky and onto a perch to indulge in some fresh food amid the tract homes of the San Fernando Valley was a great experience.

Every time I see the image of any one of the birds of prey, especially a red-tailed hawk, I am somehow deeply moved. The photograph by James Balog that accompanied the story was so striking and beautiful that it brought tears to my eyes.



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