Dad’s opinions still controversial – and on target

DSCN7507My Dad, Ezra Smith, was well known for his letters to the editor,which he pounded out on his old manual typewriter. After he died, I found that he’d kept them all, organized in folders by decade. They are a real treasure trove, some funny, some serious, many still relevant today. Occasionally, I would like to share some of Dad’s thoughts with you. Let me know if you agree with him!

Cats

“There always seems to be an uproar from cat people when any attempt is made to do something about our out-of-control cats. It seems to be ok to require dogs to be licensed, have shots, etc. but cats – no, hands off, don’t mess with my kitty. It is no secret that cats destroy more wildlife than all other causes combined, including winter weather. It was easy for our lawmakers to make the coon cat our official state cat, but to say she should have a license and shots is a no no. All I can say is this: to all of you nice people who feed the birds – Watch them and enjoy them as much as you can, because that beautiful chickadee you are fattening up may soon be in Garfield’s Sunday brunch.

“I believe it is time that our laws concerning dogs be applied to cats as well. Our daughter picked up a stray kitten when she was very small and got contaminated with mange that took over a year for us to cure.”

DIF&W Funding

“For as long as I can remember our Department of Fisheries and Wildlife has been trying to support themselves with revenue from license fees, etc. Instead of spending their time protecting our wildlife, they have had to constantly think of ways to increase revenue. That has basically turned into a program of selling our fish and wildlife to survive. It is long overdue but the department should be treated as any government agency and be supported by the general fund.”

Coyotes

“Miss Boynton’s article was no doubt a sincere effort on her part but as she stated, ‘I don’t really know all the facts.’ She was right, I think in the statement ‘The coyote is the Richard Nixon of the wilderness.’ As Mr. Nixon did jeopardize the freedom of our country, so does the coyote endanger many species of our wildlife and domestic animals as well.

“It is obvious Miss Boynton has not seen the work of the coyote – a deer eaten alive and left to die, or a farmer’s sheep or calf torn to bits. I would suggest she get in touch with the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife and get documented evidence about her favorite animal… I do give Miss Boynton credit for writing and speaking out. With more facts and less fiction, she will do well. We all have our hangups and if hers is the coyote, OK. Some people even like rattle snakes.”

— ok, so now you know how I came by my own controversial thoughts – and determination to share them! – George

George Smith

About George Smith

George stepped down at the end of 2010 after 18 years as the executive director of the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine to write full time. He writes a weekly editorial page column in the Kennebec Journal and Waterville Morning Sentinel, a weekly travel column in those same newspapers (with his wife Linda), monthly columns in The Maine Sportsman magazine, two outdoor news blogs (one on his website, georgesmithmaine.com, and one on the website of the Bangor Daily News), and special columns for many publications and newsletters. Islandport Press published a book of George's favorite columns, "A Life Lived Outdoors" in 2014. In 2014, George also won a Maine Press Association award for writing the state's bet sports blog. In 2016, Down East Books published George's book, Maine Sporting Camps, and Islandport Press published George and his wife Linda's travel book, Take It From ME, about their favorite Maine inns and restaurants.