Dear deer hunters in the Maine Woods; You have taken on a great responsibility by buying that permit and heading off, firearm in hand. I hope you'll use them wisely.

Now, before you tag me as a tree-hugger who’s going to lecture you on the beauty of Bambi, let me assure you that I’ve grown up around hunting. As a matter of fact, we called my grandfather ‘the great white hunter’ because he got a deer (at least one) each and every year. He even kept a small notebook that listed the size and weight of each deer he shot. I love venison and I’m married to a hunter. While I do love trees and think deer are beautiful, I’m not against deer hunting.

What I am opposed to is the idea of getting drunk at hunting camp and then heading into the woods with rifles and shotguns. Or hunting too close to residential neighborhoods.

So, this is what I’m asking; please, be responsible during your hunting trips. If you want a few beers, don’t start drinking until after you’ve gone home for the night. Stay away from areas where you have to be worried about shooting in the direction of someone’s house. And always, always make sure you know what you’re shooting at.

I live in the woods of Orrington, where people put on blaze orange caps to walk out to their mailboxes. The sound of gunfire is not unusual, whether it’s hunting season or just a good day for target practice. My dogs, both of whom are shades of tan, run around our yard and sometimes wander into the edges of the woods. There are children on all sides of us. I want them to be safe and their mothers to not have to worry about letting them go outside to play.

And yes, I will be a tree hugger for a second and ask that you leave the forest the way you left it. Maine is a beautifully green state with so much to offer, including the sport of hunting. Let’s not litter our woods with candy bar wrappers and beer cans. After all, Mother Nature is not YOUR mother.

Good luck with your hunt!

A Concerned Woods Dweller