Apologies from Roy Sparks - Sparks Hounds

Discussion in 'News & Announcements' started by Roy Sparks, Feb 17, 2010.

  1. Roy Sparks

    Roy Sparks Guest

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    Dear friends,

    I have done a bit of soul searching over the last day or so and feel that I owe apologies to anyone I may have offended with regard to the content of my posts on the respective forums here at AfricaHunting.com

    In the heat of the moment after discovering Jerome's superb facility I used it to vent my anger and frustration concerning my predicament with the leopard hunting in Namibia.I have not conducted myself as a gentleman in this respect and herewith offer apologies to AfricaHunting.com for having to field my harsh rebukes, and I apologise in turn to those who have been at the receiving end of my anger.

    I trust that there are enough good folk out there in Namibia who will consider the welfare of the leopard so that we may still be able to have plenty around to hunt in future generations.

    Futhermore I believe that time may well prove that the hounds were valuable to us as hunters and that they and their masters will be given fair consideration as an asset to hunting the problem leopard on ranches.

    My hope is that we can once more be of assistance to the hunting industry.Namibia is a great country and one I could comfortably reside in.Generally the hunting is unequaled in Southern Africa especially on the unfenced private ranches.It is out of this world.So till things change my partner and I will have to abide by the rules and conduct baited hunts for leopard and enjoy the fantastic plainsgame hunting that is in abundance throughout the country.Yours sincerely, Roy Sparks - Sparks Hounds.
     
  2. safari hunter

    safari hunter AH Veteran

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    Roy, I have personally enjoyed your posts. Some jabs were thrown but could tell that you are passionate about hunting leopards with your dogs and have been seriously affected by these new regulations.
     
  3. Calhoun

    Calhoun AH Enthusiast

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    ...Roy I view the issue of hunting Leopard with dogs Vs. Bait no different than hunting Bear. We as hunters have to band together & support each other in a dwindling population of hunters. As long as everyone follows the rules that are established Hunters should not be so quick to condemn each other.
    ..I have never hunted either, but it seems exciting either way & I believe if I went on both hunts doing it both ways I could be satisfied with a great hunt. I do have an opinion but as I said I never did it & I will just keep my mouth shut & support HUNTING!!
     
  4. Erik

    Erik New Member

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    Roy,

    I feel for you and your hounds. I am a young hunter and have two Beagle pups that I am raising to help me hunt Snowshoe hare. I can appreciate your frustration at being dumped on by regulations and shoveled out to the fringes of the hunting community. Good luck and happy hunting.

    Erik
     
  5. Joof Lamprecht

    Joof Lamprecht New Member

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    OPEN LETTER TO ROY SPARKS

    OPEN LETTER TO ROY SPARKS
    I am writing in my personal capacity as a proud, ethical and serious Namibian Professional Hunter and Trophy Hunting Operator. For the past 30 years I have dedicated my life’s work to selective fair-chase trophy hunting as the ultimate conservation tool, as well as lucrative form of land utilisation in Namibia. I am outraged at your slanderous remarks, wild accusations and generalizations on this forum regarding canned predator hunting, which challenge the integrity of our sport and the trophy hunting industry.
    Unlike you, Mr. Sparks, I am not a man of idle threats who flip flops between opinions. How can you write with such apparent ‘knowledge’ about the condition of leopard hunting in Namibia on one day, and then apologize profusely on the next, and possibly be expected to be taken seriously..?
    How dare you, as a guest in my country, pretend to be such an ‘expert’ on trophy hunting in Namibia, as well as indiscriminately attack our trophy hunting operators across the board?
    Certainly, in any industry anywhere in the world one will find ruthless individuals willing to break the law for a quick buck. I firmly believe that these people are rare and far between in Namibia, and know that The Namibian Ministry of Environment and Tourism, working in close partnership with NAPHA and the Namibian police, is actively pursuing the culprits in order to prevent them from operating in our country.
    Your remarks have caused irreparable damage as the seed that ‘canned hunting’ is out of control in Namibia has been firmly planted in the minds of the readers of this esteemed forum. The reality on the ground is that nothing could be further from the truth.
    A quota is a limit, and certainly not a goal. Exceeding the CITES quota for Leopard in Namibia, as out of control hound hunting was threatening to do, as well as unethical practices by some hounds men (mostly foreigners) are what led to the moratorium on Leopard hunting in the first place.
    I am a proud member of NAPHA - the Namibian Professional Hunting Association – which is one of the most active and respected organisations of its kind in the world. NAPHA works closely with our Namibian Ministry of Environment and Tourism and is very well respected in local as well as international trophy hunting, government and business circles.
    I trust that any leopard or plains game hunting that you claim you will be doing in Namibia will indeed be in your personal capacity as a paying hunting client, as you are a foreigner in my country who is not registered here as a Professional hunter, Hunting Guide or Trophy Hunting Operator.
    I will not enter into any correspondence with you on this matter – but be assured that I am watching you. Should you utter any further untrue, unfounded and slanderous comments about our industry, I will not hesitate to challenge you in the courts of my beautiful motherland, Namibia.
     
    Last edited: Feb 24, 2010
  6. Roy Sparks

    Roy Sparks Guest

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    Mr. Joof Lamprecht,

    In response to your remarks concerning me slandering and making generalizations about canned predator hunting in Namibia I would like to comment the following.

    When addressed on issues concerning leopard hunting with hounds we houndsmen have been branded collectively hence this in itself could be regarded as generalization. Therefore I feel compelled and duty bound to speak out in defense of houndsmen. Our integrity has been challenged
    .
    A high ranking MET official has disclosed to myself and colleagues that 85% of leopard trophies hunted in Namibia are the result of hound hunts.

    In light of the fact that these permits for leopard hunting can only be issued to Namibian registered PH’s and outfitters one can only assume according to your statements that most of them are guilty of transgressions concerning leopard hunting. Therefore one can fairly generalize in this respect.

    I feel it would be prudent to take me seriously concerning leopard hunting conditions in Namibia. Just look at the current state of leopard hunting in your country and events that have led to this.

    I have been an invited guest to your country for many years acting under the auspices of registered Namibian PH’s and outfitters who have arranged valid work permits for me.

    As a service provider I believe that as an individual business we have successfully hunted more leopard in your country in recent years than your local hunters.

    Having already accounted for a certified # 1 leopard and a possible that could exceed that one and many other high scoring leopard trophies I would consider myself knowlegable enough to be considered an expert. Though this is not a claim I have bestowed upon myself. I enjoy being referred to as a houndsman.

    I have hunted most Southern African countries in pursuit of trophies with my father since childhood. My father was awarded the prestigious Musgrave trophy in recognition for his achievements as a trophy hunter and his contribution to conservation in South Africa. Under his guidance I have accumulated a very good knowledge of trophy hunting and quality. I feel I am entitled to venture an opinion on trophy hunting in Namibia. My hunting experience is not limited to only leopard hunting

    It would appear that foreigners are being specifically targeted for the resultant catastrophe concerning leopard hunting in Namibia.

    Do not search abroad in an attempt to defend your integrity, your problems concerning leopard hunting lie within the borders of Namibia.

    I do not know of any South African houndsmen that cross the borders into Namibia transporting their hounds and also including crates of captured leopard as part of their cargo. That would be quite an undertaking. One could compare this to a mobile circus with the exception of a band.

    To label foreign houndsmen for the resultant moratorium on leopard is absurd. These houndsmen are contracted by Namibian outfitters to supply hound teams to hunt leopard. Your outfitters draw the permits from MET who is the official controlling body for issuing permits.

    Any unethical behaviour that results involves Namibian PH’s and outfitters as well.

    Napha is meant to act in the interests of her members. You claim that Napha works closely with MET.I believe that Napha should therefore be aware of the current status of respective quotas especially cites listed animals.

    How did they allow the excessive issuing of permits by MET to take place? Surely they should be expected to intervene. This is an injustice to the hunting industry in your country by the very body they trust to protect their interests.

    An annual quota is exactly that. This did not happen overnight. It was a progressive process over several seasons that eventually spiraled out of control. In my opinion this is unacceptable malpractise.

    Who is going to be held accountable for this happening?

    Napha has repeatedly announced irregularities and unacceptable hunting practices taking place concerning predators. It is quite in the open. Why you try to cover this up and deny it defies human logic. In your open letter to which I now respond you are openly revealing the reality yourself. In fact you contradict yourself.

    I find it amusing and extremely ironic that us few houndsmen from the Eastern Cape have no leopard to hunt here legally in our home territory. Yet we have been encouraged for many seasons by your outfitters to assist them to obtain success in their own back yards. This many thousands of km’s from home.

    We have resulted in your cites quota to be increased to 250 leopard per year and have largely made it possible for a greater portion of that quota to be utilized.

    Not so many years back you telephonically contacted me offering me work, a place to live, kenneling for my hounds and work permits to assist you with your leopard hunting ventures. In fact my hounds have been of service to you in the past. Subsequently you have used other South African hound operators. In respect of this I find your rebukes concerning foreign houndsmen very strange.

    Late last season your son employed my hound teams for an important hunt for clients of his seeking leopard trophies. It turned out to be a very delightful hunt and successful, his clients each taking a trophy male leopard. We had a lot of time to reflect on leopard hunting issues in Namibia around the campfire. Your son shared a lot of my concerns in this regard. He seemed acutely more aware of the trends and happenings than you seem to be aware of. You are the senior in the family and one could fairly assume that you should be more or at least equally aware of what is happening concerning leopard hunting in Namibia.

    You claim that unethical behaviour by houndsmen is what led to the moratorium.I beg to differ. Namibian authorities lost control of the permitting system and the fact that the quota was dramatically exceeded is what led to the moratorium. In this regard MET and Napha are responsible and worthy of blame.

    No one helped themselves over the counter to access permits to hunt leopard. The permits were issued !!

    Your Namibian PH’s and outfitters who were almost entirely involved in any unethical hunting of predators are equally to blame. They not only did they access the captured leopard but they enticed the respective houndsmen into resorting to these practices. This in order to ensure that these hunts were successful and that no undue time would be wasted in conducting a hunt in a fair and acceptable manner.

    Any unwarranted time spent conducting a fair hunt would mean less time for a client to spend money on other huntable species.

    If captured leopard were not being made available for canned hunting by Namibians, houndsmen that were incapable of producing results on fair hunts would have eliminated themselves. In so doing only a minority of true specialists would have remained providing this kind of service.

    Namibians making captured leopard available to these amateurs have encouraged and made it possible for them to stay in business.

    I was asked who was the driving force that led to hunting leopard with hounds to be banned in Namibia. My answer to that is that from my perspective having participated in several Napha meetings is that none other than Napha itself was responsible for this. It was a Napha mission to eliminate opposition.

    In respect of my involvement as a hunter in Namibia I have never sold myself as a PH in Namibia however I am a partner in a Namibian registered hunting company and intend to exercise my rights in this capacity to the full.

    With regard to my apologies, I felt that it was the proper thing to do. I may have offended a few innocent stakeholders in the business.

    As far as retracting my remarks made in previous forums, I regret I can’t reverse the truth. My backing that can collaborate my statements is overwhelming.

    Mr. Lamprecht, happy hunting, hope your bait hunts don’t prove to be to boring.

    Hang em high,

    Roy Sparks – Sparks Hounds.
     
  7. enysse

    enysse AH Ambassador

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    Hi Roy, Keep up the good work, keep zinging the comments in there! I don't know about the rest of the people out there, but I'm in your corner. The problems with the leopard permits...were never your fault. You were hired for a job! The fact that the Namibian PH wanted to charge a arm and a leg and shoot some leopards and fill there wallet full of money, was not your fault. Where was the government regulator ???...when I was in Namibia in 2008....I saw the problems miles and miles away. You must have been blind, deaf and stupid...if you didn't see problems in the horizon!!!

    My point is the dog hunters weren't the problem...the fact that people were shooting leopards left and right and possibly without permits was the real problem. To blame the hound hunters....is just hypocritcal.
     
  8. Roy Sparks

    Roy Sparks Guest

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    Hi Erik, Thanks for the support buddy.The first hound I ever owned my dad brought me as a present when I was 9 years old. It was a Beagle pup and thats where it all began.I hunted everything from rats, cats, hares etc. That Beagle kindled the fire for me and I can't begin to tell you how much enjoyment I derived from that hound.

    In fact when I start writing my stories the opening story is going to be about my early years with that beagle ( Sheba ).Do you have any Bobcat or Lynx where you live, or Mtn. Lion, let me know if you do and if you have any wish to get started on hunting cats I could possibly get you started up with a good strike dog.

    Best wishes,

    Roy Sparks - Sparks Hounds.
     
  9. Roy Sparks

    Roy Sparks Guest

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    Hi Calhoun, thanks for the interest you are showing in this debate.It has been difficult for me as I fully understand how important it is for us hunters - pro's and sport hunters to stand together.In fact I have made a point of mentioning this a few times before in forums and an article on leopard hunting perspectives.

    What makes it difficult not to respond, is having myself and my fellow houndsmen trashed openly by fellow pro-hunters.I feel it my responsibility to shed light on the underlying facts in these matters to reveal to the hunting public who is actually responsible for the catastrophe pertaining to leopard hunting in Namibia.

    It has been all to easy and convenient to direct the focus for this disaster on the guys that employ hounds.That's unfair and I will not stand by and get trashed in this manner.

    Most these outfitters and pro-hunters that have condemned hound hunts are actually in my opinion consumed by " ENVY ". They see some quality someone else has which they desire and when they realise they cannot obtain or achieve it they set out to destroy it.

    Top quality hounds that are well trained are hard to come by and are expensive.I believe that experienced hound handlers that know what they are doing are even scarcer to come by.

    That is simply the bottom line to cap this topic.Those opposed to hunting with hounds just used a lame excuse to get us out of the way because we took business away from them.

    What a " SHAME " that it was fellow hunters that did this !!

    Take care and happy hunting,

    Roy Sparks - Sparks Hounds.
     
  10. enysse

    enysse AH Ambassador

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    Hi Roy,

    I was bobcat hunting in Dec. 2005, here in Wisconsin, behind dogs. It was on public land, it was below zero, and there was some fresh snow on the ground...things didn't work out. The bobcat would run, walk back on it own foot prints, circle and run across other bobcat track....it was a real education to say the least. We ran across a lot of wolf, fox, and coyote tracks. The guy I was with shot a 42 lb bobcat....he got really lucky. We ran the bobcat to gravel quary....I was a few miles back and the ground opened up there and he was able to set up ahead of the dogs.

    You're right Roy...someday I would like to go out west or to canada for old bobcat, lynx, or mountain lion. It's a unique hunt!
     
  11. Roy Sparks

    Roy Sparks Guest

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    Enysse - Info on good guides for Mtn. Lion - Bobcat

    Hi Enysse,

    I had some real good houndsmen from Utah and Nevada hunt in Namibia with me many years back.These guys are the real deal,they have taken over the trade from their dad Val Robb.Billy and Chriss are good hunters and have really good hounds. If you want a good hunt with experienced pro's let me know and I'll get you in contact with them.

    Hope I can be of help in this respect.

    Kind regards,

    Roy Sparks - Sparks Hounds.
     
  12. AlSpaeth

    AlSpaeth AH Senior Member

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    Open letter to all,
    I have known Roy and his family for over twenty years. His father, Chappy, dedicated most of his life to hunting and conservation. His trophy collection would be the envy of any hunter I have ever met. Ethical hunting was always a passion and although he helped to create the foundations for game ranching and he always expressed his concern that greed would become the greatest threat to our sport. Roy was blessed with a dad that most hunters will only read about.
    I started one of the first game ranches in the Eastern Cape in 1985. A few years later, I was lucky enough to get Roy to manage it for me. Although young, he was well known for his hunting skills, ethics, and was even recommended by our Dept. of Nature Conservation which regulated Game Ranching, Outfitting, and Professional Hunting in South Africa.
    His performance was excellent. He managed the operation including tyhe capture and relocation of wild game, produced excellent trophies for our hunting clients from the USA and Europe and played a key role in our success in what was the a new industry
    When he wasn't safari hunting, he was working with hounds controlling our predators. Lynx and Jackal were, and still are, a major threat to our game and domestic livestock.
    His fathers passion for ethical hunting was both inherited and instilled and his passion and success hunting with hounds was aquired over many years.
    Let's hope his father was wrong and that greed and jealousy don't further damage the sport of hunting.
    Al Spaeth
    Outfitter & PH (retired)
     
  13. Skyline

    Skyline AH Fanatic

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    Hi Al..........welcome to AH.

    Unfortunately, and this is just my opinion, the hunting industry has a lot to do to clean up its act and get back to where it should be. Greed and the stroking of egos has already done an incredible amount of damage and it is going to take a lot of strong people of a like mind to repair things and keep hunting from sliding further into the abyss. There is far too much outfitter bashing and the pointing of fingers at PH's who are perceived to operate in an unethical fashion. For the hunting industry as a whole to heal itself, hunters need to have a hard look at themselves and their core values. Canned hunts, inches for sale and false information supplied to facilitate export of illegally taken trophies would not be happening if there were not a market for it and/or unethical hunters pushing for it. As I have already said, the stroking of egos is a big problem these days, as is instant gratification.

    It has become increasingly fashionable for hunters to justify questionable practices by using lines like "if it is legal then it is okay, "we need to all stick together regardless of how anyone chooses to hunt" on the premise that infighting is self destructive and plays into the hands of the antis. But just how far down the road of marginal hunting practices do we allow things to go? At what point do we look at something and say, "Hey, that isn't hunting, it's just killing." Where do we draw the line and say, "No that is not okay even if it is legal to do."

    The intense commercialization of hunting that has taken place in the last 10-15 years has played a big part in the mindset of so many as to what hunting is all about. Is it about planning hunts based around what animals you need to qualify for a particular slam or award? Is it just about having more heads on the wall than any other guy in your SCI chapter? Is it about a quality experience in the woods or killing 10 animals in 7 days? I just finished my 34th spring season guiding hunters. I can honestly say that there are increasingly less of them that I enjoy being in the field with and very few that I would want to share a fire with a second time.
     
  14. M. Egan

    M. Egan AH Senior Member

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    Hear, Hear Kelly.
    While not all hunters have the same standard of ethics, whether it is because of culture,upbringing or just youthful zeal, there has to be a line somewhere that should not be crossed.
    I find as I get older, I am more tolerant of other's short-comings except when it applies to hunting. There are many people in my life that I no longer hunt with.
    A friend had seen a show on game farms in RSA and asked me about my experiences there. His asking made me realise that non-hunters and anti-hunters will natualy judge all hunters by the behavior of those in the lime-light, on TV, or reports in news papers. Good behavior is not news-worthy
    Legal/biologicaly sound are reasons we are ALLOWED to do something. Ethics are why we CHOOSE to do something. Is it good for the resource? What will my friends think? More importantly, HOW DO MY ACTIONS MAKE ME FEEL? IS THIS THE WAY I WANT MY DAUGHTERS TO HUNT? ARE MY ACTIONS HONORABLE.
    We can change hunting into an honorable pursuit by hunting in an honorable manner at ALL times. Sites like this one allow us to not only preach to the choir, but to search our own minds and maybe refine our own behavior. Showing others the joy we feel in our pursuits makes others want to emulate us.
    I guess I am rambling again. I feel strongly about this subject and find my comments get to be a little "all over the map".
    I know that these are only my opinions and not nessasarily fact, but I have been lucky enough to hunt with a couple of people who share my feelings, so I know I'm not alone.
    Cheers, Mike Egan
     
  15. AlSpaeth

    AlSpaeth AH Senior Member

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    Hi Guys,
    I agree with both Skyline and Mike. I was a member of PHASA, IPHA, SCI, Rowland Ward, Gamecoin, and am still a life member of ECGMA. I was also lucky enough to hunt Buff, Lion, and Leopard in Botswana when you had to book a 21 day minimum safari to get a license for the cats. Then, even baiting was not allowed. Our industry has always been under threat from the "greenies". How we are percieved by others is crucial to the survival of our sport and our industry.
    I was anti-SCI in it's early days due to it's "Heads on Walls" motivation which, I believe was also the motivation for "canned" and what I called "supermarket" hunting in South Africa where our clients expected to take home 10-15 species on a 7 or 10 day safari. This. unfortunately led to the downfall in ethics. To get the numbers expected, virtually any "legal" means was used. In all my years of hunting, a trophy kudu hunted on foot is still the most challenging. I may be getting old, but I still refuse to believe that a client can look at a trophy Kudu bull on his wall with the pride and respect Hemmingway's "grey ghost of Africa" deserves - knowing that his PH took him out at night and shot it with a spotlight. We are selling memories - not just dead animals. The same applies to "canned" hunting. SCI has removed canned lions from the record book(virtually all that were shot in South Africa) but it took almost 20 years.
    I also critised PHASA for the introduction of PH schools so that virtually anyone could become a PH in South Africa with little or no hunting experience.
    If we want to be perceived as sportsmen and conservationists, which the vast majority of hunters are, we need to clean up our act and remember that our clients from North America and Europe come from an ethical hunting background. This means we don't hunt with spotlights ("jack lighting" is illegal in the USA), we dont shoot from the back of 4X4's but walk and stalk our game and, worst of all, we don't offer hand reared and fed Lions as an "African Safari".
    If "there is a market for it" then we are attracting the wrong market, or we have created our own nightmare. One bad apple spoils the barrel - and give the "greenies" the justification they need to condem us. There is a huge market for drugs but do we want to be part of it?
    On the positive side, organisations like PHASA and SCI have made major contributions to both conservation and hunting. Thanks to them we now have more wildlife on private land than in our Parks. Without hunters this land would still be full of sheep, cattle and goats as it was 20 years ago.
    South Africa needs to legislation to protect hunters and our industry. Canned Lions are technically no longer legal but it is still happening due to loopholes in the law. "Jack lighting" is punishable by law in the USA as is hunting "zoo" animals. Even if the market demands it, we need to stop it to prevent the anti-hunters from putting an end to our sport for justifiable reasons. Night shooting is only legal here on registered game ranches. South African sport hunters are not allowed to shoot at night with a light except those who apply for a special license for predator control and culling. It is necessary for wildlife management simply because only a small percentage of the herds are trophy book males. Once the numbers exceed carrying capacity of the land, surplus animals are either captured, sold, and transported live to other ranches, or culled at night with spotlights for the venison market. Culling is not hunting. Greed and a loopholes in the law should not justify our PH's and Outfitters taking clients out at night to get their "trophies".
    We have a lot to be proud of over the past two decades and our conservation efforts combined with hunting are now recognised as a new industry and significant contribution to the the economy. PHASA has a code of ethics but they are not well enforced. SCI needs to publicly condemn these practices as well and to encourage our government to introduce legislation to prevent them.
    I may be old fashioned, but we need to combine our new found success with a few enforceable rules to ensure our future.
    All sports have rules and regulations which define them as "sports". We can break the rules to make them easier or to satisfy our egos. We can get a "hole in one" simply by picking up the ball, walking to the green and dropping it in the hole - but we don't because it wouldn't be a sport. We can hang a world record marlin, salmon, or tuna on our wall simply by fishing on a commercial longliner or purse seiner - but we don't. Ethics and rules are the difference between hunting and killing.
    Why have we allowed hunting to to be the exception?
    Or - should I accept that times have changed and just sell my golf clubs and shoot an 18 every time I walk the course?
     
  16. dtarin09

    dtarin09 AH Veteran

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    Roy,

    I appreciate your comments and feedback. Everyone is entitled to their views and I have enjoyed reading your posts as well as those from other members. I may not always agree with a point of view, but appreciate hearing and learning other people's perspectives. People should feel free to discuss their opinions and give their point of view in passionate and respectful way.

    Encouraging Open Dialogue,

    dt
     
  17. Dutch

    Dutch New Member

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    Joof, what did you hunt in Holland?
     

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