LAST WEEK, an email from a reader caught my eye:
"Being a lifelong hunter and fisherman, I have witnessed the expansion of deer, turkey and bear populations in the state. I grew up with only squirrels, rabbits and an occasional grouse to hunt, so I know what our [Division of Natural Resources] has accomplished over the years.
"The fishing in the Kanawha River has gone from bullheads and carp only to the full gamut of game fish. So, it's needless to say, I'm a fan of the DNR. They are human and can occasionally make a mistake, but in the long run they have done a marvelous job.
"That being said, I ask you to put to rest the rumors of them 'stocking' coyotes and rattlesnakes to control deer and turkey populations. I find these accusations totally insane.
"I know the coyote is probably the most adaptable animal in the country, and over the years has been migrating eastward.
"As for 'controlling' the turkey population with rattlesnakes, what kind of wacko could even conceive this? What do turkeys do to the environment to merit control by a poisonous pit viper?
"Timber rattlers are native to our hills and do have a place in the grand scheme of things, but to use them as a 'management tool' for a great bird that poses no problem has to be one of the most insane things I have ever heard.
"Maybe I should just slough off this stuff when I hear it, but my fear is for the other ears that hear this. Young people are very vulnerable to such things when they are spoken by folks supposedly in the know.
"So, John, how about telling it like it is to stifle these crazy rumors?"
Frankly, I doubt if anyone can stifle them.
People who believe officials of a state natural resources agency would willfully attempt to kill off their two biggest cash cows would believe most anything.
Such people seem genetically predisposed to believe any accusation, no matter how far-fetched, that hints that the DNR is up to no good.