In the Sept. 22 Free for All, you printed three pro-hunting letters under the heading "Hunters Unload" in response to your own Sept. 13 editorial "Killing Deer and Stifling Speech."

Why do hunters consistently miss the mark, so to speak? All three letters admitted that hunting is cruel, and two pursued the theme that humans eating meat is inherently brutal but necessary and natural. Gordon Rodetsky excoriated your editorial for its difficulty in "coping with the horrible reality that humans are on top of the food chain and that the laws of nature are harsh. ... " Lee M. Hand excused hunting by saying that all carnivores, including humans, must kill for their meals.

The following is an important message to Rodetsky, Hand and others: decades of research shows that people do better on a plant-based diet. Further, meat-eating puts enormous stress on the environment through gross waste of fossil fuels, forests, water, top-soil and plant-food crops (fed inefficiently to animals).

Rodetsky and Hand also need to know that most of those who confront them about the unnecessary cruelty of hunting are consistent in their own behaviors -- they are vegetarians.

As a reformed hunter, I congratulate Bert Napolitano, who said he doesn't know any hunter who enjoyed the kill. He associates with a better class of hunters than I did. My killing partners always celebrated the panic and deaths of their prey and showed no remorse at wounding animals and leaving them to die painfully and slowly.

Resisting the urge to argue against your letter writers' worn and feeble contentions that brutality is the best way to "manage" wildlife and that hunting is legal, I'll just leave you with these thoughts: birth control for Bambi, not bullets; and slavery was legal too. -- William L. Cloud