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To the editor:

I am writing concerning a recently published article, "Vandals plague Rush Valley rancher," that appeared Jan. 25 in the Deseret News. The article asserts that Clift Jordan, a rancher, has lost two pregnant cattle and may have had more than 400 more shot.The article goes on to say that the vandals are most likely rabbit hunters and quotes Mr. Jordan as saying "those no-good hunters, they don't have any respect for anybody's property."

I find the article disturbing for two reasons. First, I find it hard to believe that an article appearing on the front page above the fold could be so poorly researched and of such an inflammatory nature. Let's get some facts. How many more cattle are really at stake - 20, 50 or as many as Mr. Jordan would like to guess in order to make an interesting article?

Did Mr. Bauman post a sign to test Mr. Jordan's assertion that a sign couldn't last a weekend in the West Desert without a rabid rabbit hunter blowing it to pieces? Did you watch and videotape who it was? Has any real effort at all been made to identify those doing the damage?

The second reason I am upset with the article is that I have been going to the desert for more than 20 years. I have never shot anyone's livestock and I have never vandalized property. I have marveled at how soft the desert floor is to walk on, even near cliffs and on steep hillsides, and I have been amazed at how elusive jack rabbits can be as they bound, cut and dive ahead of my rifle shots. I have enjoyed the wonder of eagles as they swoop and land and have stood in amazement as snow-covered peaks tower above a desert floor below.

The type of article you have published threatens my continued ability to enjoy this because the underlying assumption is that all hunters are vandals. Who is next? Perhaps anyone who is not a rancher?

Please, in the future, try to address the facts, and if you must editorialize in your news article, be prepared to present a solution so that those of us who wish to preserve our rights can lend support to your cause. If you just don't like hunters, make your case on the editorial page.

James B. North

Salt Lake City