LAST CALL: Gopher supporters are truly in a hole

Looking for an outdoorsy PR challenge? Try trekking north toSaskatoon, Saskatchewan. Gophers have gotten a bad name in that part ofCanada. Seems they tend to eat farmers' crops - as much as 15 to 18acres a night, in fact.

Looking for an outdoorsy PR challenge? Try trekking north to Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. Gophers have gotten a bad name in that part of Canada. Seems they tend to eat farmers' crops - as much as 15 to 18 acres a night, in fact.

To try to rid its area of the pests, the Saskatoon Wildlife Federation is sponsoring a gopher kill. The Ken Turcott Memorial Gopher Derby will award cash to hunters who off the most gophers by June 23.

The federation has come in for some heat for sponsoring the event, but Len Jabush, business manager, said there's no choice. In addition to crop damage, there are so many gopher holes in city parks that it's difficult to walk around without getting hurt.

Some animal-rights advocates have launched a letter-writing campaign to stop the derby, but the federation has no plans to call it off. "I don't have a problem with people who have a concern about it,

Jabush said. "The majority of people here are really behind it, so the people who are against it are backing off.

Maybe that's because the people for it are walking around with rifles ready to gun down the gophers.

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