I will be the first to admit that there are very few things that Milwaukee Journal Sentinel “outdoors” writer Paul Smith and I agree about. I stand against just about everything Smith advocates but I will admit that he is smart enough to see where legislative and DNR overreach is giving the “sport” he promotes a black eye. In this article Smith talks about how public sentiment is massively against the ridiculous Act 168 that would allow hunting and trapping in most state parks for most of the year. Smith even alludes to Wisconsin Wildlife Ethic due to Patricia’s presence at the Natural Resource Board hearing about Act 168 on December 11th:
It also did a very fine job of galvanizing public sentiment against hunting and trapping. At the West Allis listening session, it served as a forum for Patricia Randolph of Madison to recruit members to her anti-hunting and anti-trapping organization. Randolph distributed literature and collected names of those who spoke against Act 168.
I will be the first to admit that I don’t like any form of hunting and the whole “culture” around it. I especially despise sport hunters, predator hunters, hounders, and trappers. But what Mr. Smith fails to realize is that we are a pro-living wildlife group far more than we are “anti” anything. We love LIVING wildlife. I prefer to see wildlife alive rather than as the dead “trophies” that Mr. Smith so often writes about in fluffy terms. While I disagree with just about everything Smith stands for, I must admit that he can see the writing on the wall about the coming backlash against the DNR, legislature, and their puppet masters in the extremist hunting groups.
What really stood out in this article is a quote from one of the wolf kill bill proponents, Rep. Jeffery Marsau:
The board gave Rep. Jeffrey Mursau (R-Crivitz), co-author of the bill, a chance to speak first. Mursau said hunters and trappers had a right to pursue their activities on all public land in the state.
“Peace and quiet is not a constitutional right,” Mursau said, not exactly striking a conciliatory note with most in the crowd.
Wow. These are the people that we let represent us, Wisconsin. We have no “right” to peace and quiet according to this buffoon. Remember this clown is one of the ones who rubber-stamped the wolf kill bill that allowed for what is essentially legalized dog fighting. I remember watching the so called “public” hearing and committee vote before the Assembly Natural Resources Committee that this guy chairs. He and Joel
Clownfisch, I mean Kleefisch, made sure that any opposition or amendments were shot down immediately. He couldn’t wait to get the word “no” out of his mouth when it came to the amendments. Remember we have no “right” to peace and quiet and the minority of the population who hunts and traps have rights that far exceed ours according to this guy. Paul Smith should be concerned about how his “sport” is viewed because people like Mursau are not doing him any favors. According to Smith:
The board’s action adds roughly two months of hunting and trapping opportunity on 62,759 acres of public land. More than 7 million other acres of land already were open to the public for recreational activities in Wisconsin, including hunting and trapping.
So there was a net gain for hunters and trappers. But at what cost? Did it drive some non-hunters into the anti camp? Maintaining hunting and trapping into the future requires acceptance and support from a majority of Wisconsinites.
What Smith does not realize is that the sadists in the hunting community, hounders and trappers, are the main force that is driving more and more into the “anti” camp. Stop glamorizing these bloodthirsty, cold hearted sadists, show them for what they really are, and maybe there would be less opposition. But I will mostly agree with his last paragraph:
The controversy created by Act 168 showed the risk of driving such change through a limited number of special interest groups and the Legislature. It also shed light on the valuable, moderating role of the Natural Resources Board.
Considering that the NRB is usually a rubber-stamp for the DNR and extremist hunting groups, I am glad that they mostly listened to the citizens this time. Now if they would only do the same when it comes to wolves and standing up to the bear hounders. I won’t hold my breath.