Red fox in Yosemite National Park
National Park Service / Chris Stermer
To prevent widespread misery and catastrophic biodiversity loss, humanity must practice a more environmentally sustainable alternative to business as usual.” ~ World Scientists’ Warning to Humanity, a Second Notice, in Bioscience
Every year, the DNR holds a statewide election of delegates to represent Wisconsin citizens in setting policy to govern our state parks, waterways and wildlife, and to determine whether climate change, factory farms, sand fracking, or wetland protections are addressed.
Affect policy by attending, running candidates of like mind, or running as a candidate yourself and open this election beyond the “business as usual” of the past 85 years of hunter/trapper domination.
This year’s election and vote will be held Monday night, April 8, at 6:30 p.m. in every county in Wisconsin.
Citizens can vote to protect children from being taught to kill wildlife as toddlers, and return the starting age to 10. State parks will be safer with 10-year-olds shooting rather than 3-year-olds.
Citizens can vote on whether to ban lead shot and lead sinkers, which are spread across our waterways and lands poisoning eagles, water birds, fish and wildlife.
Quoting from the DNR website:
For the first time ever, the Wisconsin Conservation Congress (WCC) and the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) will be offering an online option for individuals who wish to provide input on the DNR proposed rule changes and WCC advisory questions through an alternate method.
*Please note, the election of WCC delegates and input on citizen-introduced resolutions (proposals for new policies) will remain unchanged and will require in-person participation. The link for providing online input will be posted on the Spring Hearing webpage at https://dnr.wi.gov/About/WCC/springhearing.html.
The online input option will go live at 7:00 pm on April 8, the same time the Spring Hearings begin, and will remain open for three days (72 hours).
The hunting lobbies apparently are confident that they can network the questionnaire through their very-organized Wisconsin Wildlife Federation of 190 killing-group memberships.
The questionnaire link also explains the two- and three-year delegate positions that are elected IN PERSON at the election April 8. Hunting activists will know to show up because the power is in electing delegates who decide what goes on the questionnaire. I encourage humane citizens to run for election.
The focus of this forum has always been expanding hunter/trapper control of wildlife policy. There are no proposals addressing climate change, mining, factory farms, or the crisis of mass extinction.
The Conservation Congress was a hunting lobby initiated in 1934 by hunters and trappers to wield influence in the governing of our public lands, waterways, and wildlife. In 1972, Gov. Patrick Lucey signed legislation making this hunting lobby the sole policy advisory body to the Legislature, Natural Resources Board and Department of Natural Resources. The Conservation Congress, along with the Department of Natural Resources, then did not reveal to the non-hunting public — the majority of citizens — that this is a public election. They hide it by calling it a “spring hearing,” not an election, so non-hunting citizens do not know they can elect delegates. They hide it by announcing the candidates on the floor of the election that night instead of the usual transparent pre-election campaigning on issues. This strategy has resulted in the killing of wildlife being prioritized on our publicly purchased billions of dollars of public lands and waterways, and opened even state parks to hunting and trapping.
What is not called an election does not seem like a regular election. Instead of tying it to the municipal elections the week before, this election is held at night at high schools, and even a gun club in Dunn County. It is not regulated by Wisconsin election law, because it is “only advisory,” yet it is the ONLY citizen advisory body on wildlife policy.
“The State of Wisconsin had 3,420,099 active registered voters on February 1, 2019.” (Wisconsin Election Commission)’
Yet a pitiful 5,000 citizens attend this nature/wildlife election in the entire state every year — most of them hunters, trappers and bear hounders. Ninety percent of Wisconsin citizens hike, bike, wildlife watch, and visit our parks without killing anything. We have never been fairly represented.
It is a corrupt system unique to Wisconsin. On the DNR website, a 2009 celebration of this advisory body is ironically titled “Seventy-five years of Conservation Through Democracy.” Some democracy! Five thousand hunters representing a state in which 90 percent of the citizens are not hunters.
This history of the Conservation Congress elections explains, “Sportsmen and women gather to hear and debate proposed changes to natural resource law, and to gather opinions to consider for future policies or rules.” “Sportsmen” — not “all citizens.” Pay attention when an election and vote this important is deliberately hidden for 85 years from the majority of the public.
The fact is that people who want to protect our wildlife have not been welcomed or even informed that this secretive nighttime election and vote exist. The system has been rigged against the citizens of Wisconsin for 85 years. Hunters and trappers call it “the most important election in the state.”
The Second Scientist Warning to Humanity, 2017, concludes: “(W)e have not heeded their warning. Soon it will be too late to shift course away from our failing trajectory, and time is running out. We must recognize, in our day-to-day lives and in our governing institutions, that Earth with all its life is our only home.”
Care enough to show up at your election this one night a year.
Wisconsin citizens can study this DNR website to learn more. There is a link to the questionnaire, locations in every county, and directions for how to make a proposal for change or helping nature or wildlife. Look for “how to make a resolution” and resolution template. Follow the template exactly. Every citizen can submit two copies of two resolutions and keep copies for yourself.
There is a DNR flyer linked here that you can adapt to your county location and post at billboards around your county. Contact me at the email below for prettier ones.
Support the Center for Biological Diversity efforts to stop the Trump administration from de-listing the 5,000 to 6,000 wolves for the benefit of trophy hunters, in the lower 48:
www.biologicaldiversity.org/, and www.biologicaldiversity.org/species/mammals/Great_Lakes_gray_wolf/index.html and https://focusingonwildlife.com/news/poll-should-all-wolves-be-stripped-of-federal-protection/
This column was originally published in the Madison CapTimes on March 24, 2019.