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In Sports Commentary

A new law will allow hunting and trapping in Wisconsin's state parks. (PHOTO: shutterstock.com )

Hunting in Wisconsin's state parks a bad idea


The inmates continue to take control of the asylum.

The latest shot across the bow of the good ship of sanity is the incredible action guided and endorsed by the governor's silly Department of Natural Resources Secretary Cathy Stepp.

There's some background needed here.

Wisconsin has a wonderful system of state parks and trails that run throughout this glorious state. People fish and hike and ride bikes and camp and climb all over these 48 parks.

But Stepp and her department have fallen under the spell of "anything that seems good for business is good for Wisconsin" and have created something that would be hard to believe if I didn't know it's true.

Last year there was an amendment to something called the "Sportsman Heritage Bill" that takes effect on Jan. 1. The idea was to find ways to get more people to enjoy and use the state parks. So they came up with plan guided by some kind of twisted logic.

Somebody had the bright idea that we could get more people into our state parks and on our state trails if we just opened them up to hunting and trapping.

For decades the rule had always been that state parks and trails were closed to hunting and trapping unless the DNR expressly acted to open them for such activities. Now, under the new rules, hunting and trapping are allowed everywhere unless the DNR prohibits it.

Think about this.

A guy who doesn't really follow the news or anything decides to take his family to a state park to camp for a week and they take the family dog. One night he takes his dog out to let him do his nightly duty and the dog runs off the trail and bang, it steps into some trap and starts howling.

A few hundred yards away some idiot with a gun and a permit hears the howling and thinks its a turkey or a bird and lifts his gun to his shoulder and lets fly with a few rounds, which fly over the head of the camper and his kids.

Now, I know that the nitpickers out there will write to tell me that this couldn't possibly happen under these new rules. I know they are going to think that I'm being too harsh toward hunters and Cathy Stepp.

Well, just read this from an Associated Press story on the new rules:

"I have friends who are hunters and not a single one thinks this is good idea," said hunter Jeffrey Baylis. "I think this will fuel a general antipathy toward hunting."

The AP said some residents feared for the safety of their pets and families. Some reportedly said they would never attend the state's parks again if the law went into effect, even though the law restricts hunting and traps in certain areas near campgrounds and trails.

"My family is not opposed to hunting and trapping. We own guns, we hunt — just not in a state park," said Cynthia Gagan of Cedarburg. "It is only a matter of time before people or pets are hurt by a stray bullet."

I'm not really an outdoors guy, but I recognize that outdoor sports are a very important thing to a lot of people in Wisconsin. I just can't stop shaking my head in wonder at how absolutely stupid bureaucrats can be once they get an idiotic idea in their heads.

Talkbacks

funhouse | Dec. 28, 2012 at 11:10 a.m. (report)

My family and I go camping in winter. It's quite fun.

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EastSideMKE | Dec. 19, 2012 at 3:36 a.m. (report)

Why do you insist on writing so many articles on a subject you know so little about? I'm a city slicker. Always have been, always will be. Hunting doesn't appeal to me in any way shape or form. However, just because I don't personally enjoy it doesn't mean I assume to know what's best for those who do. Traps, as far as I'm aware, are only used in bear hunting, so your little fable about the family dog getting shot is just that, a fable. Besides, hunting occurs in the coldest months of the year, and I don't know of anybody who goes camping in Wisconsin during winter. As far as I'm concerned, meat harvested from the wilderness is much more humane, healthy and eco-friendly than some steer raised in a factory feedlot pumped full of steroids and antibiotics. You obviously don't have any moral objections to eating meat, so why you have such a vendetta against outdoorsmen is a complete mystery to me.

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AndrewJ | Dec. 18, 2012 at 3:52 p.m. (report)

Question: Who would be the bigger idiot? The individual with a gun who blindly shoots at a target they can't see, going against any and all training they would have received to use said firearm. Or, the person who meanders into the woods with their entire family for a day of whistling dixie, with no knowledge that their may be people with guns in the woods hunting? At some point you'll have to figure out that there isn't a way to legislate common sense.

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mygreendoor | Dec. 18, 2012 at 3:45 p.m. (report)

I have friends that own 6 acres of wooded land in northern Wisconsin. Hunters there routinely ignore the ample "No Hunting-Private Property" signs they have posted all over. I have no doubt that a percentage of hunters will ignore the DNR rules in place at the parks. So yes, it is an example of a bureaucrat letting a stupid idea go to her head. But worse than that Dave, this post is another fine example of the media running a story on something AFTER it's too late forthe public to voice their concerns. Why didn't you run this post back before the law was put in effect to give those opposed/concerned a chance to contact the appropriate representatives?

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thereles | Dec. 18, 2012 at 11:23 a.m. (report)

The situation that you give as being an issue is completely ridiculous. The perfect storm that would have to happen for someone to have their dog off trail, it steps in a trap and a hunter to fire shots blindly is something out of a cartoon. First of all, trappers don't wait in the bush and blindly fire shots at howling animals and secondly if you think for one second that a howling dog sounds like a turkey you are completely idiotic. Furthermore, I would be willing to bet that the people that leave trash and damage are parks are much more numerous events than any trouble that may come of hunting/trapping in a state park. i'm not quite sure what happened to make you such an angry cynical person Begel but its sad.

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