Hunting and politics, especially today’s version, never mix well

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No modern political party has injected politics into Wisconsin’s hunting and wildlife-management programs like Republicans during Gov. Scott Walker’s administration, and yet several GOP leaders in key natural-resources positions have feeble credentials as license-buying, game-harvesting hunters.

Harsh? Not really. When Walker ran for governor in 2010, he touted “Scott’s Plan” for deer hunting. He promised voters he would appoint a “deer trustee” to revise the state’s deer hunting program, and told crowds, “Like most sportsmen, I’m tired of sitting in a deer stand all day and not seeing any deer.”

During the 2010 and 2014 races, as well as the recall election in 2012, “Sportsmen for Walker” signs were common statewide.

The GOP even institutionalized litmus tests for the outdoors. After taking office in 2011, Walker and his party passed Act 149, which requires at least three members of the seven-citizen Natural Resources Board to have held a hunting, fishing or trapping license in at least seven of the 10 years before they were nominated to serve. That policy took effect in May 2017 for the NRB, which sets policy for the Department of Natural Resources.

You’d think folks setting such standards would have impeccable qualifications themselves. But an open-records review of license purchases and game-registration files shows Walker himself wouldn’t have qualified for one of those license-based NRB seats until three years ago. He didn’t buy his first hunting license until March 2007, and didn’t fish until buying his first all-inclusive conservation patron license in March 2010.

RELATED:Following in Aldo Leopold’s footsteps along the Rio Grande

That standard also would have disqualified Cathy Stepp, who served as Walker’s DNR secretary from January 2011 through August 2017. Stepp didn’t buy a hunting, fishing or trapping license from 2003 through 2010. She then bought a fishing license, and hunting licenses for deer, turkeys and geese in March 2011, roughly two months after taking control of the agency the NRB oversees.

Unlike Walker – who has yet to register a deer in Wisconsin despite being licensed to do so every year from 2007 through 2017 – Stepp shot deer three straight years from 2011 to 2013. She added a turkey to her kills in May 2016.

Although Walker and Stepp would now qualify for any NRB seat, Sen. Tom Tiffany, R-Hazelhurst, does not. Tiffany, chairman of the Senate Committee on Sporting Heritage, Mining and Forestry, has owned hunting or fishing licenses only five times since 2004. He bought no licenses from 2009 through 2014, and none in 2017.

And even though only two of Tiffany’s licenses included deer hunting privileges, he felt qualified to lead efforts to eliminate earn-a-buck rules and October gun-deer hunts statewide in 2011. Earlier this year, he also helped relax baiting-feeding bans for deer hunting.

Even so, one of Tiffany’s cheerleaders is Mukwonago’s Greg Kazmierski, who’s been widely regarded by DNR staff as Wisconsin’s true “deer czar” since Gov. Walker appointed him to the NRB in 2011. “Kaz” is credited with getting the governor to appoint Texas’ James Kroll as Wisconsin’s deer trustee in 2012, and then rewriting deer regulations to his liking once Kroll went home.

Still, no one can look at Kaz’s license-buying history and lump him in with Stepp and Walker as a politically expedient deer hunter. He’s registered seven deer in 11 seasons since 2007, and bought gun and archery deer licenses annually since the state began tracking sales electronically in 1999.

But Kaz is no “hunting and fishing fool” – a compliment among outdoors-folks. He hasn’t bought a turkey license since 2005 or a small-game license since 2002, and never fished from 2001 through 2012. He even qualified for a $5 first-timer’s fishing license in 2013, but hasn’t fished since.

Current DNR Secretary Daniel Meyer, who replaced Stepp in September, has more diverse outdoors interests. Judging by his license purchases, Meyer routinely fishes. He also regularly hunts small game, including waterfowl and wild turkeys, but seems more casual about deer. Meyer bought an archery-deer license in 2003, never registered a deer from 2007 through 2016, and didn’t buy a gun-deer license in 2005, 2006, 2008, 2015 and 2016. However, Meyer killed a deer in November.

That brings us to Rep. Joel Kleefisch, R-Oconomowoc, chairman of the Assembly Committee on Natural Resources and Sporting Heritage. Given the modest overall credentials of the GOP’s aforementioned outdoors team, one might mistakenly think Kleefisch is trying to single-handedly boost the party’s hunting credibility.

He’s kept his hunting knife bloody since buying his first small-game license in 2003 and his first deer license in 2004. I say that with respect. Since the DNR began tracking individual harvest data on whitetails, wild turkeys and Canada geese in 2007, Kleefisch has registered 19 deer, 39 turkeys and 236 geese. Those aren’t misprints.

Further, by my unofficial tally, Kleefisch has spent $2,577 on tags, licenses and associated fees since 1999. Few of his fellow legislators can rival such numbers.

Unfortunately, Kleefisch likely leads the Legislature in game violations, too. The DNR cited him in 2013 for registering a deer too late, and cited him again in 2016 for overbagging turkeys when accidentally killing two with one shot. He also received three warnings for previous turkey- and goose-hunting violations.

One thing these GOP leaders seldom do, however, is donate extra money to state-run conservation efforts such as the Cherish Wisconsin Outdoors Fund, venison and turkey processing fund, or the endangered species or aquatic invasive species programs. Kazmierski donated $10 to Cherish Wisconsin in 2016. Walker gave $10 to general fish and wildlife funding in 2011; and twice contributed to venison processing, giving $1 in 2009 and $20 in 2010. The rest combined to give $0.

And just so you know, DNR records credit me with 12 deer registrations since 2007; 18 straight years of buying a patron’s license and extra tags for $2,602.50; and $49 in donations to the venison processing, fish and wildlife, Cherish Wisconsin and aquatic invasive species programs.

Does any of that make me special? Of course not. But I’m also not the one who uses hunting for political gain.

I’m just reporting it.

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Hunter Shoots Farmer Dead At Warabeba Community

 

A thirty- two-year-old farmer has been shot dead at Warabeba , a suburb of Ayensudo in the Komenda-Edina-Eguafo-Abirem Municipality of the Central region .

The father of two, Atta Panin, was allegedly shot dead by his friend Kofi Benya, who is a hunter when the farmer went to his house to demand a gun he had given him hunting for hunting expeditions.

The two had agreed to share the spoils from the hunting expedition but the accused is said to have failed to honour his part of the agreement as he kept all the proceeds to himself, a situation which didn’t go well with the deceased.

The action is said to have annoyed the deceased to go and retrieve his gun only to be shot from the rare by the accused when he was leaving to his house after collecting the said gun.

The accused is said to have entered his room to grab another gun which he used to shoot the farmer and afterward run away. 

The farmer was subsequently rushed to the Central regional hospital by some residents who heard the gunshot.

The youth of the town on hearing of the death of the farmer moved in to burn down the house of the accused and his known allies in the town .

The case has since been filed with the Elmina police who are on a manhunt for the accused.

Kofi Benya , is already in the bad books of the police for threatening the deceased sometime ago which led to him signing a bond of good behavior after apologising to the now deceased.

The body of the deceased has been deposited at the Central regional hospital for autopsy.

Hunting instructor has mixed feelings about very young hunters

http://www.gazettextra.com/20171104/hunting_instructor_has_mixed_feelings_about_very_young_hunters

FRANK SCHULTZ
Saturday, November 4, 2017

JANESVILLE–A local hunter-safety instructor thinks some 9-year-olds are ready to handle a rifle and hunt game.

But Craig Strouse is not on board for a bill in the state Legislature that would remove all age restrictions.

“I think it’s unrealistic to have a 2-year-old or a 3- or 4-year-old (hunting). I think that’s crazy,” Strouse said.

The state Assembly passed a bill Thursday that would let a child of any age hunt with close supervision. The bill now goes to the Senate.

Now, no one younger than 10 years of age may acquire a hunting license in Wisconsin.

The state’s minimum hunting age used to be 12, but in 2009, the Legislature created mentored hunting, in which hunters ages 10 and 11 could hunt with a licensed hunter, who must be within arm’s reach.

The new proposal, Assembly Bill 455, removes the age restriction from mentored hunting.

While Strouse doesn’t think young children should hunt, he also doesn’t want government taking that decision from parents.

“Do you want the government telling you what you can or cannot do?” he said.

Strouse, who is a captain and assistant administrator at the Rock County Jail, has been teaching hunter safety for years.

The ideal would be wise parents deciding when their children are ready to hunt, but not all parents are wise, he said.

Some adults can’t even drive responsibly, he noted.

“I guess I don’t have the legislative answer to the question. I do know I’ve been at and heard about some terrible hunting accidents, and they always violate one or two of the rules of hunter safety,” Strouse said.

The rules:

— Treat every firearm as if it’s loaded.

— Always point the muzzle in a safe direction.

— Be certain of the target and what lies beyond.

— Keep your finger outside the trigger guard until you’re ready to shoot.

But it goes deeper than that, Strouse said. For example, a hunter has to appreciate what the firearm is capable of doing. A deer rifle can shoot a bullet three to four miles, a .22-caliber rifle can send a bullet about a mile, and a slug from a shotgun can go 300 to 600 yards.

Strouse strongly endorses hunter-safety courses. State law requires those born in 1973 or later to complete hunter education certification.

Hunting deaths have dropped greatly since that law was enacted in the 1980s, he said.

Even older hunters could benefit from the course, said Strouse, who suggests parents take the course with their children.

Strouse said hunting is a great way for a parents to spend long stretches of quality time with their children.

Strouse said for him, having children along enhances the hunt.

He doesn’t get excited about harvesting a deer anymore, unless it’s a big one. But when hunting with children brings back the joys of his youth: “It’s exciting again.”

A Pair of Psychopathic Thrill-killers

[The question is, which one looks/sounds more psychopathic?]…

“Paddock did not have a criminal record, ABC News reports. He worked as an accountant before retiring and had a pilot’s and hunting license. ”

Stephen Paddock did not have a criminal record. He is said to have worked as an accountant and had a pilot’s and hunting license.

“I have a God-given right to pursue happiness, and happiness to me is killing things, skinning them, plucking them, and then having a good meal. What makes me happy is going out and blowing a duck’s head off.” – Phil Robertson

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Female hunter is found dead after apparent suicide ‘following online threats from animal rights activists’

  • Melania Capitan, 27, posted photos of her hunting activities on social media
  • The online star reportedly killed herself and left a suicide note to friends
  • This comes after it was reported that the internet star was threatened online 
Melania Capitan, 27, was a well-known blogger and hunter with thousands of online followers

Melania Capitan, 27, was a well-known blogger and hunter with thousands of online followers

A female hunter has been found dead after apparently committing suicide weeks after she was reportedly threatened on social media by animal rights activists.

Melania Capitan, 27, was a well-known blogger and hunter with thousands of online followers.

She rose to fame due to her posts in which she explained hunting tactics as well as showing glimpses into her every day life.

Hunting magazine Jara y Sedal reported Melania, who was from Catalonia and had lived for the last three years in Huesca, had apparently killed herself.

She had also reportedly left a suicide note addressed to her friends.

This comes after it was reported that the internet star was threatened online.

Her posts caused much controversy across the internet, especially with animal rights activists who widely criticised her.

She rose to fame due to her posts in which she explained hunting tactics as well as showing glimpses into her every day life

She rose to fame due to her posts in which she explained hunting tactics as well as showing glimpses into her every day life

Hunting magazine Jara y Sedal reported Melania, who was from Catalonia and had lived for the last three years in Huesca, had apparently killed herself. Pictured: Her rifle on a dead deer

Hunting magazine Jara y Sedal reported Melania, who was from Catalonia and had lived for the last three years in Huesca, had apparently killed herself. Pictured: Her rifle on a dead deer

She had also reportedly left a suicide note addressed to her friends. This comes after it was reported that the internet star was threatened online

She had also reportedly left a suicide note addressed to her friends. This comes after it was reported that the internet star was threatened online

Her posts caused much controversy across the internet, especially with animal rights activists who widely criticised her

Her posts caused much controversy across the internet, especially with animal rights activists who widely criticised her

Even after her death, her Facebook profile was inundated with messages praising the tragic news.

One person wrote: ‘You have done a favour to humanity! Bye Bye.’

Another commented: ‘She is alive, do not worry, what happened is that she left hunting and now is in the casting of the series The Walking Dead.’

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4718110/Female-hunter-dead-apparent-suicide.html#ixzz4nnLjgjgL
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Texas Lawmakers Legalize Hunting Hogs From Hot Air Balloons

http://www.sacurrent.com/the-daily/archives/2017/05/26/texas-lawmakers-legalize-hunting-hogs-from-hot-air-balloons

By on Fri, May 26, 2017 at 7:15 am

The future of Texas hog hunting is oddly adorable. - SARAH FLOOD-BAUMANN, SHUTTERSTOCK

  • Sarah Flood-Baumann, Shutterstock
  • The future of Texas hog hunting is oddly adorable.

As state lawmakers gut major bills in the last days of the 85th legislative session, it’s become clear where many of their priorities lie. Child welfare. Religious freedom. Women’s health.

Oh, and hunting feral hogs from hot air balloons.

That last one, oddly enough, is one of the few issues that have managed to float through both chambers unscathed. Thanks to a Wednesday vote by the Texas Senate, a bill allowing landowners to shoot wild hogs and coyotes from the safety of a hot air balloon basket has now landed on Gov. Greg Abbott’s desk.

The state’s estimated 2 million feral hogs have long-tormented Texas farmers, leaving destroyed crops and pastures in their wake. This bill is only the latest strategy in a growing list of legal ways to kill these invasive hogs under Texas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller’s watch. Balloon-hunting, actually, is a fix to a bill then-Representative Miller passed in 2011, which allowed property owners to shoot hogs from helicopters (he called it the “pork chopper” bill). But according to aerial hog hunters, their prey have become familiar with the buzzing helicopter motor and often scatter when they hear a chopper approaching. Plus, they complain, it’s near impossible to keep a steady aim on a bumpy helicopter ride.

Enter, the hot air balloon.

“We’ve got a problem here, and we are willing to fix it ourself. We have that Western, swashbuckling, cowboying type of way to deal with things,” Representative Mark Keough, a Woodlands Republican, told the Texas Observer in April. “It’s part of the culture, it’s different than any other state.”

Keough has never tried the kind of “swashbuckling” hunting his bill allows. That’s probably because it’s illegal — but also because absolutely no one hunts hogs from hot air balloons. It seems to be an idea Keough basically invented himself. The bill provides no information on how a person can rent a hot air balloon for a hunting excursion (unless you’re throwing down some $22,000 on a personal huntin’ balloon), or if they need to take a certain certification class before taking flight.

Either way, the majority of Texas legislators apparently think it’s a good idea.

Commissioner Miller’s office didn’t return calls for comment Thursday and his wildly active social media accounts lack any acknowledgement of Keough’s bill. This silence, coming from a man who once called for a Texas-sized “hog apocalypse,” is a bit surprising.

It could be Miller’s still sulking after his own hog eradication scheme fell flat in April. Miller was met with quick opposition after legalizing the use of posion-laced hog kibble in February. An unusual coalition of hog hunters, meat processing plant owners, and environmentalists filed a joint lawsuit against the state, claiming too little was known about the toxic chemical’s affects of humans and the environment to approve. The law has been put on hold, and the one toxic hog kibble provider decided to stop selling to Texas after being slammed with a barrage of lawsuits.

If signed by Gov Abbott, Keough’s bill will go into effect in September.

Referendum to make hunting, fishing, trapping a constitutional right garners support from 30 senators

A majority of Montana’s state senators backed a measure to ask voters to decide whether hunting, fishing and trapping should become constitutional rights in the 2018 general election.

Senate Bill 236, sponsored by Sen. Jennifer Fielder, R-Thompson Falls, would create a ballot initiative to put in Montana’s constitution the right for Montana citizens to hunt, fish and trap. Measures that ask for a ballot initiative require 100 votes total between the Senate and the House and don’t need the governor’s signature.

In an initial vote on Monday, 30 Senators supported the bill. It faces a final Senate vote on Tuesday — the vote that will actually count toward the 100 necessary.

 Fielder said the bill will strengthen the state constitution’s protections for these activities.

“The language in the existing Montana constitution is unclear,” Fielder said.

She also said strengthening the language will help fight off future attempts to limit hunting or trapping in the state, such as the ballot measure voters rejected in November to ban trapping on public lands.

But opponents of the bill said the protections within the constitution are strong enough and that the failure of the trapping initiative last fall shows that the activity isn’t in serious danger.

“We don’t need to change something that already works,” said Sen. Mike Phillips, D-Bozeman.

In a February committee hearing, the bill garnered support from the Montana Trappers Association and the Montana Outfitters and Guides Association, among others. A number of conservation groups and Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks opposed it.

The bill was amended slightly before being sent out of the Senate Fish and Game committee on a 6-5 vote. The amendment turned some opposition into support — namely, the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation — but it didn’t eliminate all opposition.

Nick Gevock, the conservation director for the Montana Wildlife Federation, said his group still opposes the measure because they believe changing the constitution requires more careful consideration than can be found in the “hurried emotion of a 90-day legislative session.”

On the Senate floor Monday, Fielder said the bill is similar to laws passed in 14 other states, including Idaho. In a post on its website, the National Conference of State Legislatures says {a style=”font-size: 12px;” href=”http://www.ncsl.org/research/environment-and-natural-resources/state-constitutional-right-to-hunt-and-fish.aspx#5” target=”_blank”}21 states{/a} across the country guarantee the right to hunt and fish, including Montana.

Montana’s current law guarantees the “opportunity” to hunt, and Fielder’s bill would change that word to “right,” which she said has a more clear legal definition.

“It’s time for Montana to step up,” she said.

But some worry that the change could upend wildlife management within the state. An internal memo from Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks provided to the Chronicle said the bill would endanger the state’s ability to charge residents and nonresidents different prices for hunting and fishing licenses. The memo says the change would likely draw a legal challenge and that a court might find that the state is discriminating against non-residents by charging them higher license fees.

Phillips mentioned this on the Senate floor Monday, saying the change could result in the state “giving the deal of the century to nonresidents” by lowering out-of-state license fees.

“If you feel lucky in court, vote for 236,” he said.

Sen. Jeff Welborn, R-Dillon, and Sen. Terry Gauthier, R-Helena, joined the Senate’s 18 Democrats in voting against the bill. The measure will need 70 votes in the House to pass, which means that even if all Republicans support it, they will need at least 11 votes from Democrats. Two House Democrats are listed as sponsors of the bill — Rep. Jonathan Windy Boy of Box Elder and Rep. Brad Hamlett of Cascade.

 

Donald Trump Jr. taps hunting pal for Interior liaison

 

President Donald Trump’s eldest son is an avid hunter and played a key role in picking Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, who is also a hunter and fisherman. And now Donald Trump Jr. has asked Jason Hairston, a former San Francisco 49ers linebacker and founder of hunting gear company Kuiu, to serve as a liaison among himself, Zinke, sportsmen’s groups and the White House on conservation and public lands issues, Hairston said on Thursday.

“I’m absolutely going to take the position,” Hairston told POLITICO, but the job won’t come with a salary, and he plans on staying in California where he lives and managing his business.

But an official with the Interior Department said there had “been no discussion of creating of a new role like this” and White House deputy press secretary Stephanie Grisham said in an email there were no new personnel announcements.

Hairston said Donald Trump Jr. had hoped to play the liaison role between Interior and the White House himself, but his decision to stick with running his father’s business empire with his brother, Eric Trump, put a kink in that plan.

“It’s really a role he was hoping to fill, but he can’t because of conflict of interest,” Hairston said.

Hairston and Donald Trump Jr. have been hunting buddies for at least two years — and Donald Trump Jr. tweeted out his congratulations last year after Hairston’s company was featured in a Bloomberg news article. The two have tracked game together in mountain ranges in the West and Canada, and Hairston helped to organize meetings between sportsman groups and Donald Trump during his campaign, including a February 2016 gathering in Las Vegas, Hairston said.

The president “knows that it’s not just a sport, that it really is something that’s more meaningful to hunters and how important wildlife and conservation are because of everything Don and Eric have experienced and shared with him,” Hairston said. “So he’s not just pacifying his kids over this. He understands it and gets it.”

Outdoor recreation groups have recently stepped up their fight against efforts by some Western Republican lawmakers to force the Interior Department to transfer more of the vast amounts of public lands it controls in the West to states — a move the groups say would cut them off from prime hunting and fishing ground. And having Hairston as their advocate would give them a direct line to the White House.

While he said his position hasn’t been given a formal starting day, Hairston said he has “already started with the work on it,” including “meeting with different organizations to determine what challenges and issues we’re facing and really just what we should be working on — what’s important.”

Hairston has met with Zinke twice: once before Zinke was confirmed as secretary and again on March 7 when Hairston traveled to Washington and talked with the heads of conservation and hunting organizations. Those included the National Rifle Association, Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership, National Shooting Sports Foundation and Safari Club International.