Former Gov. Jesse Ventura, who now lives part of the year at a
remote location on the Mexican Baja, recently told the Associated
Press he isn’t excited by either of the Minnesota candidates for
U.S. Senate, Republican incumbent Norm Coleman or Al Franken, a New
York comic who moved back to Minnesota to seek the Democratic
nomination for Senate.
While first claiming no interest in reentering politics, Ventura
went on to say, “I’ve learned after 56 years you never say never. I
have no intention at this point in time, but who knows, that could
What if Jesse entered the Senate race? That may be a scenario
neither Coleman nor Franken care to contemplate. Since Jesse isn’t
the only Minnesotan who is lukewarm toward the state’s senatorial
prospects, his entry would change the complexion of the race.
Independent voters would have another choice.
Would he be a serious contender for the Senate seat? Probably
not, because it is fair to say many Minnesotans think Ventura’s
previous four years in office were enough. That said, some folks
would step into the voting booth and think, Jesse Š why not?
Ventura’s unpredictable persona would force both candidates out
of their comfort zone, perhaps moving them beyond the feel-good
platitudes and back-and-forth mudslinging that has categorized the
campaign so far. At the very least, having two professional
entertainers vying for public attention would make for
Lynx and the law
A recent court ruling requires the Minnesota DNR to address the
incidental take of lynx by trappers. The lynx is listed as
threatened on the endangered species list. The DNR says the ruling
will affect land-trapping methods used in the Arrowhead, where over
one dozen lynx were caught in traps since 2002. The agency hasn’t
announced how trapping rules will change.
Despite the public assurance of some Minnesota environmentalists
that the lawsuit and subsequent ruling are about endangered species
and are not an attack on trapping, a quick look at the Born Free
USA (one of the plaintiffs) website shows the organization has an
ongoing anti trapping campaign. The Minnesota ruling is touted as a
Some trappers I’ve spoken with wonder why the ruling occurred,
given that northern Minnesota is the southern margin of the lynx
range. Actually, pursuing legal action in fringe areas of an
endangered specie’s range is a strategy effectively employed by the
Center for Biodiversity, the other plaintiff in this suit. The goal
of such actions, whether stated or not, is to use the endangered
critter as a game piece in a larger gambit intended to stop or
restrict the use of lands or resources.
Make no mistake, the plaintiffs saw a chink in the Minnesota
DNR’s armor and went on the offensive. Arguably, the ruling may
save a lynx or two, but the end justifies other means. The real
victory is not for lynx, but against trapping. All traditional
users of outdoor resources ought to regard the lynx lawsuit as a
shot across the bow.
Lead in your meat
Pardon me for not panicking over the lead in venison scare. I
will continue to eat venison, just as I’ll continue to spit out the
occasional lead shot in a game bird dinner. People have safely
eaten game killed with lead shot or bullets for centuries.
One study can sure cause a stir. A researcher found lead
fragments in ground venison donated to North Dakota food shelves,
leading that state to pull donated deer meat off the shelves.
Health officials in Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Iowa quickly followed
suit. Suddenly, a healthful food wasn’t safe to eat.
The study involved excess or unwanted deer donated by hunters
and processed by commercial processors. Perhaps the animals were
handled and processed with less care than you have when processing
venison for your own table. Also, the meat studied was ground
venison, which may contain scraps and trimmings. Perhaps some
scraps contained a bullet or two. One ground bullet could
contaminate a lot of meat.
When processing venison at home, we remove all damaged and
bloodshot meat. We also perform hunter forensics, examining wounds
and bullets. All connective tissues and membranes are trimmed from
the meat. We run very clean venison through the grinder.
The extra care is time-consuming. It takes us a couple of hours
or longer to process a deer, but the end product is worth it. We’ll
continue to eat lead-free venison, panic-free.