Zone 3 deer a case study in political shenanigans

My mood was bright when I headed for work this morning. The
Twins beat the Yankees in the Bronx last night, had a nice workout
at the gym, and a clear sunrise greeted my commute. 

Here at the office, however, I reviewed the latest on the Game
and Fish bill with Joe Albert. As usual, the bill contains lots of
obnoxious language, especially the latest amendment that would
eliminate years of negotiation and compromise over southeast deer
management.

Joe Albert’s blog outlines how the Minnesota Deer Hunters
Association and a politician looking to garner a few votes are
undermining years of healthy debate and process with deer regs in
the southeast. In Albert’s blog, Rep. Steve Drazkowski, R-Mazeppa,
suggests the current regulation is an example of government
over-reach and he – no doubt being a flag-draped champion of
smaller government (when it suits him) – simply wants to reign that
in.

Want to know who represents big stick government here, Steve? You.
You’re the one swooping in and nuking a decade of grassroots
discussion and public meetings with your sneaky little
amendment.

Shame on Drakowski (again). Shame on the House environment
committee leadership that has allowed this to progress. And shame
especially on the MDHA for manipulating wildlife management in the
shadows of Capitol hallways. I expect better from the latter.

However you feel about antler-point restrictions in Zone 3 or
anywhere, this action is wrong. Every deer hunter with an opinion
on this topic has had multiple opportunities to voice it. We all
publicly claim to support sound science and “keeping the politics
out of wildlife management” when it suits us, but when we lose fair
and square? No problem, just find a politician to scratch your back
and reverse it.

Even some of my northern Minnesota deer hunting buddies who oppose
antler point restrictions are shaking their heads here. Most
hunters support letting the final two seasons of this three-year
APR experiment play out in Zone 3. But maybe that’s ultimately what
opponents fear most: We might realize that antler point
restrictions do indeed help maintain a smaller, healthier, more
balanced herd – with a higher percentage of larger-racked deer to
boot. If it works in the southeast, then momentum might build in
other parts of the state for APR. And even if that’s biologically
justifiable, well, it just might not sit right with some deer
hunters. Sound science be damned.

We saw the same lousy logic when a few politicians suggested we
eliminate funding for the moose study because the results might
suggest climate change plays a role in the moose decline. That
wouldn’t sit well with Rush Limbaugh or Joe Soucheray, so we’d
better deep-six the whole study.

Those politicians heard from state hunters and conservationists
that such political shenanigans were unacceptable, and the moose
study got its funding. Let’s hope the same logic prevails for
southeast deer.

Categories: Rob Drieslein

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