Are we the problem
It seems we cannot get away from playing the blame game, suggesting they, not us, are the problem.
We have seen the blame game in politics for longer than we care to remember. Tell everyone who will listen about all of the wrong things the other guys and gals have been doing. But leave us out of the guilty category.
Wisconsin’s deer management is now back into the court of public opinion. Actually, it has ever been absent from that court, but now that court is back in session in a big way.
James Kroll, along with two colleagues, David Guynn, Jr., and Gary Alt, just completed their preliminary report of their findings of Wisconsin’s white-tailed deer management. They have also completed six town hall listening sessions, albeit poorly attended.
At these sessions some thoughts and discussions have been conspicuous by their absence. How much of the responsibility should hunters own up to for exacerbating the tension, if not the problem?
Have we been exaggerating the problem as much as we have been accusing wildlife managers of exaggerating deer problems?
Are we really informed enough to complain about how and why decisions are made?
Sure, we’d all like to set our seasons, make our own firearms and archery equipment choices, and determine when enough venison is enough. Problem is, most of us want our neighbors to do things exactly the same way. We want to make their decisions, too.
And do most hunters really care that much about the season as long as there is a season?
When fewer than 200 hunters show up at a town hall session in the heart of Wisconsin’s original chronic wasting disease site, what does that tell us about how much we care what is being suggested in terms of deer management?
When these 200 hunters and speakers gathered, the same old jokes were dusted off and retold, sending some home to actually believe the jokes were facts.
Maybe the regulations could be simplified. Maybe they should be. But it’s a sad day when someone who considers themselves smart enough to outsmart a white-tailed doe or buck then says they can’t understand regulations.
And what happened to the traditions argument? During one of these three-hour sessions, concern for tradition never came.
While some hunters have made good suggestions at these and similar meetings, far too many were there just to play the blame game. Or to show off their ego.
Too many times the pronouns we and I are used in these discussions.
Let’s admit we are part, maybe even a large part, of the problem in deer management and until we accept that and work at changing our attitudes and remember the wildlife of Wisconsin belong to the people, it’s going to continue to be the same old tale another decade from now.
One of the presenters at this session remarked that he had read a sign at a local eatery before coming to the meeting, “Eat, drink and be grumpy.” Maybe that’s what deer hunters and deer hunting is always going to be and no matter how much we say we say we want it to change.