I've not always been the biggest proponent of DNR. However, I've made it a point to mention that my disgust mostly lies within the political spectrum of things. At the risk of sounding redundant, I'll say once more that political agendas have thrown many of Illinois' Conservation Police Officers into increasingly tough positions, as they've had to deal with what I consider to be a force not to be reckoned with: disgruntled Illinois hunters.
That said, I'm a hunter. And just like many other hunters across the Prairie State, when I see politicians who probably wouldn't know the difference between a crossbow or compound determining the fate of our deer herds according to Springfield politics, I get angry.
And, just as they have the right to make the rules, I have the right not to like them. In my opinion, these Springfield politics have also been the culprit on many occasions when a hunter is misjudged, or treated as if they're guilty of some violation before they even hand over their hunting license and permit to a CPO conducting a routine inspection.
No matter what side of the fence you're on here, whether it be the law or the public entity, this unfortunate reality just plain bites. That said, I think that our CPOs need to keep in mind that the overall majority of us are ethical hunters who follow the rules and try to do the right thing. When you're a CPO, I'm sure it's difficult not to become a bit jaded by dealing with those who feel they're above the law and act accordingly.
It's easy for hunters to get a little salty with a CPO, especially when we feel as if our integrity is being questioned, or if there is undue judgment by either party. However, we shouldn't take a random inspections of our license, permit or gear personal. This is part of their job description and more importantly, one of the methods used in combating illegal, unethical hunting; which by the way, makes me madder than any political agenda ever could. We need to act correctly, be respectful and comply from the get go. Hopefully, it will be reciprocated. Most importantly, we need to remember that like the rest of us, these men and women have bills to pay and families to support. At the end of their shift, they head home to their families and lives outside of the DNR.
CPOs and hunters will never agree on everything, but heck, neither do hunters! Leaving aside politics to the politicians, the take-away here is that for the most part, we all have the same goal. Perhaps if hunters and CPOs alike would take a step back, consider how we affect each other's roles, and take the high road, then maybe, just maybe, we can get back on a respectable track; and hopefully realize, unfailingly, that we really do need each other.