Hunters in Training

Truth is stranger than fiction. With the Republican wrecking crew in charge nationally and in Wisconsin, truth is becoming increasingly stranger. A random walk through the news demonstrates what I mean. There are many seemingly small issues that speak volumes about where we are heading as a nation. One can only wonder what is wrong with these clowns? What are they thinking?

No age limit to hunt in Wisconsin

On November 13th, Walker signed a Republican bill doing away with the minimum age to participate in a “mentored” hunt. Children under 11 years old must hunt with a “mentor.” The mentor must be within “arms length” but both may carry a weapon. Children 12 to 18 must pass a hunter safety course and must hunt with an adult within visual and voice contact.

DNR data this year shows the agency sold 1,814 mentored hunt licenses to children age 9 or younger. Fifty-two licenses went to children under age 5, with 10 going to children under a year old. A four year old was the youngest licensee to register a kill during the recent deer hunting season. Seven deer kills were registered by five year old “hunters.”

Does anyone honestly believe that infants were being “mentored” or that 4 and 5 year old children actually shot and killed these deer? Does anyone believe that these children were “actively participating in the hunt” and “are in the field” as required by the Wisconsin hunting regulations? These regulations also state, “While group hunting, a mentor may not fill any of their mentee’s deer tags.” It should be obvious that someone is lying and these were not legally bagged deer. But this is not what concerns me. Illegal deer are shot by the thousands every year.

The important question is what motivated politicians to make these changes? What burning public policy need drove this decision? Have they nothing better to do? Or are they so blinded by their anti-government ideology (or the National Rifle Association campaign contributions) that they can’t think clearly?

Apologists for the changes say parents are best able to judge the maturity of their children and should be allowed to make these decisions. Really? Using that standard what is next? Will parents decide when children can drive? Or go to work? Or drop out of school? Will we go back to eight year old brides? Thirty-four other states have no minimum hunting age so crazy is not limited to Wisconsin.