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Caffeinated Politics Mentioned In State Newspaper Editorial

June 25, 2009

I am not sure if my pleasure arises from being sourced in a newspaper (a news format I dearly love), or if it results from  the issue of  how 10-year-old hunting is about to become state law, and is getting some well deserved scrutiny.    Earlier this month I posted my thoughts about this matter.

Either way it was nice to see Caffeinated Politics mentioned in The Chetek Alert editorial “On The Hunt”. 

“Imagine yourself as a 10-year-old taking your first hunt with a seasoned hunter, perhaps your father or some other role model. Now imagine being told you’re not allowed to hunt again until you turn 12, because you don’t meet the minimum age requirement and cannot purchase a license. That’s exactly the situation 10-year-old hunters are faced with in Wisconsin.”
So goes the National Wild Turkey Federation’s 2004 scenario advocating getting loaded guns nearer the hands of kids. Ten-year-old “hunters” are “faced” with this crisis, the statement says, then quotes a series of adults-presumably because the children are too young to speak for themselves.

“I’m 50 years old and hunting means a lot to me. I learned from my grandfather when I was barely old enough to walk,” said Greg Shermo, [2004] NWTF Wisconsin State Chapter president. “My oldest son is 19 years old and a U.S. Marine and I have no grandchildren. If I have grandchildren and have to wait until my grandchildren turn 12, I may never get to teach them to hunt.”

The two-year wait for a hunting license isn’t going to kill anybody-not the kids, who will do what they’re told, and certainly not their family members. Frankly, Shermo’s quote failed to deliver the intended dose of pathos. One man’s haste to teach his (yet unborn) grandchildren to shoot two years early is not a compelling case.

After talking with a number of people, I’ve learned even avid hunters (my dad, uncles and grandfather included) aren’t in favor of the measure. Nevertheless, in a state where adult behaviors are routinely overregulated-two 17-year-olds can both be charged with misdemeanors for having consensual sex-it’s bizarre, almost laughable that legislators are lining up to support fourth- and fifth-grade hunters’ rights-with almost no public support.

Seems unlikely the kids have been lobbying for themselves.

Caffeinated Politics, a blog penned by a former Wisconsin legislative aide, attributes lawmakers’ support to the ubiquitous “special interests,” in this case the gun lobby and sporting groups. Clearly the NWTF has been on the job for several years. Conveniently, the whole business cropped up amidst the state’s budget-passing process, and even the usually weapon-wary Democrats (party of the author) are delighted to oblige in championing the cause.

Hold it right there, pardner.

Seems like just yesterday Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen had to defend gun wearers from incurring disorderly conduct charges. Gov. Jim Doyle has repeatedly refused to allow adults to carry concealed weapons, yet children are disenfranchised when they can’t pull the trigger?

Can you say “double standard”?

It’s remarkable, too, how quickly the legislation moved through the Assembly and Senate, and how eagerly the governor waits to sign it into law-again, with almost no public support.

From all of us in the heart of hunting country to the politicians in Madison, get the message: We’re not impressed.

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