As one who was raised in the great Wisconsin tradition of going out for a slog in the woods with a high-powered weapon to kill Bambi, I laughed out loud when I came across the news release from the DNR . They want hunters to be on the lookout for drug-growing operations as they search for the elusive 30-point buck in the woods over the next nine days.
Remember the story I did about a month ago, about how 78 cops of various sort spent the day on the Navarino Wildlife Refuge up in Shawano County, after getting a tip that there was highly addictive and extremely dangerous marijuana growing there? Some small-game hunter saw a couple shacks and the remains of a huge marijuana growing field, and tipped the narcs.
Of course, they got there after the good weed had been harvested and processed, but managed to pull a couple stragglers out of the ground and proclaim it a successful bust.
Now, the DNR wants anybody out there hunting during the nine-day gun deer season to be on the lookout for “anything suspicious”. They warn us not to put ourselves in any danger, but if we spot something suspicious, we should back out the way we came in, and then when we’re safely away, write down the location and any other observations, and call the cops.
After all, a 30.06 with a sight or a 12-gauge is no match for a 9-millimeter Glock, or an Uzi, or an AK-47, or whatever weaponry the pot-growers might have.
I’m going to go out on a limb here and suggest that if my youngest brother, who is an accomplished sportsman and conscientious hunter, spots a grow operation, the narcs will not be notified. Being the oldest of the three brothers, I would probably proffer a different suggestion.
But that’s just a hypothetical, ya know.
A lot of my Madison pals don’t understand this hunting thing at all. I always get a charge out of the guy who ties a dummy dressed up in blaze orange on the hood of his car, and drives around town. OK, point made, in a humorous way. You don’t like hunters. Save Bambi.
My dad taught all three of his sons how to hunt. He was a decorated World War 2 vet, combat infantry, who knew his way around a firearm or two. And the first thing he taught us, before there was any talk of hunting, was firearm safety. Between my dad, his brother, and my grandpa, who was a law enforcement officer, they had enough handguns, shotguns, and high-powered rifles to equip a formidable contingent.
The first rule we learned was that the gun is ALWAYS loaded. No matter what, there was absolutely NO horseplay with weapons. And when we earned the privilege of buying a license and hunting with dad, safety was always the number-one consideration. Always be SURE you’ve got a clear shot, and that there are NO hunters anywhere near your target.
I never worry when I’m around my brothers with firearms. We know what we’re doing.
What do I worry about? The city-slicker investment banker from Chicago, who’s been invited up to Wisconsin by a client, to join him for the thrill of the hunt. No gun? Don’t worry, we have plenty. No license? We’ll getcha one Friday night. No training? Don’t worry, nothing will happen. Famous last words.
So be safe out there, hunters.