Again with over-bearing and scornful language, writer Shawn Clark gets it all wrong.
Previously Clark told people unhappy with the wolf season to 'shut up' and let hunters 'take care' of Wisconsin's wildlife.
Now, in an April column, Clark essentially tells tribes to shut up; let the state take care of the outdoors and all its resources. Shut up about spearing fish, night hunting deer, wolves, mining, and tribal rights. Without any hard knowledge to back it up, he thinks the current administration knows best.
On fishing, Clark stirs up irrational fear and anger: tribes will take too many fish; tribes will ruin the season for 'everyone' else.
Reality: the tribes were well short of their declared goal; there will be walleye enough, maintaining Wisconsin's recreation and tourism economy.
On the tribes and night deer hunting, Clark says: Why allow hunting deer at night, why for them, why only for them? They think they deserve more, are better than the rest of us. And he calls the tribes 'spoiled brats.'
Reality: Governor Walker's budget quietly dropped night hunting from the wolf season supposedly because it wasn't needed for an 'active harvest.' But Chippewa Tribes recently fought in court to allow night deer hunting with tough safety standards. The state says it's too dangerous. However, the tribes have treaty rights, and the state allowed its hunters - with limp safety standards - to kill wolves after dark this past fall. Powerful legal arguments. The state cannot justify night hunting of wolves with high powered firearms and then say it is not safe with deer, using the same weapons; this is hypocrisy and a double standard. By eliminating night wolf hunting before the trial, the state's real motive is to weaken the tribes' court case.
On the wolf season, Clark ridicules the tribal tradition and creation stories, the belief that wolves are sacred. He is mad the tribes did not use their 'allotted wolf tags' to kill, irked that 85 wolves 'still live'; they deserve to die because they 'do nothing but kill.' Although made aware of the ecological functions and value of wolves, the opinionated Clark persists in spreading irrational hatred.
Reality: When announcing the delisting of wolves, the Federal Department of the Interior said: management of wolves should be 'rooted in science where it belongs.' The federal government returned its man agement to 'Tribes and state wildlife professionals.' Experts. Scientists. Not politicians, not Rep. Scott Suder, and certainly not hound and bear hunters. But an amateur legislature and hostile, self-serving groups, such as the Wisconsin Bear Hunters Association, stole and wrote wildlife management, the kind of season they wanted. And the tribes were ignored.
On an iron-ore mine in the Penokee Hills, Clark says, 'I don\'t believe it will impact the tribes' environmental concerns,' and quotes an Outdoor Life writer who said: tribes fear relaxed mining standards and a large mining operation would impact an area lake.
Reality: Seventy-one miles of rivers and intermittent streams flow through the proposed iron-ore mining area, emptying into the Bad River and eventually Lake Superior. Portions of many of these waterways are designated as Exceptional or Outstanding Resource Waters, the highest quality rivers in Wisconsin. The Bad River is the lifeline to the Bad River Band of Lake S! uperior Chippewa. Mining will irrefutably cause permanent destruction; pollution will poison water resources, threatening the reservation's health and way of life (wild rice). But the tribes were neglected again.
Finally, on tribal rights, Clark says tribes 'claim' rights. He's 'tired of them playing games. If they truly want to ease some tensions they need to play nice with everyone.' Clark seems to want the tribes to stop, give up their rights, abandon their treaties, lose their culture, and passively go along with the state's agenda. 'Playing nice.'
Clark says, the tribes' 'acts aren't exactly wins in the world of public relations. The outdoors has nothing to do with political games.' He continues to write that the tribes are just 'playground bullies.'
Reality: It is the present government who is the relentless bully. The state dictates, forcing tribes to its will and degrading tribal relations by repeated oppression. In the ceded territory of northern Wisconsin, the tribes have long-established, legally affirmed, and secure treaty rights of a sovereign nation that must be respected and honored. They share natural resource management authority with federal and state officials; the current administration fails at fulfilling its obligation to engage in meaningful dialogue and consultation with them.
Instead of ignorance, misunderstanding, and blind acceptance, we all need to question, think about, and research exactly what this administration is doing and will do to Wisconsin's natural world.