Tuesday, July 19, 2011
This Land is Your Land...Maybe
I am in a unique position here...I am a law enforcement officer who understands the importance of regular shooting. My life may depend on it someday. But my heart tells me that taking 10 acres away from the hunters/anglers of the state is a poor choice.
Here are the problems I have with this plan:
1. The DNR already has a public rifle/pistol range (25, 50 and 100 yards) and a shotgun range. We offered to reserve the ranges for various agencies as needed.
2. The hunters of the state have been paying for the use of this wildlife area for many years, and it doesn't seem right to hand it over to a private group.
3. More than 10 acres would be affected--it is a shooting range that will be located right next to a waterfowl refuge on one side, and good waterfowl, deer, turkey, and pheasant hunting on the other.
5. Even if the law enforcement agencies give the DNR more than 10 acres in return, it wouldn't be contiguous to this wildlife area.
6. The sheriff apparently wrote a letter to the biologists and other interested parties. In the letter he said that "the DNR officers in the area" (me) are FOR this shooting range because I would be able to use it. This is a complete lie- I was never even told that there were talks about this issue two years ago, let alone ask for my opinion. The sheriff completely made it up.
8. The interested agencies have already "saved up" half a million in "drug money"...couldn't they build an indoor range and make a little money by charging outside agencies to use it?
Of course I brought up all my "issues" with this plan at the meeting and in the process didn't make any friends with the leaders of all the law enforcement agencies in my territory. Not a good feeling when I rely on them for back-up sometimes.
Why is it that so many people see a big wildlife area and only see empty, unused space? What is the value of this land?
What do you think?