President’s Message

BEAR CAMP CHRONICLES

Greetings to everyone and I hope you all had a good time at the Annual Meeting. It was certainly a busy weekend but nice to see you all there.

To all of the new members of the Board of Directors I congratulate you and welcome you to the Board. To all of the outgoing Board members I also thank you for all of your contributions and sacrifices you have made over the years. It is greatly appreciated by all of us here in the WBHA.

As your new president I was hoping for a little bit of a grace period before being thrown into the fire that this job can present. Regretfully that is not the case. Since taking office our bear hunting friends from California have been fighting to keep their bear and bobcat hunting seasons. Carl Schoettel and I have been in contact with them and are working with Rob Sexton from the US Sportsmen Alliance to assist in reversing this proposed legislation. I must tell you all, that the prognosis is grim. SB 1221 which it is called has already gone through the Senate Natural Resources Committee and was voted upon and passed by the full California Senate. At this time it is going to the Assembly but as I have said things do
not look good.

What is unfortunate is that this was presented as a “Clean Air” bill and as you all know clean air in California is a very big issue. Unfortunately for their bear and bobcat hunters it is a bill that most legislators will not be voting against. As you all may suspect this bill is supported by the Humane Society of the United States, without question the most notorious, left wing, and anti-hunting organization in America.

What is distressing about this situation is that it seems to be retaliation directed at the hound hunting community for supporting a Fish and Game Commissioner that went on a legal mountain lion hunt in another state. The HSUS had donated money to California’s Department of Fish and Game and after this Commissioner went on that hunt the HSUS wanted him relieved of his duty. With the support of the hound hunters of California he was able to retain his job but now they have decided to put a target on the back of California bear and bobcat hunters.

As many of you may remember our Wisconsin DNR also took a donation from the HSUS for an ad campaign they did a couple of years ago. My concern is when will it be our turn? Hopefully, with the help of the “Welch Group”, our lobbyist, and the friends we have made at the capital we can catch these situations before they become as big of a problem as they are for California.

To those of you that reported this to us and shared their concerns we thank you because it assures us that we are vigilant and willing to help our neighbor if they should need a hand. As a Board, this means we will not have to fight this battle ourselves and that we can count on our members to come to our aid when called upon.

At this time we do not know the final result of this action but as it comes to pass we will let you know of the outcome. Let’s hope for the best, and continue to prepare for the worst because as you all know it would be a great victory for the HSUS to take down Wisconsin next.

On to better things, our former WBHA President Hubert Malsin is well on his way to recovery from a brain aneurysm, and according to his wife Teresa is starting to get better quickly now that he is home. She said it is a significant difference since he got out of the rehabilitation center. Please keep Hubert in your thoughts and prayers.

As the training season is upon us please be mindful of the image you present while out hunting. Keeping game laws in mind and the image we present is important when dealing with the rest of the community and other fellow sportsmen. It gives us a better position if our neighbors are supporting us when we are negotiating with the legislature or the DNR. IMAGE IS EVERYTHING.

Last but not least the Board of Directors is hoping everyone has a great training season and even a better harvest season. Remember, we can now train without a harvest permit. Keep this in mind if the bear population should start to decrease noticeably in your area. Again, I hope everyone has a great season………….Al Lobner

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