What could the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources have been thinking when it decided to partner with the Humane Society of the United States, a group dedicated to eradicating hunting, fishing and trapping?
If it was to save $6,000, which was DNR's portion of the $12,000 cost to air public service announcements reminding residents not to handle young wildlife at this time of year, it wasn't worth it.
A DNR official says his department and HSUS have "common interests." As outdoor journalist Paul Smith points out in the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, "The campaign pairs the DNR, which has a mission that includes supporting fishing, hunting and trapping, and the HSUS, which has filed lawsuits to stop bear hunting in California and bison hunting in Wyoming and is currently involved in a court case to halt hunting on federal wildlife refuges." There's not much common interest there.
Smith adds, "Here in Wisconsin, the HSUS was an opponent of the mentored hunting bill, which allows beginners ages 10 and up to hunt when accompanied by an adult. The bill was signed into law last year." Smith continues, "The HSUS also opposes delisting of the gray wolf in Wisconsin, an action the DNR supports."
While no one will argue with the pro-wildlife message of the campaign, the problem is that by linking itself with HSUS the Wisconsin DNR lends credibility to this well-funded, anti-hunting organization and adds to the confusion that HSUS is affiliated with local animal welfare groups that care for stray dogs and cats. HSUS has no affiliation with such groups.
Wisconsin DNR should end the relationship with HSUS immediately or else risk losing the respect of hunters and wildlife conservationists not only in the state but nationwide.