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“From the day of your birth, to the ride in the hearse, things are never so bad, they couldn’t get worse.” — Unknown

Things are getting much worse. Those of us who investigate have no other choice than to trumpet an urgent wake-up call. Only radical action will save wildlife from the genocidal destruction planned. The scale of the problem calls for forming a movement.

Chris Hedges, former New York Times writer, speaks of how unfettered capitalism “commodifies the natural world to exploit until exhausted and collapsed.” He says we have lost the capacity for the sacred — that the “cult of hedonism” has us cannibalizing ourselves to our own demise.

Life is not survival of the fittest but survival of those who cooperate and respect each other. This absurd top predator/Marlborough man/cowboy/warrior caricature must be harvested for a new paradigm of manhood as gentleness.

I was in my old neighborhood, Maple Bluff, over the weekend. A former neighbor stopped me to say, “We really enjoy reading your column. They (the DNR and hunters) have gone crazy! They want wolves and cranes and are killing everything!”

Yes, they are. Here are a few stories from citizens:

“I have no fawns anymore. … They have murdered all of my precious friends, the reason I stayed here. I used to go into my woods, my secret place that brought me such joy and peace, and sit with the deer, even the bucks, and now they are gone. Every now and then I see a deer and instead of bringing a smile to my face I wonder if they will survive next winter’s kill.” — Lane Ferrante

This video shows the rescue of a newborn baby deer:

I met Jan Killian, office manager of Hunt Hill Audubon Sanctuary, when I called about the proposed crane hunt. She emailed me describing a trip she took to Crex Meadows in northwest Wisconsin this March. She photographed a young beaver:

“So I got out of the car and started to talk to him, and just his head was above water ... and he was stationary. I took some more pictures of him, complementing him on what a handsome fellow he was and thanked him for allowing me to see him. Then it hit me ... so I took a step closer and he dived down, whew ... I was so relieved, but he popped right back up. He was in a leg-hold trap.” She describes driving “like a wild woman” to Crex headquarters and phoning the DNR. She was told that trapping is legal north of Highway 64 until mid-April (through the birthing season). “I thanked her in a broken voice and sat in the car and sobbed.”

When she called the next day, the beaver had been reported again that morning, still struggling to live. A wildlife biologist has been sent out “to take care of it.” Jan asked if the trapper would be charged for not checking his trap in 24 hours, offering her picture of the beaver and documentation of the time. She was not called back.

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She told me: “It is very hard at times for me to live in an area that most people consider anything in the wild a food or trophy source. I hate fall ... it means death to me and is almost more than I can bear.”

The DNR deems it illegal to help an orphaned fawn. If called, they will come out and shoot the fawn in the head. A friend of mine has raised eight fawns over the past five years. Last summer she had two tiny babies she let run around her house the first six weeks. “You don’t just give them a bottle – they need nurturing time,” she told me. She bottle fed them for six months. We argued about releasing them just after the nine-day gun deer season, because hunting continued into January. She released them the end of November. She did not tell me until a few months ago what happened then.

Her neighbor has a 30-year-old grandson who likes to empty his gun into trees. He knew she had raised these fawns. The second day after the release, my friend was out giving the now-free deer a bottle. One walked off into the woods. Then she saw the grandson walk into the woods, and heard five shots. When she investigated, she found the fawn shot five times and thrown over a rise.

She said, “That baby was a sweet, loving , innocent soul. He was tame. He ran up to him to play. This is what we are teaching our kids to do.”

The Sportsmen’s Heritage Act to gut the 1964 Wilderness Act has been added to the farm bill, being voted on now. More information can be found on the Wisconsin Wildlife Ethic website.

Patricia Randolph of Portage is a longtime activist for wildlife. madravenspeak@gmail.com or www.wiwildlifeethic.org

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