Dear Editor: There is this mythology that exists in what I like to call the “recreation industrial complex” where government agencies want you to believe that the only way to “enjoy” the outdoors is by killing something and that killing is “conservation.” Living and breathing beings are referred to as “resources” that exist to be “harvested.” In this world these same beings are not born, they are “produced.” Also in this world these beings do not grow up. Instead they are “recruited.” In states like Wisconsin, the recreation industrial complex wants you to believe that their participants are “conservationists.” They will tell you that because someone bought a license to kill a wild animal that somehow they are “funding conservation.” Nothing could be further from the truth. The system is designed to shut out “non-consumptive” users from both the funding and regulatory mechanisms of agencies like the DNR. From the good old boy club known as the “Wisconsin Conservation Congress” to the DNR “advisory committees” to the Natural Resources Board, “non-consumptive” users are deliberately excluded from having any meaningful influence. The recreation industrial complex makes sure that “favored” species exist in abundance even to the detriment of the ecosystem. This includes the breeding and release of non-native Asian pheasants for the sole purpose of them being living targets for the so-called “conservationists.” This also includes the DNR planting fields of crops designed to bait mourning doves for the sole purpose of being killed by “conservationists.” How is this “conservation?” Let’s also not forget how the land is manipulated to “produce” more deer to be “recruited” and then “harvested” by “conservationists” no matter the cost to the ecosystem. Is this system acceptable to you? What is being “conserved” by this system other than the false mythology that “killing is conservation?”

Paul Collins

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