EAU CLAIRE - With Wisconsin’s new mentored hunting law, youngsters 10 and 11 years old will be joining the upcoming gun deer hunt, carrying firearms under the close supervision of their mentors.
Each of these mentors has a big responsibility, and in a critical way so does every other gun hunter in the field this year, said warden supervisor Steve Dewald with the state Department of Natural Resources.
“We obviously want these youth to have a positive experience in their meetings with other hunters,” Dewald said. “These kids are at an impressionable age and what they see this year they will long remember. Our fondest hope is that these young people will be made to feel welcome in the community of hunters.”
And so everyone who hunts becomes a mentor. It has always been this way. And while a few violators will attract attention, thousands of hunter conservationists will quietly pursue their passion for wildlife this fall, following not only the rules but strict, personal codes of safety and responsibility.
To celebrate and honor these hunter conservationists, the state Department of Natural Resources and the La Crosse Tribune proudly announce the opening of nominations for the 13th annual Ethical Hunter Award.
“We are asking hunters to acknowledge ethical behavior in other hunters when they see it,” Dewald said.
Dewald, outdoor writer Jerry Davis and La Crosse Tribune outdoor editor Bob Lamb created the award in 1997 in an effort to bring attention to the positive contributions made by Wisconsin’s safe and ethical hunters.
“This is a statewide award, and every year we get nominations from all across Wisconsin,” Dewald said. “That’s a good sign.”
The award signifies the qualities of “hunters helping others rather than pursuing personal gain” and “hunters engaged in behavior that positively reflects on the tradition of hunting.”
Dewald encourages people who have nominated hunters in the past to consider whether the person they nominated would still qualify and to consider nominating that person again. There have been persons nominated in the past who would have won the award if nominated in a different year.
These stories that come in the mail illustrate what wildlife and law enforcement professionals already know – that positive and often admirable behavior is common among the majority of hunters, Dewald said.
The following are requirements to be eligible to receive the Ethical Hunter Award:
The nominee must be a licensed Wisconsin hunter.
The ethical hunting act must have taken place in Wisconsin during the 2009 calendar year.
Written nominations should contain the name, address and telephone number of the witness or witnesses to the behavior that led to the nomination.
Written nominations should be sent to Warden Supervisor Steve Dewald at the Department of Natural Resources, 3550 Mormon Coulee Road, La Crosse, WI 54601 by Jan. 15, 2010.
An 18-year-old Rhinelander hunter received the award last year for helping a young woman hunter whom he met out in the field to trail, field dress and retrieve a 17-point buck that she had shot but was unable to find.
Other award recipients in previous years have been recognized for:
- assisting a conservation warden who was dealing with a dangerous subject
- restoring wildlife habitat
- making private lands available to new hunters
- providing opportunities for disabled hunters
- rendering aid to a citizen at a serious car accident
- Special youth awards are also given to youngsters who hunt ethically.
FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Steve Dewald, warden supervisor – (608) 785-9970 or Ed Culhane, a DNR communications specialist, at (715) 839-3715
Source: Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources