By The Associated Press

Wisconsin State Journal. November 13, 2021.

Editorial: The least Wisconsin can do is honor the Ojibwe’s treaty rights for wolves

Some pretty simple math suggests the state of Wisconsin mistreated Native American tribes last February by allowing the killing of 218 wolves.

The state’s bag limit was 119 wolves for state-licensed hunters and trappers, while 81 wolves were allocated to several Ojibwe tribes.

But the tribes, who consider the wolf sacred, chose not to hunt their allotted animals. That means the state should have limited non-native hunters to 119 wolves.

Instead, 218 were killed — around 20% of the state’s estimated wolf population — by the time the state stopped its hunt after just three days. The state-sanctioned hunters, in effect, used up their quota and the tribes’ (and then some) by the time the DNR halted the season.

That wasn’t the fault of sportsmen and sportswomen, who paid for licenses to hunt. Let’s acknowledge, too, that it was hard for the DNR to predict how quickly wolves would be bagged after years of the animal being protected (assuming they weren’t attacking livestock).

But last February’s wolf hunt wasn’t fair to the tribes, who sued in court, contending their treaty rights were being violated. Understandably, the tribes are now worried that a wolf season this fall would “nullify their share” of the animals again, according to their attorney.

Chief U.S. District Judge James D. Peterson sounds appropriately sympathetic. He expressed “deep misgivings” last month about a fall wolf season, which a separate court challenge has stalled on environmental grounds, at least for now. The season was supposed to begin this weekend.

It’s important to remember that all of Wisconsin was once the territory of Native American tribes. European settlers persecuted and pushed the tribes off most of their land.

The least Wisconsin can do now is honor the tribes’ treaty rights and a 1983 court decision granting them a portion of natural resources to manage as they wish in roughly the northern third of the state.

At the same time, the state should make sure the wolf population is stable before allowing more hunting and trapping. The DNR and its board have disagreed on an appropriate bag limit for this fall, assuming the courts allow a wolf season to go forward. Wildlife scientists with the agency recommended a kill limit of 130 animals. The DNR policy board increased that to 300. Then Democratic Gov. Tony Evers’ DNR lowered it back to 130, some of which the tribes would control.

However the legal disputes are resolved, the tribes deserve a fair share of the wolves to preserve. They consider the majestic animals their “brothers.” Their rights must be respected if wolf hunting resumes.


Kenosha News. November 14, 2021.

Editorial: Aaron Rodgers needs to be better off the field

These past 11 days, across Wisconsin one of the biggest topics of discussion has been Aaron Rodgers.

Unfortunately it hasn’t been about his quarterback rating or his game.

It’s mostly about words he said in late August when he was asked during a news conference about his COVID-19 vaccination status.

He was asked directly: “Are you vaccinated?”

He answered just as directly: “Yeah. I’ve been immunized.”

He even went on to say: “There are guys on the team who haven’t been vaccinated. I think it’s a personal decision. I’m not going to judge those guys.”

Now, three months later, after he was diagnosed with COVID, fans learned that he supposedly didn’t mean he had received the vaccine when he looked reporters in the eyes and said, “I’ve been immunized.”

He claims that is just how people took it. The reporters didn’t ask any follow-up questions.

That is about as bad as when former President Bill Clinton said, “I did not have sexual relations with that woman.” We know how that ended up going for him.

Following news that Rodgers is not vaccinated against COVID, he explained his decision during a Nov. 5 appearance on radio’s “The Pat McAfee Show.”

He didn’t apologize for misleading fans or act remorseful.

The cocky Rodgers we are all are now used to seeing instead justified his misleading statement and, in a way, made light of it, saying: “I realize I’m in the crosshairs of the woke mob right now so before my final nail gets put in my cancel culture casket I think I’d like to set the record straight on so many of the blatant lies that are out there on myself right now.”

He said that when he made that statement about his vaccination status, there was a “witch hunt” going on regarding who was or wasn’t vaccinated.

He said that he has an allergy to ingredients in the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, so those two were off the table for him. He said he had concerns about the Johnson and Johnson vaccine because of adverse effects some of the people he knew had experienced. He was also concerned about fertility.

The issue is not whether he was vaccinated. It’s about how he misled his fans.

Those after-the-fact explanations make sense. He should have tried being more honest, more up front, and explained that at the time.

Going forward, Rodgers should watch himself. He already got on fans’ bad sides when he sat out of off-season team training and only returned to the team at the last possible moment.

Many have turned a blind eye to Rodgers’ behavior off the field because he is so good on the field. But that doesn’t mean it’s right. Rodgers’ behavior off the field needs to improve.


Racine Journal Times. November 15, 2021.

Editorial: Deer hunt continues a Wisconsin tradition

A frost finally came to southeastern Wisconsin last week and there were a few snow flurries to dust things off.

That means, once again, that fall hunting seasons have begun and they go into full swing this weekend when the nine-day gun deer season opens Saturday, sending more than half a million hunters into the woods and marshlands across the state in hopes of bagging a big buck and putting some venison in the freezer.

It’s a Wisconsin tradition that brings friends and families together, not just to hunt, but to reconnect and swap stories of the hunts of yesteryear as they gather in deer camps and north woods taverns.

The fall hunt has a huge economic impact on Wisconsin, which the state Department of Natural Resources estimates at $1 billion a year in tourism and hunter spending.

Over the years, the deer hunt has become safer and safer. Last year there was one firearm-related death and nine others where people were injured. In 2019 there were no deaths and only four firearm-involved injuries.

We hope this year goes safely as well and that each and every hunter makes it home for Thanksgiving dinner or the end of the week.

Even as the Wisconsin hunt tradition remains strong, there have been some changes in the deer hunt and — like everything else in the past two years — the COVID-19 pandemic has also triggered some changes.

For years hunters used to gather at DNR check-in stations to register their deer, recount the hunt to others gathered there and wait to see who else was bringing in their results of a successful hunt. But nowadays most hunters register their deer online or by phone over a day or so and those gatherings are fading away.

So, too, COVID risks changed how families and friends gathered last year. Some hunters continued with their gatherings as they did in the past, but last year some skipped the bar-gatherings and the sit-down dinners over concerns of face-to-face exposure. We read of some hunter camps where people took RVs to live in during the hunt so everyone wouldn’t be gathered inside the same cabin. Some skipped the hunt altogether.

And the specter of COVID hangs over the deer herd itself this year. Recent news reports from Penn State University researchers and wildlife officials in Iowa showed that over 80 percent of deer in their samples taken in Iowa tested positive for the virus. That followed on the heels of another report from deer sampled in Illinois, Michigan, New York and Pennsylvania between January 2020 and March 2021 that showed 33 percent had COVID antibodies.

To be clear, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture report, “there is no evidence that animals, including deer, are playing a significant role in the spread of SARS-CoV-2 to people.” Nor is there any evidence that captive deer who were experimentally infected with COVID showed any signs of clinical illness.

But the Penn State researchers expressed concerns that COVID “infection of an animal host could result in it becoming a reservoir that drives the emergence of new variants with risk of spillback to humans.” We hope that doesn’t come to pass.

Still, some wildlife officials have recommended taking precautions for hunters processing deer — wearing gloves or even wearing masks if they’re near the respiratory tract of a white-tailed deer.

We hope the advent of COVID-19 vaccines can lessen those worries and bring back the traditional hunting gatherings. For hunters, we would urge them to get a shot before they take a shot.