Traplines on Cypress Creek

    Here we are between the holiday convenience Memorial Day and the real one on Saturday. We keep asking how we’ve lost so much of our country’s pride and yet we keep swapping it out for a three-day weekend.

    There are some very exciting things happening within the state programs for hunters here in Delaware. As a member of the Hunter Education Advisory Panel, I get to see some of these things as they happen. I feel very privileged to be part of making some of them happen. I’ll cover a few of the better ones out there.

    On July 1, it is hoped that every person currently in the hunter education system will be able to gain access to their personal information, make certain updates and revisions, and have access to print a valid hunter education certification card from any PC in the world.

    This has been in the works for some time, but we hope that when the switch is tripped on that date, the system will eliminate tons of bureaucracy. Hunter education instructors will be able to see class rosters, input names remotely and provide successful students with a valid certification immediately.

    For hunters, they can go to the website and check their own personal data. All an individual will need is to sign in with their last name, date of birth and last four digits of their Social Security number. One can see what classes have been completed along with dates as well as printing out duplicate or replacement hunter education certification cards from the comfort of their home, or from some outfitters’ PC in Alaska when they realize they left their original at home here in Delaware.

    One of the most contentious issues has been within the master hunter program and the numbers of people who seem not to match up with the standards all of us had envisioned.  From now on, anyone applying to enter the Delaware Master Hunter (DMH) Program will have to provide a copy of a “clean” background investigation. That’s an “out of pocket” expense by the candidate and if the record has any finding, they will not be allowed to participate in the program. Even minor offenses will have to be expunged before acceptance.  We felt that it would be improper for us, as a committee to decide what issues were “serious enough” and which ones weren’t. You can call it a cop out, but it is not our records to protect.

    Next issue was the controlled hunts held in New Castle Country the last two years. DMH participants will be advised this no longer will be considered a right of the DMH but a privilege offered to only those deserving. Aside from meeting all the requirements, any DMH applying will be required to qualify with their intended firearm before they will be allowed to participate. A hunter will have to fire three successive rounds within a three-inch square at a distance of 50 yards each and every year they plan to hunt. This qualification will satisfy the yearly requirement of classes to keep the DMH certified.

    Just a note here. On more than a few occasions, panel members receive reports and complaints from the community. It will be our policy to look at these issues, but no guarantees will be made as to actions unless those reports and complaints are attributed. That means you’ll need to sign your statement and give us a means of contacting you. We’ve found that most of these are simply gripes by someone disgruntled trying to cause extra problems. Hearsay is hard to investigate.

    Nationally, some of you may recall that earlier this spring, a veterinarian in North Dakota, a Dr. William Cornatzer, claimed to have had all the deer meat in his freezer analyzed by his laboratory, and they found traces of lead in 60% of the meat. In our politically correct world, North Dakota immediately took between 4,000 and 5,000 pounds of venison earmarked for homeless shelters and the needy and discarded it. Minnesota, Wisconsin and Iowa immediately put their venison donation programs on indefinite hold.

    Thankfully, the Iowa natural resources department smelled a rat and decided to run the same test on its meat, but through a professional laboratory under contract. The lab proclaimed none of the tested venison posed any health issues to the public. In addition, the department uncovered the dear doctor was an outspoken critic of lead ammunition anywhere and a member of the Peregrine Fund, an organization supportive of California’s ban on lead ammo. Though the investigation continues, most of us hunters would like to see the doctor charged with wanton waste of wildlife and falsifying data for personal gain. Maybe hitting him in the pocketbook would send a message to many of those agreeing with his ideals.

    And a final not for you boat owners. As most of you already know, the decals you were initially provided would not stick to your vessels. This is another fatal flaw that sometimes exists when government agencies are required to take the low bidder on a project. The state refused to honor the contract and required the tags be reprinted to meet contract specifications. The company dragged its feet for four months but the new shipments have finally arrived and if you haven’t already received your replacement, you soon will.