This week's edition of "Traplines on Cypress Creek" discusses some of the changes being made by the Division of Fish and Wildlife, as well as some firearm issues that have arisen in recent weeks.


Pitchers and catchers are at spring training. That has to mean the light at the end of the tunnel isn’t another train. Perhaps we’ve seen the last of the blizzards now. I’m still skeptical of the weatherman, however, and have my snow blower sitting outside my back door just in case. I don’t think I’m going to be in a hurry to put it back into the shed until March 21 shows up.

One of the bigger stories this past week was the three public comment session on the Fish and Wildlife Deer Management Plan. Since I avoid public bloodlettings, I was not in attendance but it didn’t keep some of our readers from contacting me and venting.

Most hunters are resistant to change in one way or another. If the perception is that something’s being forced on them, they’re not happy. If they are satisfied with status quo, they aren’t happy. So with those thoughts in mind, I still had to listen to a plethora of issues that I’m assuming were not allowed to be addressed at the public comment session.

The biggest was lowering antler spread with the intent of saving younger bucks. Somehow that’s a non-sequitor statement. I guess what I know about whitetail biology doesn’t fit in someone’s mind someplace. Then came addition of crossbows and the ubiquitous Sunday hunting issues.

I guess the Sunday hunting issue also raised eyebrows in that the reason F&W gave for not pursuing it was that there would be no money to pay for manning check stations. Since we no longer have check stations, it then turned to legislative intervention.

My biggest contention is  decisions again are being made from legislative as well as private individuals with little or no vested interest in the program. Since the state has a salaried deer biologist, I can’t help but wonder why Professor Jake Bowman of the University of Delaware is involved and why final decision seem to gravitate towards his opinions.

Either way, you can read the entire plan on the internet by going to www.fw.delaware.gov and clicking on the hyperlink. If you don’t like what you see, contact your local politician.

There are is some serious streamlining going to happen in the near future. DNREC Secretary Collin O’Mara has suggested the division be bifurcated into Natural Resources and Environmental Control. This would fold Parks and Recreation, Fish and Wildlife, and Soil & Water Conservation into the Natural Resources.

Perhaps such a move would eliminate the duplicity of some functions as well as eliminating that deplorable bureaucratic snafu of crossing the lines between the offices involved. If that’s accomplished and saves money as well, it’s a win-win situation.

Finally as I reported last week, the Delaware Housing Authority has failed to move off-center even after being threatened with a lawsuit for it’s insistence that tenants in public housing be precluded from owning legal firearms. Though Newark quickly removed the stipulation, the Wilmington and Dover Public Housing and the Delaware Housing Authority stand fast.

Since they failed to act, the state legislature has become active. Delaware HB 357, authored by Sen. Joseph Booth, R-Georgetown, and Rep. John Atkins, D-Millsboro, has been cosigned by at least a dozen more legislators. It is intended to remove the stipulation and preclude the housing authorities from implementing such violations of citizens’ rights without undergoing the scrutiny of a public comment period. Usually, such an introduction is enough to inspire quick actions, but the three groups still haven’t moved.

Sen. Robert Venables, D-Laurel, didn’t mince words in his statements. He accused the bureaucrats of enacting bans while ignoring their requirements for public comment periods.

“I am allowed to have a gun in my home to defend myself and my family,” he said. “It seems unfair that good, decent people in a poor economic situation can’t defend their property. I think our Constitution should not only apply to people who own their own homes, but to people who live in public housing as well.”

You can read the Caesar Rodney Institute blog explaining the situation and read comments of concerned lawmakers and private individuals at http://criblog.wordpress.com/2010/02/18/house-bill-357-introduced-to-overturn-public-housing-gun-bans/.