Public Land

I know this is a food blog for the most part but most of the food on here is wild game. That said I feel this is appropriate. I live just south of the Minneapolis area, it takes me 20 minutes to get to downtown Minneapolis and it also takes me 20 minutes to get to the nearest piece of state land that is legal for me to hunt. I hunt mostly public land for all species of animals that you have read about me cooking on this blog. There are some exceptions to this but I would say that 90% of my hunting takes place on public land. Here in Minnesota a lot of that land is designated Wildlife Management Area.

These are plots of land that have been purchased by or donated to the Department of Natural Resources. There purpose is to provide anyone who would like to get out and experience nature or wildlife an opportunity to do so free of charge. They are mostly used by hunters like my self who do not own land to hunt on. They are also used by people who want to go out and view nature. Whatever the reason for use, the people who use them are there to enjoy nature.

That is a wonderful thing, and should be treated with the respect it deserves. There are a few rules one must follow when using the WMA's in Minnesota. Do not dump trash on these areas, if you brought it out there with you then bring it home with you. Do not dump carcasses at the areas, no promiscuous shooting or target practice and do not clean you game in the parking area.

I was recently out at one of these WMA's this past week to do a little deer hunting and when I pulled into the parking area the pictures you see here are what I saw. Somebody had breasted out a bird and then left the rest of the carcass in the parking area. I like to clean a lot of my game while I am in the field, it keeps the meat fresh and improves the quality of the meal I prepare. I do not do this in the parking area. I usually do this out in the field where I shoot the animal and not where it is going to leave a mess for everyone to deal with.

The target you see here was one of three that were tape to a tree and shot up. Again right in the parking lot, but they weren't the only things that would lead me to believe someone was wasting rounds. As I hunted the area I found 5 pop bottles fit over tree branches that were completely shot up. That leads me to the last thing, the garbage that was thrown out everywhere. Yes these are public lands but they are designated for public use to enjoy the outdoors not for you to get drunk and leave alcohol bottles or soda bottles all over the place.

All of these activities are illegal but clearly no one cares. While I was out that day I saw dozens of squirrels, 2 owls and a decent but not huge 8 point buck. For the most part a good day in the woods but I am not going to get to enjoy days like that for much longer if stuff like this continues to happen. If people continue to abuse the public land that has been set aside for everyone to use the state is going to restrict access to it and we as hunters, wildlife enthusiast and nature lovers are going to lose the access we need. If that happens I say good luck trying to find a farmer who will grant you access to his land so you can dump your trash, get drunk and shoot up his land.