Those of you that have followed my blog for awhile know that every now and then I have to vent.
Warning: this is going to be one of those times, but I believe some good can come from my venting. Please read on.
What do you tell your kids when you see all the trash scattered around our waters, our fishing holes? What do you tell your kids when folks abuse our fish & wildlife and natural resources? Over the years I have told my kids that people are bigger pigs than the pigs themselves. I am sorry to the pigs I offended with that statement. Unfortunately, this fact was proved to me once again.
Let me give you a little backround: If you hunt and fish in Nebraska you know that about 97% of this state is owned by private individuals and finding places to hunt and fish can be a challenge. A couple of years ago “we”, the Nebraska Game & Parks Commission, started a new program called “Open Fields and Waters”. Through that program we pay private landowners to allow public access for hunting and/or fishing on their lands. Last fall I highlighted some of the fishing I have already taken advantage of through that program, http://outdoornebraska.ne.gov/blogs/2010/10/open-waters/ .
My son and I took advantage of some excellent ice fishing on another one of those Open Fields/Open Waters properties last winter. The catch & release fishing we experienced there last winter was excellent! This was on a southeast Nebraska farm pond; a pond the landowner WANTED to share with others. Sure, he is getting paid some money to open that pond to public fishing, but he is not allowing access for the money–he simply wants others to be able to enjoy fishing on his pond!
Now, you would think that people would treat a property like that as their own, and by far, most do. But late last Friday, I got this news release.
Game and Parks Seeks Information on Vandalism
LINCOLN, Neb. – The Nebraska Game and Parks Commission is seeking information about vandalism at an Open Fields and Waters program site.
An outhouse, fence and a fire ring belonging to the landowner enrolled in the walk-in hunting and fish access program recently were vandalized. The site is north of Unadilla in Otoe County.
Nebraska Wildlife Crimestoppers is offering a reward of up to $1,000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of those responsible.
“This area offers a wonderful fishing opportunity,” Game and Parks wildlife biologist Jeff Blaser said. “This vandalism does not reflect the respect the public has for the Open Fields and Waters sites in general. We are making every effort to find those who are responsible for the damage. Game and Parks is committed to working with landowners in providing public walk-in hunting and fishing access in Nebraska.”
The Open Fields and Waters program, through contracts with landowners, opens private land to public hunting and fishing access in Nebraska.
Anyone with information about the case can call Crimestoppers at 800-742-7627, conservation officer Russ Mort at 402-209-1506 or the Otoe County Sheriff’s Office at 402-873-9560.
Want to see what the vandals did?
I cannot tell you how furious this makes me! How many landowners would wish to allow access to their lands and waters if those areas were treated like this? I can name you several areas that I used to be able to fish that are now closed to public access because of idiots and incidents like this! Believe me, you start taking away fishing spots and I take it personally!
See the news release I posted above–you have been asked to help catch the scum that did this. If you wish, there is even a reward being offered. Our fish & wildlife and natural resources belong to all of us. What some scum did to this Open Fields/Open Waters area was done to OUR area! To YOUR area, to MY area! It is obvious that whoever did this has no respect for our fish & wildlife resources nor respect for others. They deserve to be caught and deserve to be prosecuted to the full extent of the law; I do not know what extent that might be, but in my opinion folks who do some thing like this should never be allowed to utilize any of our fish & wildlife or parks resources, ever.