Time For Governor Dayton To Go Sit In The Woods

Ever since 2003 the Governor of Minnesota, then Governor Tim Pawlenty, has honored the deer hunting tradition in our state with the Minnesota Governor’s Deer Hunting Opener celebration.   It mostly just amounts to a bunch of pomp and circumstance for the Explore Minnesota Tourism Department and the Minnesota Deer Hunter’s Association, but rightly so it spotlights a big industry in Minnesota which includes lots of orange-clad participants who enjoy their time spent in the woods.

IMG_0279In full disclosure, back in 2006, I got to host Governor Pawlenty here at the farm for that annual deer hunt.   Each year it bounces around to different areas of the state and this year the 2013 celebration is in Fergus Falls, Minnesota beginning on Friday and lasting into Saturday.

Okay, further disclosure I am not a big fan of our current Governor Mark Dayton.   Fair to say we don’t share many similar views on politics.   But apparently we also don’t share similar views on deer hunting.   Ever since becoming governor he makes a token appearance and departs the GDHO event stating he is not a deer hunter and doesn’t want to take part in the actual hunt.

Therein lies my frustration with the current Minnesota Governor.   Oh, sure, when he took office he was quick to leave his own impression on the sporting world by starting the Minnesota Governor’s Pheasant Hunt.   But he refuses to hunt deer.   Why?   Claims he’s not a deer hunter and doesn’t care to shoot a deer.

Fair enough, but there’s much more to deer hunting than actually pulling the trigger.   How the hell is a politician going to adequately claim they can relate to me as a sportsman when they refuse to experience the sort of outdoors activities that fuel my soul.   In Minnesota each fall there are over 10 deer hunters afield for every pheasant hunter, and that ratio is growing each year as folks give up on the AWOL pheasant population.

When Governor Pawlenty hunted with me he spent time with other hunters in my camp.   He learned what motivates a person to get up at outrageously early times, dress in layers of warm clothes, and then head for the dark woods to sit and wait.

When Governor Pawlenty hunted with our group he got to experience nature come to life as the sun peaked over the horizon to slowly warm the frosty morning air.   He witnessed nature at what I believe is its finest hours of the entire day scurrying to life.   Indeed, the deer hunter is sitting in a balcony theater seat watching the drama known as nature unfold 360 degrees in all directions around them.   How can life get any better than that?

Deer hunting is very different than pheasant hunting.   Oh, sure, both activities enjoy nature in its own unique way…but calling yourself a pheasant hunter in no way provides any understanding as to how life as a deer hunter is enjoyed.   There simply is no substitute for experiencing deer hunting first hand.

It’s almost like the backyard bird watcher who enjoys feeding and watching birds from the kitchen window.   Gives them a better sense of nature when they can observe it with their own eyes.

But remove that wall and pane of glass and suddenly it opens up a new dimension to be sitting out in the woods motionless and have a Black-capped Chickadee land on the barrel of your rifle completely oblivious to your presence.   Or a flock of wild turkeys completely surrounding your tree scratching in the leaves unaware they are being watched ever so closely from a perch above.   Or a pair of red squirrels frolicking in the nearby tree attempting their death-defying acrobatics.

Notice I made no mention of deer.   That’s right.   Deer hunting is so much bigger than just killing a deer and bragging about it to your friends.   Of course, I would expect a non-deer hunter to assume bringing home the venison is the sole motivation for being in the deer woods this time of the year.   Yet, that’s the sort of misguided notion people have about things when they don’t take time to experience an activity first-hand for themselves.

Surely, if deer hunting is important enough for 500,000 Minnesotans to spend countless hours out sitting in the trees this coming weekend, our state’s chief executive officer can share a few hours of his precious time discovering for himself the many wonders of deer hunting.   Governor Dayton, deer hunters deserve that sort of respect and showing of support from you when acting in the capacity of governor of a sportsman-oriented state like Minnesota.

©2013 Jim Braaten. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction without Prior Permission.

How Committed To The Cause Are Gun-grabbers?

Right now…in Minnesota…a skirmish for our gun rights is taking place.   On Monday, President Obama was in Minneapolis to underscore his support for sweeping new gun control legislation—both federal and at the state government levels.   Then on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday this week the Minnesota House of Representatives are holding a series of hearings on a handful of bills that, if they became law, would make Minnesota one of the most restrictive places in the country to own most guns.

And so, I’ve listened to the debate so far both yesterday and today.   In essence, it’s the same old story we’ve heard for years with now the emotional twist of some mass shootings thrown in for good measure.   Will the testimony really have an influence on the legislative committee?   I doubt it…I think both sides are pretty well set with how they will eventually vote.   In some ways these committee hearings take place just to give both sides a chance to air their views…to feel better somehow their message was at least listened to.

But, today’s hearing was most striking to me.   The author of HF241–Assault Weapon Ban Bill in presenting her opening remarks to the hearing about the bill had a decision to make.   Does she stay and fully introduce the bill while being available for questions, or does she leave the hearing early to attend a speaking engagement at a nearby theater for a bunch of school students?   Tough choice, huh?

On one hand she’s presenting legislation for enactment directly impacting everyone’s constitutional rights.   On the other hand, she certainly wouldn’t want to disappoint a bunch of school kids who my guess is doesn’t even know who Rep. Hausman is anyway.   Check out the video beginning at the 17:30 minute point and see what she decides.

More importantly, Rep. Hausman didn’t even turn her duties over to a co-author of the bill.   Nope!   Instead she turned her duties over to Heather Martens who is the executive director of Protect Minnesota.   To me that act alone shows a real lack of legislative commitment to one’s cause and duties as a legislator.

Frankly, I wonder how committed many sponsors of gun-grabbing legislation are no matter what legislative body they exist in.   They don’t have the facts on their side…so, instead they peddle raw emotion.   And that sometimes works great when terrible events are vivid in people’s minds and it overshadows logical thinking.   Yet, the truth is most poor decisions people tend to make in life are those based purely on emotion.   Take emotion out of the equation and allow logical, open-minded thinking to replace the discussion.

Right now it’s obvious the gun-grabbers are throwing lots of misguided gun legislation out there hoping something will stick.   I truly believe in their hearts they are not as committed to their positions as those of us who push for gun rights are committed to our beliefs.

There are many battles yet to be waged.   There will be lots of misinformation disseminated and twisted in the media about these and other proposed new gun control measures.   But in the end, if we are battling an opponent who lacks the commitment level we have as gun owners possess, their actions and words will ultimately ring hollow and will have no merit in our society.

©2013 Jim Braaten. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction without Prior Permission.

Of Band-aids, Guns, Preschoolers and Politicians

From time to time my four year old will come running to me in obvious pain and crying.   She’s not looking for real medical attention of any kind—there often is no blood involved.   Nor, does she want daddy to simply kiss her boo boo or give her a big, tight hug.   As her daddy I know what gives her the most comfort in these situations.   She needs a band-aid.

Now, mind you, the band-aid is not covering a real wound…just a perceived wound in the mind of a preschooler.   Nothing…and I do mean nothing…relieves her stress in these situations better or faster than a band-aid expertly applied.

And sometimes one is not enough.   When I see she is still fighting back the tears after sporting a freshly applied band-aid, I will occasionally grab one more…and another…and another.   You see, when a problem continues to persist I’ve learned that applying multiple band-aids on one tiny leg will eventually cause us both to break out in laughter.   Voilà!   Problem solved.

Right now gun owners are dealing with lots of band-aids.   Oh, these aren’t band-aids to help heal any emergent medical problem we have as a group.   Nope, they are band-aids some folks believe are necessary to solve a societal problem through restrictive gun legislation.   Unfortunately, a series of evil events have occurred in our world and a faction of lawmakers, along with the media, have devised their own form of a band-aid approach.

Small_pistolNow, I’m certainly not here to suggest we shouldn’t learn from and try to prevent future tragedies in our society.   Quite the contrary.   It’s the manner in how we react that displays if we deal with it like a 50 year old, or a four year old.   One expects that an adult has a certain maturity level suggesting a logical and well-thought out response.   A young child?   Well, of course they will be more reactionary looking for whatever gives some immediate resolution to a perceived terrible problem.

Let’s be honest.   At no other time in American history has the anti-gun movement felt so emboldened and powerful as they do right now.   They feel this is their time.   High emotions are being stoked on a daily basis with biased news reporting.   The enemy isn’t the criminal who commits these cowardly acts…it is the gun…THE GUN I tell you!   The gun is ALWAYS the problem.   Remove the gun and…Voilà!   The problem magically will go away.

Yeah, it will work just like that…won’t it?   Maybe in the mind of a small child who wants some immediate action, but not for an advanced society who should be mature enough to know far better.

In the days and weeks to come this blog will expose how gun control is a big hoax being perpetrated by folks who want to take away our freedoms.   Folks, it has nothing to do with protecting children in some school classroom or preventing another tragedy in some movie theater.   Indeed, this is about a group of politicians who want to take action to appease the whims of their voter base.   THEY WANT TO GET RE-ELECTED and they see restrictions on our guns as their first-class ticket to enabling political longevity.

How wrong they are.   I’m not about to tell my four-year old that putting a band-aid on an imaginary owie is a silly thing to do.   But I sure as hell will tell my politicians how taking a band-aid approach in dealing with gun violence is not the proper American thing to be doing.   Any solution that restricts my long-standing, God-given freedom as an American is simply juvenile and should be treated as such.

©2013 Jim Braaten. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction without Prior Permission.