GUEST OPINION - in the Nov. 13, 2007, Tomahawk Leader:
By Scott Henker
Senior Resource Manager of Plum Creek
Thousands of Wisconsin residents will soon take part of a long-standing tradition, one that involves family, friends, camaraderie and the state’s beautiful forests and wildlife. Of course, our forests play host to a wide range of outdoor recreational opportunities, but many consider Wisconsin’s gun deer hunting season a state holiday of sorts – marked by blaze orange and hunting camps.
As the deer hunting season approaches, Plum Creek encourages everyone to be respectful of the land and others, and to stay safe while enjoying the beauty and sport of the season.
According to the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, more than 600,000 hunters participate annually in Wisconsin’s nine-day gun deer season. With that in mind, Plum Creek is proud to provide free public access to approximately 98 percent of our forestland. We extend an invitation to hunters to enjoy our lands this hunting season, and to do so respectfully.
Specifically, we ask hunters not to leave trash in the woods, put marks on the trees, put up permanent tree stands or camp overnight. Additionally, some of our lands’ roadways may be gated off to protect our roads and environmentally sensitive areas from motorized traffic. If that is the case, we ask hunters to abide by those rules and only walk onto that property – as protecting our forests and the sensitive areas makes better wildlife habitat and, in turn, better lands for hunting.
Of course, it is also important to remember that Wisconsin’s forests provide more than an arena for deer hunting. From logging and paper mills to specialty wood products, tourism and raw materials, our forests add great value to our state. At Plum Creek, we are proud of our role in maintaining Wisconsin’s outdoor treasures, and ask that hunters help in our efforts and follow rules, obey signs and respect the land so that future generations can also enjoy all that our forests have to offer.
As the state’s largest private landowner, we have thousands of acres of land open to the public for recreation and hunting. Please feel free to stop by or contact our offices in Hayward or Tomahawk with any questions. Such efforts to plan ahead and know which land is open for hunting access are important steps to take prior to the hunting season.
And as a reminder, we ask that hunters be careful and take the appropriate safety precautions while participating in this year’s deer hunting season. According to the DNR, a majority of hunting accidents can be traced back to a violation of one or more of the following rules:
•Treat every firearm as if it is loaded and never assume a gun is unloaded.
•Always point the muzzle in a safe direction.
•Be certain of your target and what is beyond it.
•Keep your finger outside the trigger guard until you are ready to shoot.
On behalf of Plum Creek and its employees, we wish hunters a safe and successful hunting season. We hope that they enjoy Wisconsin’s long-standing tradition and are able to appreciate the forests that make it possible.