In the spotlight

Wednesday, February 13, 2002

I just got woke-up with some idiot shining a 100,000 candlepower spotlight into my bedroom window. Being a public-minded person, and because I know the DNR is trying to catch people who've been illegally taking trophy deer heads, I called the DNR.

Whereupon I got one of the "great learning lessons of life." It seems, in their infinite wisdom, the solons of the Golden Triangle, otherwise know as legislators, allowed something known as "recreational spotlighting."

My plea to the DNR fell on deaf ears. It seems as though the law currently reads so that spotlighting from roadways is perfectly legal so long as no guns are present in the vehicle.

Well, duh! The vehicle that shone it's light into my bedroom window was equipped with a CB. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that another vehicle, perhaps within radio distance, and with a gun present, might be just over the hill.

If a deer with a trophy rack is located, it might take just minutes for the second vehicle to appear. Throw-in another few minutes for the deer to be shot. Then add several more minutes for the head to be "whacked" off the body. In a space of about 15 minutes, a trophy deer that might grace the wall of a legal hunter had been located, shot, and the head removed for sale to the highest bidder.

This scenario was repeated, probably, at least 11 times in the past few months in the local area. That's how many deer carcasses have been found with heads cut-off, that I know of. There's probably more, many more. The meat, obviously, has been left to rot. At best, it will become coyote food.

Now, the job of law enforcement people is hard-enough, without tying their hands behind their backs. And that's what the twits did down in the Golden Triangle when they allowed "recreational spotlighting," year around. It's opened up all kinds of possibilities for persons doing illegal deeds at night, including night time drug harvesting, maybe?

So, in no uncertain words, I want that spotlighting law changed! Sure, some people might think it's a big joke to shine a spotlight into people's bedrooms at night. I figure I might have had that coming, for some of the things I've said, here. But, my neighbor didn't.

And surely there's a certain "outdoorsy" element in watching animals go through their usual routine at night time. Heck, I've even done it, years, ago, in a state where it was legal at the time. Of course, I never used the light in a town, and, I surely didn't carry a weapon with me.

But from this experience, I know it's darned easy to go "recreational spotlighting," locate a trophy deer, and be in the same patch of woods as the deer as dawn breaks and legal shooting hours arrive. This isn't sportsmanship, in my estimation! All a guy has to do, as dawn breaks, is to shoot straight.

And the old story of being a "sportsman" who likes to watch deer at night doesn't hold, here. This is one of the reasons legal, conservation minded persons get unfairly stuck with the monicker of "slob hunter." And if the law is changed to ban "recreational spotlighting" during hunting seasons only, what's to prevent a person intent on breaking the law from opening the deer season a bit early?

Obviously, the night riders don't shine spotlights into Storm Lake bedroom windows. They probably don't turn on their light when in any town with law enforcement present. But, they don't seem to have any qualms about terrorizing a small town like Linn Grove. As I understand things, mine was the second, maybe third call from this town, on this night alone.

Enough said, here. I'm going to try and get some sleep. But, I promise those night riders, if they do that again with their spotlights, I hope they wake up to some mariachi music with the volume turned up to ten (loud). Shoot, if they have the unmitigated gall to shine a light in a town, just think of how many farmers have been woke-up?

Now, if the legislators down in Des Moines haven't completely slipped their gears, they'll read this plea for help in getting that blessed law changed. How they let it "slip-though" in the first place is a statement all in it's own.

We'll see what happens to the law during the course of the coming year. But, I guarantee you, if it isn't changed, the legislature might just as well authorize a 12-month open season on deer, and collect fees from these night riders. And the farmers had better hope the night riders can tell the difference between cows and deer at night...