If You’re a Toddler Who Loves Deer Hunting, Wisconsin Is the Place for You

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On November 11, governor of Wisconsin and everyone’s least
favorite Deliverance stand-in Scott Walker signed a
law ridding the state of minimum hunting age. Since then, 10
hunting licenses have been sold to individuals under the age of
one, which doesn’t speak to Wisconsin toddlers motor skills as
much as it speaks to a state government gone batshit fucking

In addition to the 10 Wisconsin hunting licenses sold to
babies, many of whom have just discovered eye-contact and that,
yes, their hands are connected to their tiny bodies, one deer
was registered with the DNR as being shot by a four-year-old
and seven were registered to five-year-olds,
to the Journal Sentinel.

The Journal Sentinel’s Paul Smith explains that
purchasing a hunting license doesn’t necessarily mean that a
literal baby is doing the hunting, rather the license “could
have been purchased as mementos for the youngsters. Or they
could have been used to register a deer killed by another
hunter. The low-priced, first-time mentored hunting licenses
carry all the harvest authorizations of a similar adult

The latter theory is the most likely as the deer tags issued by
the DNR alongside hunting licenses impose limits on the number
and types of deer one is allowed to “harvest,” in part to
control local deer populations or—at times—eradicate the spread
of deer-carried illnesses like chronic wasting disease.

But, as Smith writes:

In some cases, the purchase is part of a strategy to begin
accumulating preference points for restricted opportunities.

In Wisconsin, no preference points are needed for deer,

And since the state stopped issuing paper licenses and
backtags in recent years, the license is purchased as a
digital authorization.

State officials declined to speculate on why the licenses
were purchased for hunters too young to walk.

As a Wisconsinite, I can tell you that deer hunting is as huge
a part of Wisconsin culture as cheese, the packers, and
bringing babies into bars. Often, it’s a family and community
activity, so the idea of kids hunting—the previous more
reasonable law dictated that no one under 10 could be issued a
hunting license—is hardly unfamiliar, even in a blessèd
pre-Scott Walker world. Still, none of that changes the fact
that—loophole or no—babies should not have hunting licenses. Is
that a sentence we really have to write?

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