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The C.A.S.H. Courier
ARTICLE from the Fall 2009 Issue
Why I Clean The Lake
Before goose hunting season begins I tell the resident semi-domesticated
flocks, "Look guys, hunting season starts soon so you need to be out of
here." They actually seem to listen.
The first year I did this the state Fish & Boats regional director
arrived at the lake early on opening day and said the flock was already
gone. As far as I could tell they stayed away too. Funny thing though, a
large flock appeared back at the lake the very first day after goose season
ended. I told them when the season started, but I didn't say when it would
end. How did they know?
I don't think this can be considered hunter harassment by even the most
over-zealous officer as I am only exercising my free speech and right to
talk to animals, it's not yet hunting season, and no hunters are present.
Besides, for them to admit the geese understand my advice is to give the
geese a level of intelligence I don't think hunters want to admit to.
A lot of fishermen do not seem very happy with hunters either. I guess no
one likes having shots fired in their direction. On several occasions I have
seen fishermen actually stop their boats and fish in front of openly
perturbed hunters. Recently I even saw a couple of fishermen casting their
lines right in amongst a hunter's decoys. The hunter might have been
thinking "hunter harassment" but I think this was a clear case of fisherman
harassment. The hunter had set his decoys in prime fishing grounds. (Of
course I'm pro-fish too so I'm not endorsing fishing.)
When I was shot at by a hunter five years ago there were more hunters at
the lake that one day than I have seen since. In previous years both hunters
and geese would be on the lake throughout the 3 week September season.
It could be a coincidence. But I like to think the openly hostile
fishermen, increased morning usage by kayakers
and canoeists, and my pre-season chats with the geese makes this lake
less welcoming for hunters. This year I didn't see any hunters after the
second day and for the first time I did not see a single dead or wounded
goose on the lake, something that is usually a normal sight this time of
I spend a lot of my time while kayaking and hiking around the lake
keeping it clean of trash. Because I know how fishing line, plastics, and
other human garbage hurts and kills wildlife.
Over the past 5 years I've collected about 1400 plastic grocery-sized
bags of garbage; about half of it I recycle. Most days my kayak looks more
like a garbage scow.
It's interesting seeing the variety - from the everyday bottles and cans,
food wrappers, plastic bags, fishing line, and bait containers to light
bulbs, shotgun shells, car parts, balls and toys, arrows, a pregnancy test
(showing negative results), plastic Easter eggs, paint cans, clothing, and
every conceivable bit of human refuse you can imagine. I just wish I didn't
have to see it out there.
I began collecting trash 5 years ago after cutting a duck free who was
tangled in fishing line. (This summer I cut a goose free.) I began
collecting all the fishing line I could find and soon all the plastics. Now
I keep the 106-acre lake clean as I go. Unfortunately I can leave the lake
clean one day and the next day pickup 2 or 3 more bags of trash.
As you may know plastic in the environment doesn't biodegrade, it photo-
degrades - breaking down into smaller and smaller pieces. These pieces now
outweigh zoo plankton in the oceans and are being eaten and passed up the
food chain (another reason not to eat fish).
I hear "Thank you" from fishermen and other lake users for collecting
trash but I do it for the wildlife. Eagles and ospreys, beaver and mink,
herons and egrets, songbirds and waterfowl, turtles
and snakes all use the lake and make my mornings enjoyable. I'm glad I
can help them.
Unfortunately October's duck season still attracts ducks and duck hunters
so I guess there will be more shotgun shells for me to pick up next year.
Maybe I should have a talk with the ducks too.
Bill Knapp is an avid outdoorsman who doesn't kill animals. On the
contrary, he loves nature the way a mother loves her child or vice versa,
and not the way a thief loves money or a hunter loves his victims.
below were sent to C.A.S.H. by J.P. of Delafield, Wisconsin. His home is on
Nagawicka Lake and he is seeking help. He was threatened with arrest by a
fish and game agent for taking photos of the hunters and asking them to
Hunting is allowed next to children and near houses
Hunter sticking out his tongue at someone who’s asking
him to leave the area.
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