Sharpshooters ‘obscene waste of tax money’

Editor’s note: The following column was addressed to Phil Pash, outdoors columnist.

Mary Ann Aiello and her band of anti-hunters have again hoodwinked the county board into paying for yet another fiasco.

We all recently saw the righteous indignation and rhubarb about the trip taken by the Housing Authority board. Well, Mary Ann and the rest of the “Ya-Ya Sisterhood” are going to make the $26,000 arrogantly spent by the Housing Board on their junket look like toll change.

The county board spent more than $9,600 to exterminate and process 24 deer at Klehm Arboretum. That’s a whopping $400 per animal!! And now they want to kill 600 more animals from just four forest preserves?

You do the math—it’s going to be an obscene waste of tax money!

I know, I know, they are claiming that the eight forest preserve employee sharpshooters have changed their schedule and are working at night, so it won’t cost anything! What kind of accounting is that? Those employees are still getting paid, aren’t they? And they are NOT doing their regular job. Doesn’t their regular job need to be done? For three months?? Will they or fellow employees need to work overtime to catch up? Did they practice and train to be sharpshooters on regular work hours?

In an honest world, the salary and benefits cost for those eight employees for every man-hour spent on this project would get allocated and charged to this kill job. So would a portion of overtime they will need to work to catch up on their “regular” duties. It isn’t hard to cipher—eight employees times 40 hours times 13 weeks equals 4,160 man-hours! Multiply that by the average hourly rate of the sharpshooter—it’s going to be huge even at $10 an hour!

Then there’s the matter of processing costs. I can get my deer processed commercially for about $80. The county might be able to get a volume discount, but I doubt they do much better than $55-$65 per animal. Especially if the deer are to be gutted, skinned, de-boned, ground and packaged.

Now think about this: Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) has been found in deer on that side of Winnebago County. Every animal will be tested for CWD. If they kill 600 deer, what are the chances that at least one deer will test positive for CWD? Pretty good, I’d say, if I were a betting man.

Remember, the test result takes 10 days to two weeks to come back. Is the processor going to quarantine each carcass separately until the test results return? Fat chance! Any CWD deer is going to be batch ground and in and out of the pantry long before the test results are known! That’s a reassuring thought for the poor people who consume the contaminated meat, isn’t it?

Will a positive CWD test even be acknowledged? You tell me.

My main point is this:

Hunters would pay $10 to $15 per deer for the opportunity to hunt. They would pay for their own ammunition. They would pay for their own processing. They would hold the venison until the CWD tests were back. And many would then donate it to the pantries. It would be a win-win for the county and the taxpayers.

Why would they spend $240,000 tax dollars when they could make $10,000? Because they hate hunting that much. They will spend any amount of OUR money to keep hunters out of public land. And nobody questions them.

If those in favor of the “sharpshooters” were made to pay for this out of their own pockets (like the hunters would), they would change their mind in a hurry. But as long as they can spend county money with impunity, you are going to see these abuses continue.

Where is the indignation about this money dumping? Where is our county chairperson when we really need her? Petting the county cat?

Dan Kittle is a Winnebago resident and a longtime hunter and outdoorsman.

Enjoy The Rock River Times? Help spread the word!