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 crazy.
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, according 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 license.”
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, however.
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?