Blue Spring ranger should be fairer

Published 12:03 am Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Dear Editor,

I’ve been hunting on Blue Spring Wildlife Management Area since it opened 50 years ago. I’ve seen numerous biologists come and go and a lot of changes made there over these years. As most of you know, this area is part of the Conecuh National Forest, but is managed by the state conservation department.

There have always been rules you had to follow in order to be able to visit this 23,000 acres to hunt, fish, camp and use the nature trails. The forest service has done a good job in the past, but now they have imported a new young ranger. This guy is an arrogant little hotdog who has written more tickets, so far this season, then have been written since the management area opened. No, these are not game violation related, but traffic related.

This guy is writing tickets for no seat belts on roads that are not even graded. He has set up road blocks on two county highways to check your driver’s licenses. He is patrolling Hwy. 137, which is a state highway, and is issuing tickets for speeding. Since this is federal land, a seat belt ticket is $110 even though on some roads, you might only reach speeds of 15 mph.

So far, I’ve managed not to be written up, but I was warmed by this “Mr. Big Shot” that I would have to pay $3 for a permit, should I park at one of their gates (that are closed to access) in order to hunt behind the Open Pond fire tower. Now the sign where you pay says to you pay to fish, picnic or camp, but I didn’t read a word about hunt. The management area personnel couldn’t believe that this “new import” could be this overbearing and how many people he has already ticked off.

This area has had some very good law enforcement officers in the past and present, but this little fellow needs to go back to Mississippi before someone hurts him! He is living proof that when you give “some people” a badge and gun that it goes to their head.

The Conecuh Forest has survived for years without “Wyatt Earp” setting up on a dirt road with his radar going to catch you running faster than he thinks you should be, with no speed limit signs posted.

By the way, this officer doesn’t answer to our local forest service; his boss is out of Atlanta. One final note: our new biologist for the Blue Spring Management Area is also a young man, fresh out of college. He is the nicest manager that you ever wanted to meet, with some good ideas that he wants to put in place, in order to improve the quality of the game. I believe that with him in charge, our hunting future looks better than it has in years for this area.

Finally, everything that I have written in this letter is my opinion only and has nothing to do with the Andalusia Star-News, except it being printed.

Duane O’Neal