Local hunting preserve under attack by anti-gun, anti-hunting forces. Support of local hunters needed to help stop this attack!
Ok. This is a pretty convoluted story, lots of twists and turns. Please try to follow, as this issue is of critical importance to hunters, gun owners, property owners, and those who support these causes. As is common in such stories, the opposition is as fierce as can be, going to the extremes of even confronting armed hunters afield for the express purpose of harassment. But, let me start at the beginning.
Early in 2001, Sexy Pheasant Farm and Dog Training Preserve opened to the public. Hunting of Pheasant, Quail, Partridge, and Huns, as well as dog training afield was now available to interested persons. The Pheasant preserve is located in Dundee, Michigan, less than 5 miles from Cabela’s retail outlet. Operated by Lyle Jaworski, the preserve operation immediately attracted the attention of several neighbors who oppose the idea of hunting. Now, at this point it is VERY important to note that the preserve was issued a license by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, and that it’s setup and operation are consistent with DNR regulations. Nevertheless, the threats, intimidation, and harrassment from the vocal minority continued. Hunters have been confronted on the preserve property, which is CLEARLY marked with signage from the DNR stating that the land is part of a preserve and trespassing is prohibited.
Milan township filed a court case against Lyle, and the preserve, to have it shut down. The judge hearing the case entered a judgement that allows the preserve to continue operation, so long as the preserve does NOT charge a fee for hunting, and does NOT charge a fee for the birds. At this point, the preserve began operating on a no-cost basis. Imagine that! Lyle continues to run the operation for FREE. That’s dedication. Dedication to hunters, and the hunting lifestyle. The preserve website encourages family participation in hunting, and openly welcomes families afield. To preserve a heritage. A way of life. Hunters that came out to the preserve believed so strongly in what Mr. Jaworski was doing that they began leaving money in the preserve office. Cash. Checks. Now, this presented a small dilema, but was easily solved with the advice of legal counsel. A ‘Defense Fund’ was established, and all donations made to the preserve are credited to the fund.
When the DNR, and even the local police department got tired of the repeated calls from this small group of people, they decided to go to the local township board with their case. The township stated that there was nothing in the zoning regulations to keep such a business from operating. At this time, the township proposed a change to the zoning regulations that would have allowed the preserve to be shut down, by defining what is, or is not, a farm. Mr. Jaworski runs a farm operation. On more than 950 acres of land that has been farmed by his family for three generations. The issue was brought before the voting public in a special election, and the changes were voted down 171 to 154. At this point, it should be a dead issue. Being “disappointed at the results” should have been the end of it. But is wasn’t.
It is proper, at this point, to add that huntable land is getting harder and harder to come by. The DNR leases one piece of ground in Monroe County that is available to the public to hunt. It measures out at roughly 300 acres. The preserve that Mr. Jaworski makes available to the public covers 957 acres of prime land (permitted by the Michigan DNR). This having been said, it is clear that this is an assault against hunters. It’s pretty hard to actually be a hunter if you have nowhere to hunt.
Now, back to our story. With the special election having been lost, the anti-hunters had to devise a new strategy. Recent events are defining that strategy. Several weeks ago, a local FM talk-radio station had an event at the preserve. An appearance by local outdoors celebrity Bob Bauer was the centerpiece of the event, which also included a catered breakfast and lunch, merchandise, and a photo opportunity with Mr. Bauer. Complimentary hunting and game birds were available to those interested in hunting. Cleaning of the game birds was included in the donations to attend the event. All those participating in this event were required to sign a waiver, prepared by legal counsel, that stated the donation amount (if ANY) was freewill. Once again, Mr. Jaworski, in supporting hunters, put on a free event. Absolutely FREE. Those who donated knew that donations would cover the costs associated with keeping the preserve operating. Apparently, two undercover investigators were in attendance that day. During their time at the preserve they illegally removed materials from the preserve, and provided these materials to the anti-hunting group. Now they seem to believe they are in possession of ‘evidence’ that shows the preserve to be a commercial operation. A new series of claims have been filed in court, with hearings scheduled as early as 24 April 2003, with others pending.
This is where you all come in. We NEED to show Mr. Jaworski that, as a community of hunters, gun owners, and conservationists, we support him. That we support his commitment to the hunting heritage. His commitment to provide an opportunity for hunters, a safe place where we can enjoy our sport. Free from harassment. We NEED to send a message to those would strive to take away our rights to hunt, by taking away the opportunity to be afield. With Family, with Friends (two legged, and four legged), enjoying a heritage passed down through the generations. We need to make a stand. NOW. Before a few nut-jobs with loud mouths, and empty heads, do away with another opportunity to hunt. Not long ago, in the Newport area, a similar preserve was run out of business. The operators could no longer tolerate the continuous barrage of legal wranglings and harassment. And another opportunity was lost to all of us. I didn’t know about the Newport preserve until well after it’s demise. This time MUST be different.
In January of 1990 I stood up to defend Liberty. After 4 and a half years in the United States Marine Corps, I honestly felt that America was a safer place. In many, many ways it is. But due diligence is in order, to maintain what so many have fought, and died, to defend. This may seem like a small issue, particularly in light of current events. But, a quote that I recently read brought to light the fact that we must always be on guard. The quote is as follows:
"Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter."
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
This matters. It matters to me. I hope that it matters to you. If it does matter to you, please call Lyle Jaworski, at 734-216-2278, or contact him via Email at Jmail@Dundee.Net. Get involved, in any way that you can. We MUST NOT let this issue be decided by the vocal minority, the folks who brought us the Brady Bill, and other crimes against honest, law abiding, gun owning, citizens.
Make your voice heard. The following is a list of people that hold public office in Dundee Township:
Joanna Uhl, Township Supervisor, 734-529-5648
Tira Lupu, Township Clerk, 734-529-2650
Marily Larson, Township Trustee, 734-529-5607
Arthur Bronson, Chairman-Planning Commission, 734-529-2087
For Milan Township:
Sam Mills, Supervisor, 734-439-1786
Philip Bowerman, Planning Commission, 734-439-1139
Nancy Pilbeam, Township Clerk, 734-529-5136
The Judge hearing the case is:
The Honorable Judge Micheal LaBeau
Monroe County Courthouse
106 E. First Street
Monroe, MI, 48161
The following is a list of the anti-huntering, anti-gun forces opposing the preserve’s continued operation. All information was obtained through the online archives of the Dundee Independent Newspaper, and the local phone book:
Keith Pilbeam Robert Homrich
6863 Rea Rd 18520 Day Rd
Dundee, MI, 48131 Dundee, MI, 48131
Lisa & Scott Gizzi Brad & Dawn White
17060 Day Rd 18550 Day Rd
Dundee, MI, 48131 Dundee, MI, 48131
Dale & Christine Kominick
18425 Day Rd
Dundee, MI, 48131