State Sen. Tom Casperson, responding to reports of an Upper Peninsula teen who was harassed online after a successful bear hunting trip with her father, is calling out those responsible for the harassment.
"Bullies are as bullies do," said Casperson, R-Escanaba. "I won't keep silent about this mob of bullies any more than I'd put up with a gang of them in my kids' high school."
Upper Peninsula news outlets reported that social media is where the harassment began, and Casperson emphasized the progression.
"This girl takes a bear while she's hunting with her father, and she puts a photo of it on her Facebook page," he said. "So the anti-hunting crowd starts posting comments about how they hope she ends up in a hunting accident and that they hope when she has kids that somebody kills them. Of course, that's not enough to satisfy their hatefulness. They harass her with calls to her workplace, and then some of them try to find out exactly where she lives. Anyone who doesn't have their head in the sand should see that as a flaming red flag."
Upper Peninsula media reported that, as a result of the harassment, the teen deactivated her Facebook account.
Casperson referred to a written statement from the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR) as further justification for standing up for the teen.
"The DNR confirmed that the bear she killed looked too big to be a cub, and her own statements show she was careful about that before she pulled the trigger," Casperson said. "But when you have an ideologically radical view and an ax to grind, the truth doesn't matter. All that matters is your effort to contort society into a shape that fits your view of the world."
Casperson said that in addition to its cultural importance to hunters throughout Michigan, an important factor in the annual bear hunting season is the use of such hunts to prevent wildlife overpopulation.
"Numbers matter when it comes to the size of any species of wildlife in a region, and that creates a balancing challenge between the safety and security needs of human population and our desire to see a variety of wildlife in our natural areas," he said. "State departments of natural resources have decades of experience at wildlife management, and folks who are willing to buy a hunting license and hike through the woods with their own firearms and on their own time are helping the DNR achieve the balance we need. Being against that balance doesn't make you right."