Outdoors must be respected

Published 12:00 am Saturday, May 25, 2002

There's no excuse for a careless act by a Waseca man, whose reckless disregard for animals only ended up getting him a fine and no jail time.

What 20-year-old James Slattery did was foolish enough. But the end result was even more mind-boggling.

Slattery was using his snowmobile to skim over the water on Loon Lake.

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Water skipping has become a fad where snowmobilers build up enough speed and, literally, skip over the water.

That idea alone is dumb enough.

However, a Department of Natural Resources officer said he's seen a pattern where many snowmobilers in the 18-25 age group have been skimming their snowmobiles at high speeds over open water to hit birds.

Fortunately, there's a law on the books that says you can't use any type of motorized vehicle to intentionally drive, chase, run over, or kill any wild animal.

In our opinion, Slattery got off lucky as he was placed on probation for a year and only received a $1,500 fine. He received a 30-day suspended jail sentence, which means Slattery won't serve it as long as he keeps his nose clean.

The problem here isn't just with Slattery. It's the careless and reckless attitude that many have for our outdoor areas.

First, it was all-terrain vehicles tearing up wilderness areas. Now this.

Nearly all snowmobilers are responsible when it comes to enjoying their machines in the outdoors. It's too bad a few bad apples have to spoil the image of many.