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  • SC DNR Forum Shutting Down

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    The South Carolina Dept. of Natural Resources (SCDNR) has announced that their forum will be closed down Jan. 4 for good. This has many long-time members up in arms and pining for an explanation from the SCDNR board members.

    The online forum, which has been in operation for 10 years, is a place for sportsmen to share information about fishing and hunting, and other outdoor-related topics. Many of the members have formed close friendships and have hunted and fished together after meeting through the forum. Other members have gotten good advice on how to get started in bowhunting, how to sight a rifle in, where to catch catfish in the winter, and how to determine the best place to put up a deer stand. DNR officers also visit the site to answer questions about regulations and to clear up questions about certain game and fish regulations.

    It’s no doubt been valuable for a number of outdoorsmen and women, but SCDNR spokesman Brett Witt states the forum is being shut down because it’s gotten too big for the DNR to handle. Between the amount of time it takes to properly monitor the forum, the DNR’s upcoming move to a new web platform, and the availability of other social networking sites, Witt says the time has come to shut this forum down.

    Of course, some of the regular contributors to the forum see it differently. One user recently posted that shutting down the forum would be “a violation of free speech.” Several others have demanded that they, the public, “pay the DNR’s salaries” which entitles them to an honest explanation as to why the forum is being shut down. To this, Witt reiterates his comments about the time and resources it takes to keep the site properly maintained.

    Many of the forum members are crying foul at Witt’s comments. A good bit of the more recent postings have been about the forum closing with lots of speculation about the real reason for the site being abandoned. Still, some members say they understand why the site is being shut down. A few members have stated that the site has a small clique of regular contributors who “verbally browbeat” anyone who disagrees with their views on topics from hunting to politics. One forum member mentioned that rules against posting degrading comments about people are constantly broken. He cited insultingly negative comments about the DNR’s new Florence facility, demeaning posts about public officials such as Gov. Mark Sanford, Senator Lindsay Graham, and President Barack Obama are clearly against the rules of the forum, and understandably may have a little something to do with the site being closed.

    One forum member states that he will miss the forum, but that he just wants to thank the SCDNR for hosting it for the past 10 years. “It’s not their responsibility to give us a free forum. All the state agencies have had their budgets cut in recent years. It’s tough to lay people off their jobs but still spend resources on something as petty as an internet forum. Why anyone believes the DNR owes them this is beyond me. I guess it's part of the entitlement attitude that many people have these days.”

    For anyone who wants to visit this bulletin board before the closing date, check it out at http://www.dnr.sc.gov/cgi-bin/ubb/ultimatebb.cgi.You can also find the SCDNR on Facebook.

    Brian Cope
    Sumter
    SC Sportsman Field Representative
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