Priest Harassed While Deer Hunting

As if 2020 couldn’t get any worse, Father Jordan Neeck, a priest in eastern Wisconsin, has been harassed while deer hunting this fall.

Priest Harassed While Deer Hunting

Father Jordan Neeck has been harassed in the Wisconsin whitetail woods this fall. (Photos courtesy of St. Norbert Abbey.)

Harassing a hunter isn’t only repugnant, it’s illegal.

Harassing a priest? Well, depending on your religious views, such a disturbing act might earn you a ticket to purgatory. 

Believe it or not, Father Jordan Neeck, a priest in eastern Wisconsin, has been harassed while deer hunting this fall. He’s been deer hunting legally on the St. Norbert Abbey grounds in De Pere, which is on the southern rim of Green Bay.

Fr. Neeck grew up in Phillips, Wisconsin, and began hunting at an early age. “It’s kind of a way of life and a rite of passage to hunting if you live in Wisconsin, especially in the Northwoods,” he said. 

The 160-acre St. Norbert Abbey is open to the public for hiking, birdwatching and sightseeing, and Fr. Neeck has had permission to deer hunt on the property since 2016. Like many areas surrounding Green Bay, whitetail numbers are too high for the available habitat, so it only makes sense to remove a few deer to control their population.

For the first four years, Fr. Neeck didn’t have any problems with hunter harassment. That changed in 2020, and it started in mid-September.

He said, “First hint was probably opening weekend of bowhunting in which people have approached me and said shame on you, and I’m thinking I’m on my own private property, given permission to do this, and following all the regulations provided by the Wisconsin DNR, I’ve checked the City of De Pere regulations and ordinances, and Village of Allouez ordinances, everything I’m doing is legal.” 

Thankfully, Fr. Neeck didn’t give up on his deer hunting passion. In fact, he’s tagged four deer in 2020. “I’m very thankful for the life of the deer, and have been able to provide the venison for the hungry, been donating to Paul’s Pantry of families I know are hard up in this moment of time because of Covid, have job loss and everything like that,” said Father Neeck.

Sadly, the harassment continued throughout this fall, and it has stopped only recently after he contacted local law enforcement and filed a complaint.

“If I’ve been coming in or out of the woods, harassed, or even in my stand, people have walked out into the woods and into the fields and have harassed me,” he said. “Things have escalated within the last week of spray painting of trees; so damage to property, damage to my treestand and even theft; theft of trail cams trying to capture who’s been vandalizing our property here at the Abbey.”

“We do have hunter harassment laws,” said DNR Conservation Warden Amanda Kretschmer. “Hunter harassment is intentionally interfering with the lawful hunting being done by another, and it is a citable offense.”

De Pere Police Officer Tony Phelps said, “There was some damage that could’ve rendered Father Jordan’s treestand unsafe, and there was also damage to some trees. To us, that indicated that whoever was doing this kind of knew what they were doing.”

Law enforcement says that no arrests have been made, and the harassment and vandalism has stopped since the public has been made aware of the story. Police officers are now patrolling the St. Norbert Abbey grounds with a keen eye.

We’ll keep you updated if the hunter harassment toward Fr. Neeck begins again, or if someone is charged in this case. And we wish him continued success in the whitetail woods.


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