September 21, 2018

Maine Governor Vetoes Two Hunting Related Bills

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Maine Governor Paul LePage has vetoed two hunting-related bills – LD 1816 and LD 1823.

LD 1816 is a bill that would reduce the second offense penalty for hunting deer over bait from a lifetime license ban back to a two-year suspension. Here is the statement Governor LePage made public for his reason for vetoing the new bill.

LD 1816

Governor LePage cited a reason for keeping the lifetime license suspension as punishment for a second offense as being a strong deterrent to stop illegal hunting of deer over bait. With unclear definitions as to what determines “bait”, it would appear that abuse by law enforcement and the courts could make for as much trouble as the handful of those charged with hunting over bait now.

Until such time as Maine can get their act together to better lay out the exact definition of “bait” and at the same time rid the conflicts between growing “crops” and hunting over those and hunting over bait placed by a hunter – as though growing a crop to hunt over is any different than dumping a bag of apples under a tree stand – I cannot agree with LePage’s veto of this bill.

It would appear that while it may be a strong deterrent, the punishment may not fit the crime when comparatives are made with all laws and punishments in Maine.

LD 1823 is a bill that made permanent a temporary law that allowed nonresidents to hunt on the “Residents Only” Saturday prior to the open season on deer, provided that nonresident owned at least 25 acres of land in the state. Here is the Governor’s reason for the veto.

LD 1823

I never liked the bill in the first place. While it seems a good thing to make hunting opportunity available whenever possible, this kind of legislation simply reeks of preferred treatment, discrimination, and elitism.

Hunting should never be meted out in any fashion when determined by social status. Simply because a person is wealthy enough, or through inheritance, to own land equalling at least 25 acres shouldn’t give them privilege over someone else who doesn’t.

While LePage believes the Residents Day Only is special for Maine residents and should remain that way, consideration of making it also open to nonresidents should be all or nothing.

Let the discriminatory bill sunset. The veto was good.

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