June 22, 2017

Abortion Should Be the Recommended Instrument to Control Animal Populations

Insane debate rages in Maine over a proposed constitutional amendment wrongly presented as a guaranteed right to hunt, fish and trap.

Last week I was reading an article that contained some comments from those opposed to the amendment and those in favor of such. In one comment from a member of the opposition a woman stated, “This proposal’s vague terms open the door to inhumane, unethical trapping and hunting practices.” 

We are subjected to the nonsensical drivel of the animal rights perverts but consider the realities here and then take a step back and ask yourself just exactly who is inhumane, unethical and insane.

It is always the Left who promote animal rights, while presenting animals as sentient beings of and above the existence of man, endowed with all the same rights, and more, as man. Any form of killing of an animal to these perverse followers of Satanic animal worship is considered “inhumane.” Ever stopped for a minute to understand what the word “inhumane” is derived from? I didn’t think so.

And so, in this one tiny discussion, it is believed by an obvious Leftist that a constitutional amendment suggesting that hunting, fishing and trapping be utilized as a means of controlling the population of certain game animals, will lead to “inhumane, unethical” practices.

Forget that this statement makes no sense at all, and just consider the positions always taken by the Left that make absolutely no sense, contradict their own stated positions and expose themselves as the ignorant frauds that they are.

The Left opposes the killing on ANY animal because doing so is “inhumane” and “unethical.” (understand that many of the same eat dead animals) However, they will give their own lives to defend what they call the right to mutilate and murder an unborn baby. To these mixed up individuals, which number in the millions, it is somehow humane and ethical to pop the head of an unborn baby, tear it to pieces and toss it in a garbage can, and yet hunting, fishing and trapping is inhumane.

Geez! At least most hunters eat what they kill. Do Leftists eat mutilated babies?

Perhaps then, if this country insists on living as mixed up, immoral murderers of babies while protecting animals, wildlife managers should begin a system of capturing and aborting the unwanted fetuses of animals in order to, not only control the population of certain species of animals but to also protect the rights of the female game animals who, according to many on the Left, should enjoy the same “rights” as us immoral and murdering, unethical and inhumane, Americans.

Nothing abnormal here. Move along.

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SAM’s Testimony on Right To Hunt Amendment, Makes Claims Not Entirely True

Recently I wrote about a proposed constitutional amendment in Maine that is being presented as an amendment to protect the “right” to hunt, trap and fish – LD 11. I also wrote that this proposal was one that I could support and I was wrong to have made the statement using the words that I did because I failed to succinctly express the full truth in my statement. Please let me explain.

Yesterday, I was reading David Trahan’s (Executive Director of the Sportman’s Alliance of Maine) testimony before the Legislative Committee in support of the proposed amendment.

To many, his words ring true, much because most of us have been taught certain things about our federal and state constitutions and the rights we have been granted under those constitution. Men don’t grant rights to anyone. They simply claim ownership of them and hand them back to us in some kind of limited form or fully deny us of such rights.

Trahan states that when this nation was founded, wildlife was “placed in the public trust” and as such we had the right to take it for sustenance. Therefore, Americans have always possessed the right to hunt, fish and trap. I will have to save for another day any debate on this so-called public trust and our inherent right to hunt, fish and trap. I will proceed from the perspective of most that they do have either a right or a privilege.

As Mr. Trahan also pointed out, man decided that in order to sustain game and other wildlife, they must construct laws to limit that activity. What happened to our inherent “right” to hunt, trap and fish when the limitations by law became enforced? Is anything really a “right” when it is controlled by man? We evidently believe so. When men, because they couldn’t maintain viable game populations through their own disciplines, called upon man-governments to do it for them, it began the process of destroying any semblance of a right to hunt. I ask once again, what happened to a so-called “right” to hunt wildlife “placed in the public trust” when at least some of that right was ceded over to government and restricted?

This is not that much different than the argument of sovereignty, in which most people do not understand sovereignty of an individual or a government agency. How are you a sovereign individual? Oh, you might say, “Nobody tells me what to do! I’m my own man!” But you are not. You might be a legend in your own mind, but you are not a sovereign individual. Once a man agrees to become part of a community, whether it is a small as a neighborhood or as large as a nation, they have agreed to relinquish that sovereignty and place it under the control of the government. Your act of relinquishment places decisions about your life into the hands of the controlling government agencies.

In Maine, at some point in time, the full right to hunt, trap and fish, was ceded to the State Government to control and make the decisions for us as to what, when and how we might harvest game. Trahan points this out in his testimony. In reality, the sportsmen have very little control over their perceived right to hunt. What has evolved since the creation of game and wildlife laws, is that the government agency formulated to oversee hunting, trapping and fishing, call the shots. Yup, proposals for new laws can be presented. Sometimes they get through a committee and most times not. You are heard before a committee but if you can’t get by the committee then what has become of your “right” to hunt, trap and fish. If you do get through committee you are at the mercy of the Legislature. Where then is your protected right?

Many believe that an amendment to the Constitution will guarantee, protect or create a “right” to hunt, trap and fish. They are wrong. I have written many times on this subject and stated that unless an amendment mandated or forced the government to do something, it is nothing more than words on a piece of paper.

The proposed LD 11 states, in reference to the right of the people of Maine to hunt, fish and trap, that this right: “may not be infringed.” (emboldening added) This is not a mandate. It does not force the Legislature, the Governor, Law Enforcement, or anybody else to stop any infringement of a person’s right to hunt, trap and fish. Go ask a lawyer – or at least an intelligent and honest one (yeah I know). Or go research it yourself. “May” is not a mandate – only a suggestion.

Further, the amendment says that this non infringement of the right to hunt, trap and fish is subject to “reasonable” laws enacted by the Legislature and “reasonable” rules adopted by the department in charge of management of game, fish and other wildlife. Is a “reasonable” law or rule an infringement? We’ve already established that the protection against infringement is non binding because the lawyers chose “may” instead of “must.”

So, who decides what “reasonable” means? I hope you are beginning to understand.

The amendment establishes that the department in reference is supposed to “promote wildlife conservation and management” and “maintain natural resources in trust for public use” (emboldening added) and this evidently will “preserve the future of hunting and fishing.” Nothing here is a mandate that forces anybody to do anything. What is wildlife conservation? As it is in operation today, wildlife conservation becomes a matter of which social entity has the most dollars and the loudest mouth to force their idealistic perceptions and conceptions of wildlife conservation.

The Department, according to this amendment will “maintain” natural resources. Maintain them how and to what levels of population that will guarantee, protect or create the “right” to hunt, trap and fish? This, of course, is left up to the Department, which is what takes places now. There is no mandate. There is no protection of any right.

The amendment further states that “public hunting and fishing are the preferred means…” (emboldening added) Where is the mandate here that will guarantee, protect or create a “right” to hunt, trap and fish? The Department might “prefer” to use hunting and fishing but what if they decide to import wolves to control populations of deer and moose? Where is the mandate? Where is the protection of any “right” to hunt, trap and fish? And would such a decision be “reasonable?”

The truth is, that while this is better language than previously proposed in other amendments, voters in Maine should not be misled to believe that this amendment, as written, will guarantee, protect or create for Maine citizens, the “right” to hunt, trap and fish.

And on the reverse of this, as I have already read in a few spreads of clap trap nonsense, such an amendment, as written will not destroy the process to petition the state. This should be obvious once you understand this proposal has nothing in it that is a mandate, forcing anybody to do anything.

When I said this amendment was something I could support, that statement was not accurate and I apologize for misleading people, if I did. First, I could not “support” such and amendment in the literal sense because I am not a legal resident of Maine and therefore could not vote for it if I wanted.

My thinking at the time was that while there still were no mandates in the proposal, perhaps the language was such that it might deter the onslaught of lawsuits and referendums that have been piled onto the Pine Tree State. It may, in fact, increase them. It is difficult to assess.

I will work harder to choose my words and the statements I make more carefully.

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A Case of the Pot Calling the Kettle Black

Void of sensible argument, let’s just say for the purposes of this discussion, that the corporate “citizens” of this corporation, the United States of America, live in a democracy. Might as well say it because most think we do and vehemently support it. A democracy sucks…especially when you are the sheep in a three-way discussion with two wolves deciding what’s for lunch. When you combine the ills of the so-called democratic process, with the ignorance of taking the high ground on all things democratic, scientific and wildlife management, spelled out for us in bold letters is HYPOCRISY.

To make my point, gander at the article written in the Kennebec Journal extolling the virtues of Maine’s Constitution and the democratic process in deciding who’s going to make the menu for lunch….er, well, kind of – until the promoter of the democratic process discovers she might be headlining the menu.

The article itself is garbage and so I will not waste my time with a step by step process refuting the endless claims of nonsense strewn through the blather of nonsensical words and hypocritical proclamations shouted from the position of the only one holding the high ground on all matters of what this person calls “rights,” science and the management of wildlife.

It would appear the letter writer assumes the position that rights are granted by governments and that those granted rights are how things should be, as in the rule of law, so long as they are the totalitarian rules of law she chooses to subscribe to that promote her ideology and choice of lifestyle.

The day we are born, our Creator gives us all our rights. It is only man in his sin that takes those rights away and/or doles them out as a means of controlling the population and presenting themselves as an “exceptional” government creating an “exceptional” nation. Sound familiar? Perhaps you don’t recognize it.

For each and every law that it enacted, one more aspect of our God-given rights is being chiseled away. We have reached a point in our uncivilized, greedy, nasty, hate-filled nation, where democracy, manipulated by money and power, is used to force the wills of only the most powerful and affluent among our society. There is a different name for this other than democracy…but, don’t go look.

In our own blind ignorance, created by the same powerful and affluent through essentially brainwashing (controlling all forms of education and media) once anyone assumes the high ground on any issue, of course the other side is wrong and need to be stopped, even to the point of wanting the oppositions rights removed. This IS but one of the nasty elements of democracy that you must like.

Aside from the blather of the letter writer, can anyone see the idiocy in the defense of what this person considers her choice in how democracy and the rule of law are applied? I see this most often but I wonder how many others do, especially those bent on forcing their idealism and totalitarian ways onto all others.

With but limited “rights” left, as most all “rights” are either taken away or have been limited to some degree, one can only employ the “democratic” process available in hopes of changing those laws.

In Maine there is but one more attempt at amending the constitution in order to establish what the promoters are calling a constitutional protection to hunt, fish and trap. Incidentally and most relevant to an honest discussion, since Maine became a state, there have been 172 approved amendments to its Constitution. Should it come as a shock to people that the process taken to adopt these amendments was the “democratic” process established within the original Constitution as defined in Article X, Section 4.? If you love this democracy so much, I hope you at least understand how it works.

How, then, is seeking approval from the Maine Legislature, to present to the voters of that state, a chance to consider, debate and vote on this or any other amendment, wrong as it applies to things a person doesn’t approve of?

The letter writer claims that a constitutional amendment to protect the right to hunt, fish and trap will destroy the rights of others and prohibit them from having any legal recourse in affairs concerning wildlife management. What nonsense. No constitutional amendment, unless so written, will supersede any and all other articles and amendments within a constitution.

Not that long ago, some in Maine were promoting a law that would remove a person’s right to petition the state in wildlife management issues of which I opposed. The proposed amendment, as written, would not do that.

It appears that in the letter writer’s enthusiasm and hatred toward all things hunting, trapping and fishing, she is skewing the lines between offering substantiated reasons to oppose an amendment for its content, and the actual democratic process established within the constitution.

I assure everyone that of the 172 amendments to Maine’s Constitution, not everyone liked and voted for them. However, as I have stated, democracy sucks, especially when you are on the short end of the stick.

The process is established and as much as some would like even to change that process, which can be done by implementation of the democratic and legal processes established within the Constitution, it is a process that shouldn’t be used to somehow demonize anyone’s or group of anyone’s right to petition the state and/or use the legal process to, in fact, let the voters decide. That is after all, what most American’s think is the best way to do things. It’s a classic Jeffersonian process.

The person who wrote this letter obviously does not understand the state’s legal processes, as well as the not so legal processes, that are presented as a right to assure a citizen the process to legally change the laws. It is not only ironic, buy of a double standard, that anyone would, while attempting to bless the Maine Constitution, out of the corner of their mouths, wish to limit those rights to anyone she does not agree with or that doesn’t agree with her.

The process is there, whether we like it or not. If you support this process and believe in it, then put your money where your mouth is and let the process work. In the meantime, if you oppose or support the proposed constitutional amendment then provide valid reasons for or against. Don’t pretend to understand the process while doing everything in your power to destroy the process.

Then again, all of this could be just a charade.

 

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Right to Hunt, Fish Proposed Constitutional Amendment Perhaps Best Language…So Far

The proposed Constitutional Amendment in Maine, LD 11, the right to hunt, fish and harvest game and fish, may provide the best language so far of any proposed amendments. Passage of this amendment would be good for everyone and for the management of fish and wildlife, although opponents cannot and will never see it that way.

The amendment, often only seen from one side as providing protection to kill animals, not only would help in protecting the long-held heritage of hunting, trapping and fishing in Maine, but will help to insure that hunting, trapping and fishing are used as tools to manage and perpetuate healthy game and other wildlife populations.

The North American Model of Wildlife Conservation is a proven method of conserving and perpetuating healthy numbers of wild animal species. That model calls for the employment of hunting, trapping and fishing as a means of controlling and perpetuating the species but also provides millions of dollars in revenue needed to continue the responsible management of wild animals.

While this amendment may not be the absolute best, it is one that I can at least support. I hope readers will as well.

Below is Section 26 of the proposed amendment. That is followed by the complete proposal as is currently written.

Section 26. Right to hunt, fish and harvest game and fish. The right of the 6 people of this State to hunt, fish and harvest game and fish, including by the use of 7 traditional methods, may not be infringed, subject to reasonable laws enacted by the 8 Legislature and reasonable rules adopted by the state agency designated for fish and 9 wildlife management to promote wildlife conservation and management, to maintain 10 natural resources in trust for public use and to preserve the future of hunting and fishing. 11 Public hunting and fishing are a preferred means of managing and controlling wildlife. 12 This section may not be construed to modify any provision of law relating to eminent 13 domain, trespass or property rights.

Maine 128 - HP 12 item 1
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Kansas Right to Hunt & Fish Constitutional Amendment Passes Committee

The people have the right to hunt, fish and trap, including by the use of traditional methods, subject to reasonable laws and regulations that promote wildlife conservation and management and that preserve the future of hunting and fishing. Public hunting and fishing shall be a preferred means of managing and controlling wildlife. This section shall not be construed to modify any provision of law relating to trespass, property rights or water resources.

Source: Kansas Right to Hunt & Fish Constitutional Amendment Passe

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Constitutional Amendment to Preserve Right to Hunt Fish? A Cold Day in Hell

Even IF, and it’s a bit IF, the Maine Legislature passed any kind of constitutional amendment that some think would protect the right of Maine residents to hunt and fish, it won’t do any such thing without the needed nitty, gritty wording.

What little effort has gone into creating a proposal to protect that outdoor heritage, not only has any proposed language been mostly useless, there has been little support, even from the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (MDIFW). MDIFW wouldn’t support such an amendment, or at least one that is worded in a way that mandates the department of manage game for surplus harvest. God forbid they should do such a thing…a thing that might anger the environmentalists, of which most employees of MDIFW appear to be environmentalists, more interested in piping plovers than managing deer and moose for surplus harvest to continue providing a resource for hungry hunters.

In George Smith’s recent article he states: “Dave Trahan, Executive Director of the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine, asked the committee to consider a new Constitutional amendment to protect hunting. He said he’s researching amendments in other states, including the language used in those amendments.”

Why is it that any proposals for a constitutional amendment have to be based on what other states, who have those amendments, used for words? Will this “research” include communicating with those who proposed the amendments, i.e. what they wanted and what they settled for? And will this “research” include talking with sportsmen to find out if the amendment has worked and what would be better if changed? Just because somebody else used it doesn’t mean it is what is best for Maine.

I know of a few states that “settled” for some watered down version that amounted to nothing. Its only purpose then became a bit of leverage where outdoor sportsmen could state that voters approved an amendment to protect hunting and fishing by XXXX percentage of voters. In the meantime, state fish and game departments are struggling to provide “opportunity” and failing at managing game herds.

I’ve explained before that a constitutional amendment is useless if it does not have wording that requires the managing department to grow game populations for surplus harvest. To simply state that the department will provide hunting and fishing opportunity is meaningless. An “opportunity” might be as little as 500,000 hunters vying for 5 tags to hunt deer. What an “opportunity!”

It is puzzling, that we now live in a society where it seems more profitable to that society to protect immoral and unproductive lifestyles rather than promote wholesome ways of living carried down through generations. We are often asked if we think this country is headed in the right direction. Of course it isn’t. When there lacks the support to protect a valuable heritage, what then does our future look like?

Maine people must understand that if a serious attempt at passing an amendment, with any teeth at all, fails as miserably as in the past, the resounding message then becomes, Maine has no more interest in outdoor heritage. Hunting, fishing and trapping will end and Maine will continue to pour its resources into gay marriage, animal rights, welfare, illegal immigration, etc. etc. etc.

Maine needs to get it right.

MaineLegislator

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When Lawyers Write Hunting/Fishing Constitutional Amendments

Here we go again. Texas is attempting to be the 19th state to pass a constitutional amendment they think will protect their right to hunt and fish and harvest game. But, will it?

Proposition 6 reads:

“The people have the right to hunt, fish, and harvest wildlife, including by the use of traditional methods, subject to laws or regulations to conserve and manage wildlife and preserve the future of hunting and fishing. Hunting and fishing are preferred methods of managing and controlling wildlife. This section does not affect any provision of law relating to trespass, property rights, or eminent domain. This section does not affect the power of the legislature to authorize a municipality to regulate the discharge of a weapon in a populated area in the interest of public safety.”

To be up front, for whatever it is worth and for whatever one might think it would accomplish, I am in support of constitutional amendments aimed at protecting a man’s right to harvest game. However, of all the amendments I have seen and read, I fail to see how the words crafted in these amendments actually fully protect the right to hunt, fish, trap and fill one’s freezer, or supplement their income.

Why can’t legal documents be worded straight forward, clear, and precise, so that everyone can understand it and lawyers can’t make gobs of money “interpreting” it and challenging it in court? I know the answer. Do you?

Let’s look at Proposition 6. “including by the use of traditional methods”. Please explain. I recall an argument in Maine over this issue. Some were asking for the protection of the “traditional method” of being able to hunt from an ATV, while others understood walking through the woods with a deer rifle to be “traditional.” Who gets to decide what a “traditional method” is? Don’t tell me. Lawyers do. Ka-ching, Ka-ching.

Next: “subject to laws…to conserve and manage wildlife….AND” Here we have a bunch of gobbledy-gook that means nothing but does provide a whole bunch of gray area in which lawyers can thrive and profit. Subject to laws: Well, we are always subject to laws. As we approach a totalitarian socialist state, don’t look for being subject to laws to change anytime soon. Let’s look at “to conserve and manage wildlife.” That has meaning toward every end of the spectrum. To make my point, can I ask if it is “conserving” and “managing” wildlife to manipulate game populations to such levels as “laws we are subject to” need to be written that bans hunting to protect, preserve, “conserve and manage” game?

I inserted the “AND” above for a reason. We need to take the entire sentence as it is written in order to better understand it: “subject to the laws or regulations to conserve and manage wildlife AND preserve the future of hunting and fishing.” Does this mean that the “conserve and manage” wildlife is required by the amendment in such a way as to “preserve” hunting and fishing, i.e. is there a guarantee here or a mandate that wildlife managers will “conserve and manage” wildlife for the purpose of surplus harvest? I don’t see it. What I believe it says is that laws can be written at anytime that the legislature deems it in the best interest to “conserve and manage” wildlife, rendering this not a very effective constitutional amendment. In addition, it leaves wide open the need for lawyers and courts to “interpret” what this means. Ka-ching, Ka-ching.

The only way that any amendment can guarantee the right to hunt and fish is if that same amendment mandates the management of wildlife in surplus for the express purpose of taking fish and game.

The Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution has taken over 200 years for a Supreme Court to rule that this right is for an individual. I have always thought that amendment pretty straight forward. Imagine if the Second Amendment had read, “…the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed, subject to the laws and rules to conserve and manage arms, and preserve the future of gun ownership.”

While amendments like Proposition 6 may slow down or discourage some environmentalists from efforts to end hunting and fishing, why is it that with all the effort that goes into a constitutional amendment, it can’t be written exactly for the purpose intended?

Lawyers! Phhhft!

Here’s my version of an amendment:

The people living in this state have a right to hunt, fish and trap. The state will provide managers for the purpose of perpetuating game in surplus amounts for the people to harvest.

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Testimony Given in Constitutional Amendment to Prohibit Wildlife Management via Ballot Referendum

Testimony of James Cote on behalf of the Maine Trappers Association in Support of a Constitutional Amendment to Protect Scientific Wildlife Management in Maine

April 6, 2015

Senator Cyrway, Representative Luchini, members of the Committee, my name is James Cote and I reside in Farmington, Maine. I am here today on behalf of the Maine Trappers Association in strong (and qualified) support of an amendment to the Maine Constitution to protect scientific wildlife management. While the term “strong” is self-explanatory, I will describe my use of the term “qualified” later in this testimony.

Two things are certain to me on this subject. The first is that the process of amending any constitution is not one to be undertaken lightly. I am a strong supporter of the people’s right to petition their government. The second is that the framers of Maine’s Constitution had no way to anticipate how our ballot initiative process would be abused in the modern day in an effort to exploit and politicize our public wildlife resources. It is because of that exploitation and politicization, that we come to you today and ask for your support of a constitutional amendment to protect scientific wildlife management in Maine.

Combine tone-deaf advocacy organizations with hundreds of millions of dollars in resources and sparsely populated rural states (like Maine) with large populations of charismatic fauna and you’ve got a recipe for disaster when it comes to wildlife management. What do I mean when I use the term tone deaf?

After losing a campaign to ban Maine’s three most effective methods of managing our bear population in 2004, the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) came back in 2014 to do the very same thing. In context, HSUS spent about a million dollars in 2004, and they contributed over 99% of the roughly $2.8 million dollars of the Yes on 1 campaign in 2014. When they realized that they couldn’t overcome the public’s trust of DIFW, they filed a lawsuit just a few short weeks ahead of the election in an effort to grab a headline and get our Department to back down. Days later, they filed a request for a temporary restraining order to get ads with the Department taken off the air. That request was denied by Justice Joyce Wheeler of the Maine Superior Court. Again, not liking that they didn’t get their way, the Humane Society of the United States filed an appeal that decision. And just a few short weeks ago, an HSUS attorney told Justice Wheeler during the court’s status conference, that HSUS would be seeking another ballot initiative in 2016, despite the fact that Maine voters said no just 4 months prior. If there is one thing we know about HSUS, it is that they don’t care about electoral or legal precedence, and they make good on their threats. That’s scary when you think about the fact that their organization is worth roughly $200 million.

We Mainers have experienced this phenomenon on more than one occasion. Perhaps most notable have been the 1983 campaign to end Maine’s moose hunt, and the 2004 and 2014 campaigns to effectively end Maine’s bear hunt. On all three occasions, our Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (DIFW)—the officials and scientists that we entrust to manage our wildlife– opposed these ballot initiatives.

The 2014 campaign siphoned a tremendous amount of money out of Maine’s economy, and from the bank accounts of thousands of Maine people who sought to protect DIFW’s ability to manage our bear population. It would have undermined 40 years of nationally recognized bear management and research.

Our public opinion surveys, time and time again, showed the public trusted the biologists and game wardens at the DIFW to manage our wildlife far more than any other entity- more than professional guides, more than sportsman organizations, and yes, far more than the Humane Society of the United States.

The enabling legislation of the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife provides Maine people with a constant safeguard should a constitutional amendment pass. Their enabling legislation reads:

The Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife is established to preserve, protect and enhance the inland fisheries and wildlife resources of the State; to encourage the wise use of these resources; to ensure coordinated planning for the future use and preservation of these resources; and to provide for effective management of these resources.

To further subject Maine’s wildlife management to ballot initiative undermines the very purpose for that mission statement, and the existence of the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife. But that is exactly what the groups that put these initiatives on the ballot seek to achieve. They don’t want biologists to manage based on science, they want emotions to dictate how we manage. They will chip away, as they are doing in states all across the country, little by little until they get what they want, whether it’s good for the species or not. And all the while they will have drained otherwise productive resources from people who support our Department. In my opinion, that is an easy way to hold our wildlife hostage.

It is because of this statutory charge that we feel comfortable in asking you for this support of a constitutional amendment. An ideal amendment to our constitution would prohibit wildlife management at the ballot box, but would not prohibit public input or petition. You see, Mainers will still have many ways available to them to influence wildlife management:

1) Advocating at the Legislature.

2) Advocating at the Governor’s Office.

3) Working with DIFW officials in working groups.

4) Working with the DIFW Advisory Council on rulemaking changes.

5) Petitioning the DIFW to change a rule (in many cases a threshold of only 25 signatures of residents, sometimes more).

All of these options allow for public participation, but with the benefit of biological sideboards provided by the Department.

What prohibiting wildlife management by ballot initiative does is take the extreme amounts of money, distortion, and 30 second sound bites that we all know occur during campaigns and place the wildlife issue at hand in a more controlled policymaking environment. No less subject to public input and participation, but in a posture to consider more details from people on all sides of the issue. Our wildlife deserves that type of debate, not a war of television ads.

And now I’ll speak to the part about “qualified support”. I believe strongly, as do many others in this room, that this issue deserves lots of input. The two bills before you today are not perfect. Whether a constitutional amendment eventually gains your support or not, should be based on a thorough discussion with stakeholders and comprehensive legal analysis. As we enter the middle of April, I think it would be both reasonable and responsible, for all parties, to consider that the timeframe to consider such a significant policy is closing rapidly before the first session of the 127th Legislature adjourns sometime later this spring. Instead of rushing to a conclusion, we would request that this committee carry over either LD 754 or LD 1054 to the second session of the 127th Legislature. This process would allow more time for committee members and the Legislature to hear from constituents on the matter, to review policies and procedures at DIFW, to study the history of wildlife issues at the ballot box, to compare models from other states, and to have a more comprehensive discussion next year.

This decision is very important for the future of Maine’s wildlife. We can choose to subject Maine’s wildlife to be managed by whims at the ballot box, or we can safeguard our wildlife by making sure that the voice of the people and agency that we entrust with a statutory obligation to manage our wildlife for future generations are not buried under 30 second sound bites, laminated postcards, and special interest groups from away that have a determination to put more money in their political coffers and put an end to our storied outdoor heritage.

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Testimony Given in Right to Hunt Constitutional Amendment

Senator Paul Davis, Representative Michael Shaw, distinguished members of the committee on Inland Fisheries and wildlife.

Good afternoon and thank you for the opportunity to speak here today. My name is Brett Patten and I am here to testify in support of LD753, a proposal that would amend Maine’s Constitution to protect an individual’s right to hunt, and fish. And, in concept, LD703 a proposal that would amend the constitution of Maine to protect the people’s right to hunt, fish and harvest wildlife.

That being said, I feel here in Maine we pride ourselves on having strong beliefs as well as our own thoughts and ideas. That is why I’m asking you, when these bills go to work session that you make them our own. Make this “Maine’s Constitutional Amendment”, not Idaho’s, not Kentucky’s or any other state in the union, but Maine’s. There is a belief that similar Constitutional Amendments in other states, that are already in place, will work here in Maine, maybe they will, I don’t know. I do know this, in Maine we tend to do things our way, and not the way of others. This may be our best opportunity to do this so I would ask you to make this the best it can be.

Notwithstanding the fact that I am in favor of these bills, I am proposing the following changes in section 26 of the amendment and to the question that would appear on the ballot.
(Changes are in bold type)

Section 26. Right to hunt, fish, trap and harvest game and fish.
The right of the people of this state to hunt, fish, trap and harvest game and fish, including by the use of traditional methods, may not be infringed, subject to reasonable laws enacted by the legislature and reasonable rules adopted by the state agency designated for fish and wildlife management to promote wildlife conservation and management, to maintain natural resources in trust for public use and to preserve the future of hunting, fishing and trapping managing fish and game for surplus harvest. Public hunting, fishing and trapping are preferred means of managing, controlling and perpetuating fish and wildlife. This section may not be construed to modify any provision of law relating to eminent domain, trespass or property rights.

The question on the ballot would read like this:
“Do you favor amending the Constitution of Maine to provide that the right of the people of this state to hunt, fish, trap and harvest game and fish may not be infringed, subject to reasonable laws and rules, and to provide that public hunting, fishing and trapping are a preferred means of managing, controlling and perpetuating wildlife”?

I have hunted and fished in Maine most of my life and in recent years I’ve found a real love in trapping. I’m very proud to say I’m a registered Maine guide, a member of the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine, the Maine Professional Guide’s Association and the Maine Trapper’s Association. Last year’s fight against the bear referendum showed me a lot about who we are as Mainer’s. Although I was sickened at the amount of money and resources wasted in last years fight, I’m very grateful that I got to be a part of, and see firsthand, the solidarity and determination it took to defeat the Humane Society of the United States, for the second time in 10 years. For those of you that may not know, the Maine trapper’s Association donated over $117,000.00 towards last years cause along with soliciting thousands more from other fraternal organization’s. Trapping is a valuable part of Maine’s wildlife conservation and has been for hundreds of years. The word “trap” and the word “trapping” deserve to be in this amendment.

Opponents of bills like these say, “A State’s Constitution should guarantee fundamental democratic rights, not provide protection for recreational pastimes.” I say, “Hunting, fishing, and trapping are not recreational pastimes, but they are rights, rights of the people of this great state that should be protected forever!”

I would ask you to please vote “ought to pass” with the few changes I have presented.

I would be happy to answer any questions that the committee may have.

Thank you all for your time and God bless.

Respectfully submitted,
Brett Patten

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Maine Should Try Some Originality in Their Quest for Constitutional Amendment

I read an article today from Texas. The link was sent to me by a reader. The article was an announcement of sorts of the Texas Legislature’s proposal for a constitutional amendment for the “right” to hunt, fish and trap. The proposal is HJR 61.

Here are the magic words:

“Sec.A34.AA(a) The people have the right to hunt, fish, and harvest wildlife, including by the use of traditional methods, subject to laws or regulations to conserve and manage wildlife and preserve the future of hunting and fishing. (b)AAHunting and fishing are preferred methods of managing and controlling wildlife. (c)AAThis section does not affect any provision of law relating to trespass, property rights, or eminent domain.”

Here is what one amendment proposal from Maine says: (LD 753)

“Section 26. Right to hunt, fish and harvest game and fish. The right of the people of this State to hunt, fish and harvest game and fish, including by the use of traditional methods, may not be infringed, subject to reasonable laws enacted by the Legislature and reasonable rules adopted by the state agency designated for fish and wildlife management to promote wildlife conservation and management, to maintain natural resources in trust for public use and to preserve the future of hunting and fishing. Public hunting and fishing are a preferred means of managing and controlling wildlife. This section may not be construed to modify any provision of law relating to eminent domain, trespass or property rights.”

Recently Idaho passed a constitutional amendment for the “right” to hunt, trap and fish:

“SECTION 23. THE RIGHTS TO HUNT, FISH AND TRAP. The rights to hunt, fish and trap, including by the use of traditional methods, are a valued part of the heritage of the State of Idaho and shall forever be preserved for the people and managed through the laws, rules and proclamations that preserve the future of hunting, fishing and trapping. Public hunting, fishing and trapping of wildlife shall be a preferred means of managing and controlling wildlife. The rights set forth herein do not create a right to trespass on private property, shall not affect rights to divert, appropriate and use water, or establish any minimum amount of water in any water body, and shall not lead to a diminution of other private rights.”

Do you see what has happened? This wording is nearly verbatim to words adopted by other state fish and game departments. I am contending that these words are being deliberately pushed through any state seeking an amendment, including Maine.

I just don’t know how I can get people to realize what this wording does…..effectively nothing. Oh yeah, it MIGHT help to stop a couple of silly lawsuits here and there but will do nothing to protect a right and provide a means in which we can exercise that right. Carefully consider the language of each of these bill proposals and the Idaho amendment passed. Then picture a group of lawyers dissecting that language. Then I ask again, will this language guarantee anyone’s right to hunt, trap and fish? It’s no different than the Supreme Court of the United States declaring in Heller v. District of Columbia and NRA v. Chicago, that the Second Amendment is an individual right to keep and bear arms, and yet, what good is that right if you are not allowed to buy a gun in state or bring one in from someplace else or to be able to go outside and use it. Our “right” might be protected, but the ability to exercise it has been taken away.

Maine sportsmen and others, at least some, recognize that fish and game departments, with each passing year, are becoming nothing more than mouthpieces and useful idiots of the environmentalists. With this infiltration of environmentalism into every facet of our being, we are only a short time away from fish and game (i.e. “natural resources”) departments deciding to manage wildlife for non consumptive use. It’s happening! Open your eyes! And then where is the “right” to hunt, fish and trap? Yep! The right still exists but those “natural resource” managers have decided that “nature” can do a better job of managing and controlling ALL wildlife and that “non consumptive” use of a “public resource” will preserve that resource. What we will see is a gradual decrease in licenses or tags available and loss of opportunities.

But nobody gets it. I get emails from a few telling me I’m wrong. Telling me that those other states that have amendments, it’s working real good. Maybe, maybe not! But I can guarantee you, it hasn’t stopped the environmentalists from taking over fish and wildlife management.

I realize that few see it the way that I do and think me wrong, and I might be. But, it is my opinion that without specific wording that mandates the fish and wildlife department to manage wildlife for surplus harvest, I’m afraid the proposed wording will only prove to protect a right without a guarantee that that right can be exercised.

It is unfortunate that it appears that these state proposals for constitutional amendments resembles what we see in news media everyday – one news source (AP, Reuters) prints a story and the whole world accepts it and parrots it. Maine should think these proposals through better and come up with some original text that will do a better job if they really want to keep hunting, fishing and trapping into the future.

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