September 22, 2017

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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Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine Pushing Three Bills This Session

I have heard that the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine (SAM) is pushing for support of three bills being presented before the Maine Legislature, that are described as in support and protection of hunting, fishing and trapping, changing the way signatures are gathered for public referendum items, and banning public referendum on wildlife issues. Let me address them one at a time.

First, there appears to be another attempt to somehow, through the Legislature, “protect the right to hunt.” I have not seen the language, which, to me, is of utmost importance. It is mostly a waste of time to support any law or constitutional amendment that does not go far enough to protect a right to hunt, fish and trap. What most don’t see is that what has been mostly presented so far, and this is true in several states that have already passed some kind of law to protect hunting, fishing and trapping, is that there is a difference between protecting a right for the opportunity to hunt, fish and trap, and the actual right to hunt, fish and trap. “Opportunities,” as the word is almost always wiggled into any attempt at fake protection of hunting, fishing and trapping, can take on many disguises, some of which one has to use their imagination to see any protection at all.

As things stand currently in Maine, most sportsmen are presented with “opportunities” to hunt, fish and trap. Would outdoor sportsmen be just as happy, years down the road, if those “opportunities” shrank to little or no chance to hunt, fish or trap? Any law passed worded with “provide opportunities” would only require the absolute minimum in order to fulfill the mandate. Thought must be given this matter.

What I have been witness to in other states that include only “opportunities” is that they can tell someone at what percentage the voters passed or rejected the law. Other than that, it really has no teeth, but might possibly discourage some under-funded environmentalist group from suing…but don’t hold your breath.

On the other hand, any law or constitutional amendment MUST provide a mandate, that whoever is in control of game management, must manage all game species “for surplus harvest.” I’m not stupid and I understand this is language fish and game departments, as well as slimy politicians, don’t want to see in any law or amendment. They hate placing mandates on themselves. It cramps their style. However, the only way that the actual act of hunting, trapping and fishing can be guaranteed is by including a mandate that the department must manage the game species for surplus harvest, otherwise what’s the point of it all? That would certainly take care of protecting opportunities.

I would fully support an amendment that contains the appropriate language. I wouldn’t oppose a useless amendment for protecting “opportunities,” but I would spend any time supporting it.

A second issue involves some kind of law that would require a different structure for gathering signatures in order to place a proposal on the ballot as a public referendum. Once again, I have not seen the language, but would support a change that would more equitably provide signatures that most closely represents the voting public. Maine has a wide disparaging population that goes hand in hand with political idealism. It appears that it becomes a bit too easy for someone to focus signature gathering on the most densely populated areas of Southern Maine, where residents there more closely resemble citizens of Massachusetts than the northern two-thirds of the Pine Tree State. I don’t think such a change would actually change anything, except that it might discourage fence sitters with little or no money from exercising their right to petition the government. This is something to consider.

Voters should think sufficiently on this issue before tossing support or opposition. What is good for the goose is good for the gander. In other words, for those seeking signatures that would more easily be targeted in northern and rural Maine, an equal number, or a more representative number of signatures, must be gathered from both regions – the door swings both ways.

And speaking of a goose and a gander, this brings me to the third item up for discussion. For the third time I remind readers I have not seen the exact language of the proposed legislation. It is my understanding that a proposal is being promoted by SAM that would prohibit public referendum items that involve “wildlife issues.”

Who is going to decide what is a “wildlife issue” to be accepted or rejected? What could possibly go wrong?

It appears to me that those in support of such a prohibition are making the assumption that they will always be in agreement with how the state, and in particular the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (MDIFW), manages game and wildlife. Do you have the confidence that the MDIFW will always be doing what you consider the right thing? What will happen then, if MDIFW decides that it will shift all its funds and employees to protecting piping plovers, allowing the deer herd to go to hell in a hand-basket? You try and try and try to get them to better balance their work. Even SAM has mounted a campaign to deal with issues that are important to its members, but there is no changing their minds. What then? What’s left? Presently, you could gather signatures and mount a referendum campaign for the upcoming ballot to force the changes you seek. With a ban on “wildlife issues” on referendums, this right to petition the state is gone.

It always amazes me to witness, so-called, supporters of rights, who turn around and use their right to take away a right they claim they support.

It sucks that we live in a democracy, where two wolves and a sheep can decide what’s for lunch, but it is the system that we have and our rights need to be protected in order that we can have some kind of recourse when government gets too big and out of control. I have zero faith that Maine’s government, or any other government, gives three pieces of camel dung about me and what I think is important. As I witness the changes taking place within fish and game departments, more closely resembling environmental activism, this right to petition the state on wildlife issues must remain in place.

I would NOT support a ban on referendums that involve “wildlife issues” regardless of what the definition is of “wildlife issues.”

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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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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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LD1303: Maine’s Constitutional Amendment to Establish Right to Hunt, Trap and Fish

I don’t understand why proposals, such as this one coming out of Maine, is seemingly kept so quiet. It wasn’t until last evening that I discovered on The New England Outdoor Voice message board, via an alert from the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine that LD1303 was headed to a work session with the Joint Standing Committee on Inland Fisheries and Wildlife.

LD1303 is a proposed amendment to the Maine Constitution aimed at protecting/establishing and giving Maine citizens a “right” to hunt, trap and fish. The bill summary states:

This resolution proposes to amend the Constitution of Maine to provide that the citizens of Maine have the personal right to hunt, fish and harvest wildlife, subject to laws and rules that promote wildlife conservation and preserve the future of hunting and fishing, and to provide that public hunting and fishing are a preferred means of managing and controlling wildlife.

The specifics of the proposed amendment reads as follows:

Constitution, Art. IX, §26 is enacted to read:

Section 26. Personal right to hunt, fish and harvest wildlife; limitations. The freedom to hunt, fish and harvest wildlife traditionally taken by hunters and anglers is a valued natural heritage that must be forever preserved for the citizens of this State. Every citizen has the personal right to hunt, fish and harvest wildlife, using traditional methods, subject only to statutes enacted by the Legislature and to rules adopted by the designated state agency to promote wildlife conservation and management 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 trespass, property rights or the regulation of commercial activities.

This is not the first time Maine has attempted something along these same lines and somehow it just meets a quiet and sudden death.

When I read the proposal, I immediately went to work sending out a few emails to those on my mailing list and included emails to Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (MDIFW) Commissioner Chandler Woodcock, the executive director of the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine, David Trahan, Rep. Paul Davis, who sits on the Joint Standing Committee (JSC) and is a cosponsor, and Rep. Kenneth Fredette, the sponsor of the bill. The crux of my email was to encourage these people to amend this proposal.

I think the proposal as it stands is good, except that it is missing vital information; a mandate if you will. I have read and researched over the years many different proposals by states across the country attempting to pass constitutional amendments to protect and/or establish a right to hunt, trap and fish. This proposal does that except that it does not mandate that the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife will manage all game species for surplus harvest. An amendment can guarantee a citizen a right to hunt, trap and fish but it becomes useless if and when the fish and game department decides it is no longer interested in managing game for consumptive use.

Some may laugh at such a notion but I’m telling you it is happening all over this country. Environmentalists and animal rights groups are working relentlessly to pressure fish and game (wildlife) departments to protect predators and end the heritage of consumptive use of natural game species. This mandate must be included in this amendment. It is on record of some fish and game officials in other states saying they no longer think fish and game departments should be managing wildlife for consumptive use. A mandate by the people could prevent that.

My suggestion for wording might look something like this, bearing in mind I am not a lawyer/lawmaker:

“This addition also mandates that the Maine Legislature, in conjunction with the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife and commissioner, will manage all game species for surplus harvest.” It might also want to including wording that consumptive use of these natural resources is also part of Maine’s heritage.

Simple, yet effective! In some states that have failed to get this as part of their constitutional amendments, regret not doing so.

It is important to understand, whether this is the intent, in whole or in part, of the sponsors of this bill, that not only is it important to protect and establish this right to hunt, trap and fish, it does go to some help to reduce lawsuits brought against the state aimed at ending or limiting the hunting opportunities of sportsmen. Such an amendment would not put an end to these lawsuits but it usually acts as a deterrent and saves the state money.

I’d also like to remind readers that when now Commissioner Chandler Woodcock was running for governor in Maine in 2006, in an online interview I did with all the candidates in July of that year, I asked each candidate if they would support a constitutional amendment. This is a copy of the exact question I asked:

Question number one – In an effort to protect hunting and fishing heritage, some states have enacted a Constitutional Amendment protecting that heritage. Proponents of an amendment say it will reduce the millions of dollars spent on fighting groups opposed to hunting and that guaranteeing a protected industry will strengthen the Maine economy, to name some reasons. Those opposed to an amendment mostly say it is unnecessary, that existing laws protect hunting and fishing now. Would you support a Constitutional amendment that would guarantee the protection of Maine’s hunting and fishing heritage?

And here is what then candidate Chandler Woodcock wrote:

I would support the constitutional amendment after it was approved by the people of Maine. I would not initiate the process or side with those who initiate the process. That said, there are two issues being addressed: The first is the preservation of the heritage and the second is the rights of the citizens to petition the government. I do not yet believe that the first has created a need to eliminate the second.

Please, contact members of the Joint Standing Committee and express to them that you would like to see an amendment to this proposal to include a mandate for MDIFW to manage game species for surplus harvest.

Please visit this page. Click on each member’s name and you will reach a page that includes contact information. This needs to be done before JSC votes on the proposal. Thank you.

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Why Government Will Never Assure Your Access To Resources for Hunting, Trapping and Fishing

We must somehow learn to ween ourselves from the hind teat of government. Through the indoctrination and brainwashing forcefully imposed on us from birth, we grow up always looking to government for answers to our problems. When is the last time any government agency, law or program rightfully solved anyone’s problems?

Very few states in this Union have any kind of constitutional or statute law that protects the citizens and their right to make use of the natural resources for hunting, trapping and fishing. To my knowledge, the following states have constitutional amendments that supposedly guarantee the citizens of these states the unobstructed right to hunt: Alaska, Arkansas, Georgia, Louisiana, Minnesota, Montana, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Vermont, Virginia, Wisconsin. Nearly all of these amendments were voted on and approved by the people.

There has been a push of late for states to enshrine their rights to hunting, trapping and fishing but does such a move actually accomplish what people are led to believe it will, i.e. an actual constitutional protection, a guarantee that this right shall never be infringed?

Hunters in states like Idaho are trying to bet their guarantee on a state code. One of the difficulties not being realized by these outdoor sportsmen is that they are not looking at the entire code. It’s not necessarily that they are cherry picking or taking the code out of context, it is that I believe they are victims of exactly what the authors and signers of the code intended. In other words the code was written intentionally to confuse, while at the same time sounding as though it was accomplishing what some of the voters asked for. This is a common tactic of all untrustworthy politicians and another reason none of them can be trusted. This should also bolster the resolve that we the people should not rely on government to protect us from anything.

In Idaho, this code debate began with the announcement by the Idaho Department of Fish and Game (IDFG) that a “Wildlife Summit” was being planned for August of 2012.

Much of the initial outrage occurred when the sportsmen discovered that many anti-hunting, environmental, and non governmental agencies were invited to the Summit. While I certainly agree that anti-hunting and all environmental groups should have no say in fish and game management because of their agendas, whether as individuals or groups, these people do have a right to attend such a meeting.

There are other issues that surround the intent of the Summit. One of them being that some members of the IDFG Commission seem to be indicating that the goal of the Summit is to rewrite the mission of IDFG.

In an email I received from one Idaho citizen who attended a recent IDFG meeting, I was told that one member of the Commission said that these anti-hunting, non governmental organizations (NGO), have a good representation of Idaho sportsmen. The person told the commissioner that he was trying to change Idaho Code 36-103.

This may actually be true, at least from the perspective of someone working very diligently to preserve the hunting heritage of their state but the bottom line is the codes that are written and what they actually say and just as importantly how they would be interpreted in a court of law, determines everything.

In many of the discussions I have read about this issue, the sportsmen seem intent on tossing out the first half of Idaho Code 36-103 , which reads:

36-103. Wildlife property of state — Preservation. (a) Wildlife Policy. All wildlife, including all wild animals, wild birds, and fish, within the state of Idaho, is hereby declared to be the property of the state of Idaho. It shall be preserved, protected, perpetuated, and managed. It shall be only captured or taken at such times or places, under such conditions, or by such means, or in such manner, as will preserve, protect, and perpetuate such wildlife, and provide for the citizens of this state and, as by law permitted to others, continued supplies of such wildlife for hunting, fishing and trapping.

The thrust of the focus by hunters appears to be directed at: “provide for the citizens of this state and, as by law permitted to others, continued supplies of such wildlife for hunting, fishing and trapping.”

This is done with disregard for the rest of the WORDS written into the code by lawyers. Before we take a bit of a closer look at this law, I’ll post here the entire statute:

36-103. Wildlife property of state — Preservation. (a) Wildlife Policy. All wildlife, including all wild animals, wild birds, and fish, within the state of Idaho, is hereby declared to be the property of the state of Idaho. It shall be preserved, protected, perpetuated, and managed. It shall be only captured or taken at such times or places, under such conditions, or by such means, or in such manner, as will preserve, protect, and perpetuate such wildlife, and provide for the citizens of this state and, as by law permitted to others, continued supplies of such wildlife for hunting, fishing and trapping.
(b) Commission to Administer Policy. Because conditions are changing and in changing affect the preservation, protection, and perpetuation of Idaho wildlife, the methods and means of administering and carrying out the state’s policy must be flexible and dependent on the ascertainment of facts which from time to time exist and fix the needs for regulation and control of fishing, hunting, trapping, and other activity relating to wildlife, and because it is inconvenient and impractical for the legislature of the state of Idaho to administer such policy, it shall be the authority, power and duty of the fish and game commission to administer and carry out the policy of the state in accordance with the provisions of the Idaho fish and game code. The commission is not authorized to change such policy but only to administer it.

Lawyers and a court of law can rip this Code to shreds and resulting rulings will leave us all wondering how that was done. While it’s easy as hunters to focus on those highlighted words above, even though the authors may have intended that to be your focus, all the other words have meaning too. To a lawyer and a judge, multiple meanings.

In brief, Part A above does not guarantee that the IDFG or the state of Idaho must grow game populations so that everyone in Idaho who wants to hunt, trap and fish can do so and for all the species in which seasons are provided. As a matter of fact, the Code says that the only time taking of game will be permitted is when there is enough wildlife to go around. However, that “taking” can be limited by any means the IDFG sees fit.

Part B then goes on to give the fish and game commission the authority to administer this code. As much as all of us would love to believe the fish and game commission doesn’t have the right to “change Idaho Code 36-103”, there’s nothing really in that code that guarantees Idaho citizens a right to hunt, trap and fish. What some members of the commission might be interested in doing by inviting anti-hunting groups to the summit, is to build support to change the mission statement of IDFG.

One would think that with the intent of Idaho Code 36-103, i.e to guarantee Idaho citizens the right to hunt, trap and fish, a step up to a constitutional amendment would be an easy task. That didn’t happen though did it? Perhaps now you are getting a better understanding as to why. Who’s your friend? Who’s on your side?

My intent here was not to dissect Idaho Code but to make a broader statement and support with facts on the ground. The truth is not even a constitutional amendment guarantees outdoor sportsmen any right to hunt, fish or trap. It may be perhaps the best chance at achieving such but is far from a blank check guarantee. And for those states with some kind of statute, like Idaho, no code or statute is protected from change, especially those with an agenda.

Most amendments to constitutions are non specific. In states that have such constitutional changes, the amendment may read that the citizens of that state have a right to hunt, trap and fish and that it may go so far as to require the fish and game departments to “perpetuate” wild game for hunting opportunities for the citizens. This is so non specific it leaves the door wide open to interpretation. Forget the intent of the amendment. Intent means nothing when dealing with law makers with an agenda.

Consider the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution. Recently in two Supreme Court rulings it was determined that Washington, D.C. (Heller vs. District of Columbia), and Chicago (NRA vs. City of Chicago) could not prohibit citizens from owning a handgun. While the Second Amendment is suppose to guarantee American citizens a right to keep and bear arms, we see that even with a Supreme Court ruling, the citizens of Washington, D.C. and Chicago do not have a right to keep and bear arms as they wish.

The reality of it is, we deal with many things most of us are completely unaware of. In our reliance on government to protect us, we refuse to believe that our constitutions and laws will not protect us and do what we have been told they will do. Even Supreme Court rulings are not enough to force cities to comply. They would rather take their chances in more courts with more lawsuits because that’s where their friends are. Surely if the rulings of the Supreme Court mean nothing to the governments of local cities, why should we rest that our state governments care one way or the other about our rights to hunt, trap and fish?

And while you are sleeping, changes to our laws are taking place that we know nothing about. For instance, in Maine, I was researching to find out what the state statutes were regarding trapping. You can find the details here, but what I discovered was that during a federally mandated “recodification” process, your laws can and are being changed and you may not know it.

We are told by our government that recodification of all states’ laws will be done every ten years. The intent of this action is supposed to be to clear up redundancies and other issues that make deciphering and interpreting the laws clearer and easier. What I discovered was someone took this opportunity to rewrite the laws the way they wanted them done. BTW, a new round of recodification is supposed to take place in 2013. Pay attention!

With a legislature either deaf and dumb to the responsibilities of the job or in on the illegal action, it is a snap to pass these recodified laws. After all, it’s just a housekeeping measure, right?

We must stop depending on government for anything. They cannot be trusted nor will they protect you and I from anything. To stop this would be monumental because it would require a complete makeover that begins in our schools and homes. At the ballot box we can work harder at getting the right people elected but it doesn’t end there. We need watch dog groups that will follow everything each law maker does and make sure the public knows and understands. This of course will never happen because there aren’t enough people who care.

Tom Remington

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