September 22, 2019

Maine’s LD11 – Fabricating Problems for a Predetermined Solution

It matters not to me in this rebuttal whether LD 11 passes or not. God knows I have worn out my keyboard over the years writing about the ups and downs and ins and outs of any and all constitutional amendments presented as a protective device to guarantee the right to hunt, trap and fish.

A recent Letter to the Editor writer expressed concern that passing such an amendment was, “a solution in search of a problem.” However, in an attempt to sell any readers of her theorizing, the writer creates a “problem” in search of a predefined solution.

The writer states: “In fact, LD 11 could actually create problems. Requiring that hunting and fishing be the “preferred means” of managing and controlling wildlife could limit local communities and our state wildlife agency from making sound, science-based decisions.

“What’s more, enshrining these activities in our Constitution would amount to an open invitation for poachers to exploit them to their advantage and could subject longstanding conservation laws to legal challenge from those arguing that this constitutional right exempts them from existing restrictions like bag limits or prohibitions on spotlight or road hunting.”

Depending upon the wording of a constitutional amendment, there exists the possibility that such an amendment could “limit” anti-hunting and animal rights groups from endless and frivolous lawsuits. That is often the nexus behind such proposals. But, understand there is ABSOLUTELY NOTHING “sound and science-based” behind so-called wildlife management of today. One could honestly argue that the necessity for an amendment is necessary because to the admitted social nature of most decisions made about wildlife management, none of which are based on anything resembling science.

But, honestly, suggesting that a constitutional amendment would increase poaching while encouraging hunters to break the law and exceed bag limits, etc. is preposterous.

It is always entertaining to discover the fabrication of myths and fairy tales from those lacking in knowledge and/or cannot find any solid data to support their claims or to refute intelligently the reasons why Maine should not need a constitutional amendment.

Whether or not you are in support or opposition to proposed legislative and public initiative actions should be disseminated with facts not creations of one’s imagination.

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Maine’s Constitutional Amendment to Hunt and Fish Given a Thumbs Down

According to George Smith’s article in the Bangor Daily News, the Maine Legislature’s Joint Standing Committee for Inland Fisheries and Wildlife turned their noses up at a proposed constitutional amendment sold as something that would guarantee Maine residents a right to hunt and fish. The biggest reasons, as expressed in the article, is that the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (MDIFW), who said they were neither for nor against the amendment while showing their disdain for it, might hinder their ability to carry out their management practices. One might ask if that was necessarily a bad thing. The other issue seemed to be that some lawmakers were afraid that if the initiative went to the voters and was rejected it would cast a negative image on MDIFW and sportsmen.

No really! That’s what is written. Check this out. “Rep. Bob Duchesne, the House chair of the IFW Committee, stated that the majority of the committee agrees that we do have the right to hunt and fish. But he also expressed… that voters might reject the amendment which would have a seriously negative impact.”

Here is an organization that seems to go out of its way to keep important information from sportsmen, pissing a lot of us off, and they are worried about whether allowing the people of Maine to make a decision on a constitutional amendment might have negative effects? Whatever! Buy the emperor some new clothes!

It doesn’t really matter. It’s probably a good thing this proposal is dead in the water. One has to ask whether it would have been worth the time, effort and expense to push this amendment when you consider the amendment didn’t go far enough to guarantee anything. Like just about all legislation, it would be worthless and crafted in such a way that lawyers would have a field day with it.

And besides, isn’t this proposed amendment coming about a decade or two too late? Somebody has been sleeping.

The entire effort reminds me of the Biblical parable of the ten virgins. Ten virgins were told to go and wait for the bridegroom to return. Five took lamps with oil in them and five took lamps with no oil. When the bridegroom returned, five virgins lit their lamps and followed him while the other five were lost and left behind. I’ll let you figure out who had the oil.

I suggested a constitutional amendment for Maine at least ten years ago. As a matter of fact, I also posed such a question to Maine’s gubernatorial candidates in 2006. Two of the three candidates supported an amendment or would support it if the people desired one. But, there was no mention of negative embarrassments if such a proposal failed before the voters. Where are we headed anyway? Perhaps back then, if lamps had been trimmed and ready for action, an amendment might have been more easily accepted.

As time wears on, the activity of hunting, trapping, and fishing is falling by the wayside being overtaken by the movements of Environmentalists. Environmentalism, a disease that has deliberately been spread throughout the nation to upend the time-proven heritage and science of wildlife management according to the North American Model of Wildlife Management, and replaced with non-consumptive, Romance Scientism, has infiltrated every aspect at every level of wildlife management. Because of this, there are few left who see what is happening and the reception of such things as constitutional amendments to guarantee the right to hunt, trap, and fish is, in and of itself, negative.

This infiltration is seen within the proposed amendment itself – a proposal that guarantees no more than the propaganda that MDIFW lists on their website as a mission statement.

From this point on, any effort to even suggest a constitutional amendment would be nothing more than a waste of time. Chaulk another up for the animal rights/environmentalists. They are winning the battle one small step at a time while the rest of us dither.

The day rapidly approaches when someone might ask, “Didn’t there used to be hunting in Maine?”

BUT DON’T GO LOOK!

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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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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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SAM Proposing Legislation/Amendment to Stop HSUS Harassment

TrahanBelow is a video from the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine with an explanation about five proposed bills the organization is supporting in which the goal is to force the collection of petition signatures to be done by only Maine residents and to close up, what SAM calls, other loopholes.

Another huge issue involves the proposal for a constitutional amendment to declare a right to hunt and fish. It seems there are more than one proposal and the three I have seen, as they now stand, I’m not too nuts about.

In this video, David Trahan, executive director for the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine, states that the SAM amendment proposal is LD 739. I couldn’t find an LD 739 dealing with the subject of a constitutional amendment. I am still looking and have friends helping.

Two proposals are near the same. LD 703 is written:

Section 26. Personal right to hunt, fish and harvest wildlife; limitations. Every citizen has the personal right to hunt, fish and harvest wildlife, subject only to statutes enacted by the Legislature and to rules adopted by the state agency designated to promote wildlife conservation and management and to preserve the future of hunting and fishing. Public hunting, fishing and harvesting wildlife are a preferred means of managing and controlling wildlife. This section may not be construed to modify any provision of law relating to trespass or property rights.

LD 753 is as follows:

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.

LD 754 is actually an amendment to the existing constitution – Constitution, Art. IV, Pt. Third, §18, sub-§1. The amendment would add the following: “and not an amendment to the laws of the State governing hunting and fishing” the purpose of which would be to prohibit any efforts to change the laws governing hunting and fishing through citizen initiative/referendum process.

I have stated often that in order for a constitutional amendment to be effective in actually providing some semblance of a future guarantee of any right to hunt and fish, such an amendment must contain language that mandates that the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, or whoever and under what name wildlife management becomes in the future, manages Maine’s game species for the purpose of surplus harvest. None of the language in these three proposals gives us that.

History has shown that constitutional amendments, believed to be for the purpose of protecting the right of citizens to hunt and fish, without specific mandates, does nothing in protecting that right. What good is a right if it cannot be exercised? If and when any state fish and game department decides it will manage any and all wildlife for non consumptive use, then there is little purpose in protecting one’s right to hunt and fish.

In addition, the wording of such an amendment should be done in order that if and when the State of Maine decides it wants to merge departments or make changes in its department structure, which has been proposed in Maine in the past, which may also change its department name (department of natural resources as an example) that this amendment, which includes the mandate to manage game for surplus harvest, travels with those changes. Otherwise, restructuring, which might involve dissolving the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, and creating of a new department, may present a legal issue and concern over whether such and amendment would still apply.

I hope that SAM and others aren’t so heavily focused on making sure that the Humane Society of the United States, and/or other environmental/animal rights groups, can’t force referendums that they miss an opportunity to do the job right and with complete protection.

I would also like to state that in LD 739, which is a process aimed at prohibiting the use of citizen initiatives in changing hunting and fishing laws, while an argument can be made about whether such an amendment would take away the public’s right to petition the state, it also sets a potentially dangerous precedent. Actions of this sort, have a way of coming around and biting us on the butt. I would not prefer this method of accomplishing the goals of SAM and other outdoor sportsmen.

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Texas Proposes “Right to Hunt” Constitutional Amendment

Below is a copy of the proposal, HJR 61, a constitutional amendment to recognize the right to “hunt, fish and harvest wildlife.” But does the wording in this amendment actually accomplish what supporters might think it will?

The wording, described by some as being “carefully considered” has too much gray area and never really guarantees anybody anything. What it guarantees, maybe, is that it recognizes harvesting of games as a management tool. It guarantees that “subject to laws or regulations to conserve and manage wildlife,” if there’s any spoilage left over, you will be able to buy a license and have an “opportunity.”

It is my opinion that such a “joint resolution” might be better than nothing, sportsmen need to understand it does not and will guarantee that the state will manage game species FOR SURPLUS HARVEST. It doesn’t express that at all.

HJR 61 Proposed:

A JOINT RESOLUTION
proposing a constitutional amendment relating to the right to hunt, fish, and harvest wildlife.

BE IT RESOLVED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF TEXAS:

SECTIONA1.AAArticle I, Texas Constitution, is amended by adding Section 34 to read as follows:

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.

SECTIONA2.AAThis proposed constitutional amendment shall be submitted to the voters at an election to be held November 3, 2015. The ballot shall be printed to permit voting for or against the proposition: “The constitutional amendment recognizing the right of the people to hunt, fish, and harvest wildlife subject to laws that promote wildlife conservation.”

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