October 20, 2019

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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Mississippi House Passes Deer Baiting Bill

The Mississippi House passed an amended bill, HB423, that will permit hunting over bait in 34 of the states counties. Most of these counties are in the southern half of the state. The bill will meet its next challenge in the Senate that hasn’t looked upon any previous bills of this nature with kindness.

Tom Remington

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Idaho Politicians Want To Lower Wolf Tag Price

About a week and a half ago, the Idaho Fish and Game announced that residents interested in purchasing a tag to hunt the gray wolf, if it is ever removed from the Endangered Species list, they would have to pay $26.50. At least two Idaho congressmen think that is too high.

Rep. Bert Stevenson, R-Rupert, and Rep. Fred Wood, R-Burley, presented the Senate Natural Resources Commission a bill that would reduce the price of a tag down to $9.75, the same price as a tag for a mountain lion and black bear.

The legislators said that after deliberations between the commission and lawmakers, it was agreed to keep the price at $9.75 for Idahoans. Nonresidents still would pay $150.

Both lawmakers said they juggled with raising tag prices for some animals and lowering them for others and, in the end, decided to leave everything as is.

“We realized we had to make some changes,” Stevenson told the committee. “There was some thought that we might treat them differently.”

The proposal heads for the House floor.

Tom Remington

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Six Bills Await Discussion In Idaho About Elk Farming/Hunting

Right now there are six proposed legislative bills being presented to the Idaho Congress for consideration. Here is a brief overview of each of the bills.

SB1004 – Sponsor Senator Gary Schroeder – Purpose – The purpose of this legislation is to place a moratorium on the establishment of new domestic Cervidae farms in the State of Idaho from the date of passage of this legislation until 2 July, 2012.

SB1005 – Sponsor Senator Gary Schroeder – Purpose – The purpose of this legislation is to provide that Cervidae farms in the State of Idaho shall be licensed by the Idaho Department of Agriculture, to provide that the Director of the Department of Agriculture is authorized to establish a fee structure for the licensure, and to authorize the Director of the Department of Agriculture to revoke the license of Cervidae farms for noncompliance with state rules and laws.

SB1039 – Sponsor Senator Gary Schroeder – Purpose – The purpose of this legislation is to prohibit the lease, exchange, or sale of State Lands for Cervidae ranching.

SB1072 – Sponsor Sen. David Langhorst – Purpose – This legislation amends Title 25 of Idaho Code to specify that all domestic ervidae shall be held in a secure enclosure with dual perimeter fencing.

SB1073 – Sponsors – Sen. David Langhorst, Sen. John Andreason – Purpose – This legislation amends Title 25 of Idaho Code to place a moratorium on the establishment of domestic cervidae farms, to prohibit the further importation of domestic cervidae, and to ban the shooting of domestic cervidae.

SB1074 – Sponsor Senator Corder – Purpose – The purpose of this proposed legislation is to provide a licensing procedure for domestic cervidae farms or ranches. The proposed legislation also allows for rules to be promulgated to address site specific fence adjustments pertaining to ingress and egress on domestic cervidae farms and ranches. The proposed legislation also implements
a one time fee of $200 to license a domestic cervidae farm or ranch and requires any domestic cervidae imported into the state of Idaho during the year to be subject to the annual per head assessment.

*Update* Testimony on these bills will commence on February 13th before the legislature and will continue on the 15th if needed. Representatives of the Idaho Elk Breeders Association will be on hand as well as those who oppose elk ranching and ranch hunting.

Tom Remington

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Don't Feed The Wild Animals

Rep. Scott Lansley, (R) Sabbattus, Maine, has sponsored a bill, LD197, in Maine that would make it illegal to intentionally feed deer and wild turkeys. Not very many people are finding that a good bill.

The Lewiston Sun Journal has a story about how some people feel about the new proposed law. While the article speaks to some opposed the the new law and those who believe it necessary, there is very little if any science behind anyone’s claims that feeding wild animals during the winter is or is not harmful.

Although there has never been a law prohibiting the practice, the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife discourages it.

Comments that follow the LSJ article, at least at the time of this writing, all were against the new proposed legislation.

It will be interesting to see where MDIFW lines up with this proposal. Even though they discourage people from supplemental feeding, they’ve never really pushed a law to stop it.

Tom Remington

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Without Free Speech, How To We Protect Our Other Rights Including 2nd Amendment?

One of the basic rights we all have is to be able to talk with our representatives in Congress and express our thoughts and present our views. Often times hunting groups will designate one person as a representative to speak for the majority. As part of that process, we as members of an organization are encouraged by the leaders of our hunting and gun clubs to contact our representatives in an effort to make sure that each member of Congress understands the importance of certain issues, for example gun rights.

What if that right was taken away from us or at least limited in such a way that for all intent and purposes our First Amendment rights became null and void? According to an article by Dan White of Ohioans For Concealed Carry, the projected incoming Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, is considering legislation that would do that under the guise of lobby reform. (Pelosi of course being anti-gun)

The legislation would make changes to the legal definition of “grassroots lobbying” and require any organization that encourages 500 or more members of the general public to contact their elected representatives to file a report with detailed information about their organization to the government on a quarterly basis.

Although this in itself would not prohibit lobbying efforts, it would put a damper on things. But word is that this will be combined with other changes, presented in a previous failed bill, that would really bring lobbying to an abrupt halt.

The new legislation is expected to be modeled on the failed 2006 bill H.R. 4682. If so, then in addition to that requirement, grassroots organizations would also be required to file quarterly reports on all informational and educational materials produced for each issue. Other regulations expected to be included the requirement to be registered with congress and impose strict and heavy penalties for failure to comply.

Washington Examiner editorial page editor Mark Tapscott put it best when he said, “In other words, for the first time in American history, potentially millions of concerned citizens involved in grassroots lobbying and representing viewpoints from across the entire political spectrum would have to register with Congress in order to exercise their First Amendment rights.”

Many of us feel that lobby reform is needed especially in the area of the use of money and power to influence the vote of politicians. To stop the basic rights of individuals to lobby their congressman, would be another step closer toward the destruction of this country. This can’t happen.

Tom Remington

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Hunting Blind In Texas

If a bill passes the Texas House, soon blind hunters will be able to hunt like the rest of us seeing hunters do. Well, sort of. Rep. Edmund Kuempel has authored a bill that will allow the blind to hunt any game, when in season, just like the rest of us. They will be allowed to use laser sights, which are not permitted for seeing hunters.

The bill provides for the blind hunter to be accompanied by a guide, with good eyesight, who will be able to coach the hunter in aiding them in sighting in game.

Tom Remington

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Sinapu Will Sue To Stop Trapping Mink and Marten

Wendy Keefover-Ring, a representative of the Boulder, Colorado based animal rights group Sinapu, announced the organization’s plan to file a lawsuit to stop the trapping of marten and mink in that state.

In July, the Colorado Wildlife Commission approved a request by the Colorado Trappers Association to use box traps to catch mink and marten. Their request to trap seven other species was denied.

In 1996, Colorado passed by referendum a constitutional ban on leg-hold traps, traps that kill instantly, snares and poison. The box trap was not included in that list, so the CTA petitioned the CWC to be allowed to trap the animals using box traps.

Keefover-Ring says the action by the Commission violates the constitutional ban on trapping. The Trappers Association believes the use of box traps will stand up under the scrutiny of the court.

*Previous Posts*
Colorado Okays Trapping Mink and Pine Marten

Tom Remington

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Do We Have Our Priorities Messed Up?

Although there are individuals and animal rights and anti-hunting groups that would disagree, hunters comprise one of the largest, if not the largest, conservation groups in this country. We enjoy what we do and work very closely with fish and game experts to protect and manage our wildlife. The question is, when is it going too far?

We have to have a certain amount of common sense when it comes to dealing with animals. The vast majority of humans have an overwhelming respect for animals both wild and domestic. The differences lie in to what extremes some will go to protect the animals.

This morning I was reading a short news item coming out of California about the opening of another “wildlife tunnel” under a very busy highway. This tunnel cost $1.2 million and is only one of 45 such tunnels scattered throughout the state. At that estimated cost, this totals to well over $45 million dollars. In a state that seems to be never able to find the bottom of the barrel when it comes to balancing a budget, certainly $45 million extra dollars could go a long way.

Maybe it is simply a way for the guilty to feel better about the fact that they keep building bigger and better homes further and further into the habitat of the animals.

I’m for protecting all wildlife but is this taking it a little too far? Evidently not.

But if that doesn’t stir up some debate perhaps this will, if you think that securing our nation is more important than protecting our animals.

Animal rights groups and in particular, Defenders of Wildlife, based in Arizona are opposed to erecting a wall to secure our borders because it would disrupt some of the migration of certain species of animals that move back and forth across the border.

The Brownsville Herald has a story.

The House version would build a fence straight through Brownsville, through farmland, back yards, public parks and wildlife refuges, all the way to Laredo. The Senate bill wouldn’t be too different.

Sealing the border with fences may have unintended consequences for the environment, said Jenny Neely of Defenders of Wildlife, a group in Arizona that has been monitoring the damage done to wildlife there.

In Brownsville, the Sabal Palms Audubon Center and Sanctuary could potentially be hit hard by the fences and all-weather access road to be built no more than 50 yards from the border, as proposed by the House measure.

Trash can be picked up, Neely said, but fences can destroy animal species that migrate as a way of life.

I certainly understand the concerns that Neely has about the affect of a wall but don’t some things in life require certain sacrifices? She admits that highways have a huge affect on wildlife. Perhaps if she sold her car and stopped driving, we wouldn’t need so many roads. Or what about the home she lives in? I’m sure that has encroached on wildlife, as has millions more across the country, having a far greater affect on our animals than a wall that is going to continue to give us protection so she can “defend” her wildlife with freedom.

But most of all I am just laughing about this comment with seemingly no thought about protecting our homeland.

“It’s going to impact the ability of people to bird watch down there,” Neely said of Brownsville

The extreme positions that some people take on issues is always puzzling. For me, I think I am a bit more concerned about whether I will be able to freely go about bird watching than whether a wall along the border between Mexico and the United States is going to affect wildlife.

Tom Remington

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Meeting In Texas to Discuss Waterfowl Hunting Rule Changes

Coming out of Texas for waterfowl hunters.

A meeting to discuss waterfowl hunting regulations and seasons will be held 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. June 6 in Perrytown, Ark., near Hope.

The meeting will be in the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission Regional Office, 7004 U.S. Highway 67 East, Perrytown.

 

The meeting is part of 11 sessions around the state.

The commission conducts the sessions asking for the public’s opinion concerning proposals for the 2006-2007 waterfowl hunting seasons.

Comments may be either verbal or written.

 

Written comments may be submitted at any of the meetings or mailed by July 31 to the AGFC, Attention: Waterfowl Hunting Regulations Proposals, 2 Natural Resources Drive, Little Rock, Ark., 72205.

For additional information, call 1-877-777-5580.

Tom Remington

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