May 31, 2020

David Trahan and Gerry Lavigne On a $5 Million Bond to Protect Winter Deer Yards

The Bangor Daily News carries an opinion piece coauthored by David Trahan, Executive Director of the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine(SAM), and Gerry Lavigne, former deer biologist for the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife(MDIFW) and member of SAM. The piece is a call to the governor, the Legislature and voters of Maine to pass LD852, a $5 million bond to fund Land for Maine’s Future.

For readers to better understand exactly what this means as it pertains to protecting deer wintering areas, first please consider the Summary as provided in LD852:

The funds provided in this bond issue are to recapitalize the Land for Maine’s Future program with $36,000,000 to continue Maine’s land conservation efforts, leveraging a minimum of $36,000,000 in required matching funds. It provides $12,000,000 for natural resource industry based infrastructure improvements and enhancement related to natural resource industry and to provide capital for state park maintenance and improvements. It also gives land conservation projects that protect and enhance deer wintering habitat preference and directs the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife and the Department of Conservation to pursue projects that protect and conserve deer wintering habitat(emboldening added).

I would strongly suggest that all voters thorough read and understand LD852 before voting on it. Below is part of LD852 which speaks of disbursement of funds if the bond is passed. I’ve highlighted some key points as it relates to protection of deer yards.

Sec. 5. Disbursement of bond proceeds. The proceeds of the bonds must be expended as set out in this Act under the direction and supervision of the Executive Department, State Planning Office; the Department of Conservation; the Department of Agriculture, Food and Rural Resources; and the Department of Marine Resources.

1. The proceeds of the bonds for the Land for Maine’s Future Board as set out in section 6 must be expended by the Executive Department, State Planning Office for acquisition of land and interest in land for conservation, water access, outdoor recreation, wildlife and fish habitat, farmland preservation in accordance with the provisions for such acquisitions under the Maine Revised Statutes, Title 5, chapter 353 and working waterfront preservation in accordance with the terms of this Act, including all costs associated with such acquisitions, except that use of the proceeds of these bonds is subject to the following conditions and requirements.

A. Hunting, fishing, trapping and public access may not be prohibited on land acquired with bond proceeds, except to the extent of applicable state, local or federal laws, rules and regulations and except for working waterfront projects and farmland protection projects.

B. Payment from bond proceeds for acquisitions of local or regional significance, as determined by the Land for Maine’s Future Board, may be made directly to cooperating entities as defined in Title 5, section 6201, subsection 2 for acquisition of land and interest in land by cooperating entities, subject to terms and conditions enforceable by the State to ensure its use for the purposes of this Act. In addition to the considerations required under Title 5, chapter 353, the board shall give a preference to acquisitions under this paragraph that achieve benefits for multiple towns and that address regional conservation needs including public recreational access, wildlife, open space and farmland.

C. The bond funds expended for conservation, recreation, farmland and water access must be matched with at least $36,000,000 in public and private contributions. Seventy percent of that amount must be in the form of cash or other tangible assets, including the value of land and real property interest acquired by or contributed to cooperating entities, as defined in Title 5, section 6201, subsection 2, when property interests have a direct relationship to the property proposed for protection, as determined by the Land for Maine’s Future Board. The remaining 30% may be matching contributions and may include the value of project-related, in-kind contributions of goods and services to and by cooperating entities.

D. Of the bond proceeds allocated to the Land for Maine’s Future Board, $4,000,000 must be made available to protect farmland in accordance with Title 5, section 6207.

E. Of the bond proceeds allocated to the Land for Maine’s Future Board, $4,000,000 must be made available to protect working waterfront properties in accordance with Public Law 2005, chapter 462, Part B, section 6.

F. Because portions of the State have deer populations that are struggling and deer wintering habitat protection is vital to the survival and enhancement of these populations, projects that conserve and protect deer wintering areas are considered to have special value and must receive preferential consideration during scoring of new applications for support under Title 5, section 6200, et seq.

2. The proceeds of the bonds for the Department of Agriculture, Food and Rural Resources must be expended on agricultural infrastructure improvements.

3. The Department of Conservation and the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife shall take a proactive approach to pursuing land conservation projects that include significant wildlife habitat conservation, including conservation of deer wintering areas. The departments shall include in conservation negotiations under this section provisions for the appropriate management of deer wintering areas. The proceeds of the bonds for the Department of Conservation must be expended as follows.

A. Two million dollars allocated to the Maine Forest Service must be used for forestry infrastructure improvements.

B. Two million dollars allocated to the Bureau of Parks and Lands must be used for public recreation infrastructure improvements.

C. Four million dollars allocated to the Bureau of Parks and Lands must be used to preserve state parks and lands managed by the Department of Conservation.

4. The proceeds of the bonds for the Department of Marine Resources must be expended on commercial fishing infrastructure improvements.

5. To the extent the purposes are consistent with the disbursement provisions in this Act, 100% of the bond proceeds may be considered as state match for any federal funding to be made available to the State.

Yesterday, I shared some thoughts on this subject.

Tom Remington

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Witnesses Testify National Park Service Management Plans Severely Limit Access, Harm Local Economy, Endanger Jobs

WASHINGTON, D.C., April 27, 2012 – Today, the Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests and Public Lands held a joint legislative and oversight hearing on H.R. 4094, the “Preserving Access to Cape Hatteras National Seashore Recreational Area Act,” and, “Access Denied: Turning Away Visitors to National Parks.”

“Although today we focused on two examples, Biscayne National Park in Florida and Cape Hatteras in North Carolina, these overly restrictive policies show signs of developing into a nation-wide problem. This is a continuation of anti-visitation policies driven by the Obama Administration that will undercut the tourism industry, hurt local businesses, and destroy jobs,” said Subcommittee Chairman Rob Bishop (UT-01).

The National Park Service has severely limited access to Cape Hatteras National Recreational Area through the implementation of a restrictive management plan and environmental lawsuits from activist environmental groups.

H.R. 4094, sponsored by Rep. Walter Jones, would overturn a final rule implemented by the National Park Service as well as a 2008 U.S. Court Consent Decree by reinstituting the Park Service’s 2007 Interim Management Strategy to govern visitor access and species protection at Cape Hatteras. The legislation will restore visitor’s access to Cape Hatteras while also ensuring the protection of local wildlife and its habitat. Re-opening this Congressionally designated “recreation area” will stimulate the Island’s recreation-dependent economy and foster job creation.

“This bill is about jobs and taxpayers’ right to access the recreational areas they own. H.R. 4094 will restore balance and common sense Park Service management in Cape Hatteras National Recreational Area. It will reverse the significant job loss and economic decline that Hatteras Island has experienced since access was cut off to many of the most popular areas of the seashore,” said Rep. Walter B. Jones (NC-03).

The National Park Service is pushing a new management plan at Biscayne National Park that will eliminate access to over 10,000 acres of sport fishing waters and dissuade visitation to other areas of the park despite strong objections from the surrounding community and opposition by the world renowned scientists of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. Fishing, boating, diving and other recreational activities within the Park drive the local economy and support hundreds of jobs. Prohibiting these activities and restricting Park access will negatively impact the local economy, dissuade tourism and cause job loss.

“Biscayne National Park is part of the heritage of our community and is of great significance to many South Florida families. My intent is to help preserve the unique culture surrounding South Florida’s water-centered way of life, while also protecting our environment and maintaining access,” said Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (FL-18).

“No one cares more about Biscayne National Park than Floridians and those who utilize the park. Restricting access should be a last resort after all other alternatives have been exhausted. It is my hope that we can all work together on a plan that both protects the Park and remains accessible for the public to enjoy,” said Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart (FL-21).

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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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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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