Sunday, February 5, 2012

Don't let Idaho's Wildlife be sold to the highest bidder

I don't often use the blog to promote political issues--I figure this to be my creative outlet, an avenue that I like to use to share my perspective on fishing (and a little hunting now and then). But recently, an issue has come to my attention. Idaho's hunters and anglers need help.

A bill in the state Senate would allow the state to auction off up to a dozen big game tags to the highest bidder at trophy conventions around the country. This, in my opinion, violates the unique North American model of game management, where the fish and the game belong to every American regardless of social status and that hunting and fishing on public lands is open to all for the cost of a license. It also allows wealthy out-of-staters (or wealthy foreigners) to cut to the head of the line and obtain a trophy game tag before a licensed hunter (resident or non-resident) has an opportunity.

I understand the need to raise money for game management in Idaho, but similar efforts in states like Utah have gotten completely out of hand, and effectively taken away a key management tool from state fish and game agencies.

I don't care if you live in Idaho or not. Our state Legislature needs to see that this bill is wrong and transfers the ownership of our wildlife from the citizens to the state (remember the phrase, "the King's deer?"), and then to wealthy hunters who have little or no investment in protecting habitat and ensuring opportunity for all licensed sportsmen in Idaho. Bottom line: if this happens in Idaho, your state could be next.

Here's the text from the Idaho Wildlife Federation (of which I am a board member). If you agree that this bill sets a bad precedent for Idaho and other states, please contact Sen. Monty Pearce, chairman of the Senate Resources and Environment Committee at mpearce@senate.idaho.gov. Thanks:


Dear Idaho Wildlife Advocates~

Idaho Wildlife Federation's (IWF) legislative committee is at work again during the 2012 session and needs your help on wildlife conservation issues. During the session we will send you legislative alerts to keep you informed on the issues. The alerts will include a brief overview and the best way to contact various public officials.

HIGH ALERT: Currently there is a private bill that if passed can auction off up to twelve wildlife tags at trophy conventions rather than for use in the usual license sale of the state's non-residence tags. Last year IWF, and other dedicated individuals help defeat the predecessor of this auction tag from moving forward. This year IWF and other sporting conservation groups testified January 25 against the auction tag at the Fish and Game Commission Meeting.

SOS:

TAKE ACTION: Right now over the next two days work with us and reach out to across the state legislative officials:

1. Senate Resource and Environment Committee Members

2. Your district legislators.

TIME LINE: Starting immediately through the next two days please contact all the committee members for the Senate Resource and Environment Committee by Email. The auction bill is scheduled for a hearing on Monday 1:30 PM. Committee members will take a vote on whether to support the bill and reaching each member is critical! This is the best chance for the bill to die in committee. If you can take a step further contact your local legislators as they will carry the message back to the statehouse floor. If you feel impassioned on this issue and would like to testify before the committee Monday please contact and schedule: wildlifefederation@yahoo.com

Please reach out and let them know you oppose the auction of wildlife to highest bidder. We are trying to generate an outpouring of comments from the people of Idaho. The more our officials hear from the people the more likely they will consider the ramifications of this issue. Listed below is the contact information for the Senate Resource Committee Members and the pertinent status of the private auction bill.
  
Critical Contact Period over the next two days February 3-February 5, 2012 
 Senate Resource and Environment Committee Members:
Chairman - Senator Monty Pierce (opposed 2011) mpearce@senate.idaho.gov
Vice Chair- Senator Steve Bair :sbair@senate.idaho.gov
Senator - Dean Cameron: dcameron@senate.idaho.gov
Senator- Jeff Siddoway:jsiddoway@senate.idaho.gov
Senator -Lee Heider (opposed 2011) lheider@senate.idaho.gov
Senator- John Tippets (opposed 2011) jtippets@senate.idaho.gov
Senator Elliot Werk (opposed 2011) ewerk@senate.idaho.gov
Senator Michelle Stennett (opposed 2011) mstennett@senate.idaho.gov
For more information about the 2012 Legislative Status and to read Bill S1256 visit our web site or simply click here
Sincerely,

The Idaho Wildlife Federation


2 comments:

  1. Well, given that we auction off the presidency with somewhat the same methods, Idaho has some precedent.
    I would think Idaho's hunters and sportsmen would be outraged at this, and I'll send the letter along, with a copy to Montana's legislators.
    I also noted in today's Seattle Times that the local population of N. Idaho are fighting the classification of federal lands to protect the woodland caribou. Sometimes we are a bit selective in what conservation practices are supported.

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