Mail and Commentary Oct. 10, 2012

October 10, 2012

For and Against

On Nov. 6, voters throughout Idaho will be asked whether to change the state Constitution to permanently enshrine rights to hunt, fish and trap. This proposed amendment, HJR2, is a misguided solution looking for a problem. There are no threats to Idahoans' rights to hunt or fish, and no out-of-state animal rights organization can take those rights away. We live in a democracy. Except in cases involving the federal Endangered Species Act--against which the state Constitution is no protection--only Idahoans can decide how to use our wildlife.

HJR2 is a pointless and frivolous use of the Idaho Constitution. The Constitution should be reserved for protecting basic human rights that affect all citizens. Those include our freedoms of speech, assembly and religion. Rights to engage in particular recreational activities do not fall into that category. Passage of this amendment would set a bad precedent for changing the Constitution to benefit special interests.

The intent of this proposed amendment is to deprive future generations of Idahoans of the right to decide wildlife issues by majority vote. Its passage would take those decisions out of the Legislature and the initiative process and put them in the courts. State laws pertaining to wildlife would be regularly challenged as unconstitutional. Idaho taxpayers would be forced to spend money litigating these issues.

If HJR2 is defeated, existing rights to hunt, fish and trap will remain in effect. Nothing will change.

By making hunting, fishing and trapping a "preferred means of managing wildlife," HJR2 would hinder the Department of Fish and Game.

The proposed amendment includes a guaranteed right to trap. While both hunters and fishermen kill their catches quickly, trapping is a cruel and prolonged way to kill animals. An animal caught in a leghold trap can suffer for days. Animals caught under water struggle frantically before they drown. About 40,000 animals die in Idaho this way every year. Pets and hunting dogs are also caught in these traps.

According to the Idaho Department of Fish and Game, there are only about 900 trappers in the state--less than one-tenth of 1 percent of Idaho's adult population. Passage of HJR2 would change the Constitution to secure their interests at the expense of eliminating the democratic right of the remaining 99.9 percent of the population to make decisions on this issue.

HJR2 is a misguided use of the Idaho Constitution, an infringement on our democratic rights and an abuse of wildlife. It should be defeated.

--Greg Moore,

chairman, No on HJR2

The Idaho Fish and Game Commission strongly supports the proposed Constitutional Amendment (HJR2) establishing the right to hunt, fish and trap in Idaho. We urge our fellow citizens to vote "yes" on HJR2 when they go to the polls in November.

Hunting, fishing and trapping have always been and remain important parts of our heritage and the fabric of Idaho. Recent surveys confirm that a strong majority of Idahoans continue to support these outdoor activities. However, opposition groups in other states have sought to hijack wildlife management by restricting or eliminating these activities. It's important for Idahoans to act now to ensure future generations an opportunity to experience Idaho's sporting heritage.

Public hunting, fishing and trapping are our primary tools for managing wildlife. Without these, IDFG would have to rely more on government actions to manage wildlife populations and conflicts, at greater expense and risk. The wildlife we enjoy today exists because of the conservation ethic of hunters, anglers and trappers who pay for science-based, professional wildlife management when they buy licenses, tags and equipment.

The commission's legal authority to regulate hunting, fishing and trapping and require licensing is not impacted by this amendment. This amendment would also keep punishment for those who violate our wildlife laws.

In 1938, the people of Idaho created the Idaho Fish and Game Commission through a citizen's initiative that mandates that we "preserve, protect, perpetuate and manage" Idaho's wildlife, including providing for hunting, fishing and trapping. Seventy-five years later, we ask Idahoans to join us in voting for wildlife again--this time to preserve, protect, perpetuate and manage wildlife and uphold Idaho's sporting heritage for future generations.

Please vote "yes" on HJR2.

--The Idaho Fish and Game Commission

CLARIFICATION

The Sept. 26 edition of Boise Weekly reported that Melaleuca CEO Frank VanderSloot "outed" a gay Idaho Falls reporter. VanderSloot denies outing the reporter. To read his response, visit frankvanderslootresponse.com. Salon reported on the issue at length. Read that story at salon.com.

Comments (5)

Showing 1-5 of 5

Greg Moore distorts facts to intentionally mislead people. While he regular states "there is no threat to hunting and trapping in Idaho" he is busy as the chairman of a group whose sole purpose is to ELIMINATE hunting and trapping in Idaho. Greg Moore IS A THREAT to hunting and trapping in Idaho, and he lies about that often.

Greg further distorts facts when he states that "hunters and fishermen kill their catches quickly, [but] trapping is a cruel and prolonged way to kill animals." Trapping is used to hold an animal in place. It's up to the trapper to decide whether to dispatch or release the animal. When the decision is made to release an animal, such as the case where a lynx was caught in a foot-hold trap last season, that animal is released unharmed. In the case of the lynx, Fish & Game was able to obtain valuable scientific data from that lynx before it was safely released with no injuries.

His statement that "Animals caught under water struggle frantically before they drown," is also false. Animals caught under water in a Conibear trap (typically set for beavers, mink and muskrat) are killed instantly by the trap. They do not struggle at all. This is a quick and humane end to a targeted animal, such as a family of beavers or muskrats that threaten public safety.

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Posted by freetrapper on 10/13/2012 at 10:59 AM

First a disclaimer or two -- I'm not in Idaho anymore and I can't vote. And I'm not anti-hunting or anti-fishing, but I do think trapping is an utter abomination in the 21st century.

All that said, I don't think IDFG and the legislative supporters have quite thought this through. The actual language of the Constitutional Amendment says the rights of hunting, fishing, trapping, "shall forever be preserved." The Amendment, which by its very nature will trump state statutes, could well be interpreted to extend to the habitat necessary for the fish and game to survive to be fished and hunted. Notably, the drafters exempted water rights, but not logging and mining, for example. So, between logging and elk habitat, it seems elk habitat wins every time.

Who knows what the Idaho Supreme Court will do with the inevitable litigation, but if I had a vote, I might vote in favor, hoping that unintended consequences become the law of the land.

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Posted by Terry J. Harris on 10/13/2012 at 6:01 PM

Greg Moore goes from NO on HJR2 to directly attacking trappers with opinion. Directly after makeing this statement, "If HJR2 is defeated, existing rights to hunt, fish and trap will remain in effect. Nothing will change." If he is willing to put a statement like that into writting, what else is Mr. Moore and his followers of animal rights activists hiding. In my opinion what that they are hiding is hunting, fishing and trapping are all on the chopping block. No trapping on public lands, no bear baiting, no hound hunting, no bow hunting"doesn't kill quick enough", no more rifle hunting because that gives hunters an unfair advantage. HJR2 would stop animal rights folks who will outnumber Idaho sportsmen and women in the future from forcing those changes down our throats.

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Posted by Jared Boley on 10/13/2012 at 7:23 PM

Idahoans on Nov.6, voters throughout Idaho, have the chance to permanently protect, their and the future generations yet to come, rights to hunt, fish and trap. The way that they can do this is by voting yes on HJR2aa, at the Nov 6th election. Antihunting, antifishing, and antitrapping groups such as the ones that Greg Moore heads and belongs to. would have you believe that IDF&G wouldn't be able to manage wildlife if this passes. Read the IDF&G commissions letter above again if your in doubt. This amendment protects IDF&G mandates to preserve, protect, perpetuate, and manage wildlife. Please VOTE with me to protect Idaho's right to manage it's resources. Don't let Idaho fall to the way California is run, by emotional rhetoric. They just passed a ban on hound hunting, hound hunters rarely kill the animals that they tree. It is a valuable tool in selective removal of the older more territorial animals. So more animals survive the critical first years. Yea way to go ANTI'S you saved them. Please VOTE YES ON HJR2aa NOVEMBER 6. Cast a vote for future Idahoans, for your grand kids, greatgrand kids, my grand kids,etc...

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Posted by Patrick Carney on 10/14/2012 at 6:21 AM

Vote Yes on HJR2 and you will help protect Idaho from radical activists. If HJR2 passes Idaho will remain Idaho and not be controlled by a bunch of well funded nonresident activists that have no idea what is best for Idaho, our communities, our wilderness, and our economy.

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Posted by Doublej on 10/29/2012 at 2:21 PM
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