Ted Nugent guilty of "Poaching"

Discussion in 'News & Announcements' started by Diamondhitch, Apr 27, 2012.

  1. Diamondhitch

    Diamondhitch AH Legend

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    The following was posted by the Alaska Dispatch.

    Ted Nugent's statement about his illegal bear hunt in Alaska

    Below is Ted Nugent's full statement regarding his guilty plea on Tuesday in Alaska of illegally killing a bear. It's entitled "Ignorance of the law is no excuse."

    "Not a day goes by where an American outdoorsmen doesn't confide in me that due to the increasingly complex, illogical hunting and fishing regulations across the nation, that it would not surprise them that they have unintentionally violated a game law at some point in time. Other outdoorsmen routinely express their frustration about regulations that serve no purpose and cannot possibly be explained in terms of wildlife management.

    "America is increasingly drowning in just such strange, goofy regulations and requirements. As logic crusader John Stossel recently exposed, our federal government releases roughly 80,000 pages of new regulations each year, confusing, ambiguous, weird illogical regulations that serve no meaningful purpose other than to feebly attempt to justify bureaucracies already off the rails. It's way past bizarre.

    "The 'you don't need to read it, you just need to sign it' health care bill argued before the Supreme Court was almost 2,000 pages long of extraordinarily complex rules and regulations. Sarcastically, Supreme Court Justice Scalia stated that reading the bill was a violation of the 8th Amendment's (protection against) cruel and unusual punishment clause.

    "Regrettably, state hunting regulations have also been ravaged by the over-regulation beast. In Alaska, the hunting regulation book is 128 pages long. Alaska trapping regulation is 48 pages.

    "Alaska is not alone. Numerous other states have seen incredible expansion of their hunting regulations over the past few decades. In Texas, the summary of hunting and fishing regulations is 85 pages. The hunting regulations in California are roughly 140 pages long.

    "Even with an increasing mountain of often confusing and complex hunting and fishing regulations to abide by, sportsmen have a legal and ethical obligation to know and abide by these regulations, no matter how goofy they may be. I have said this for decades and will continue to do so as we fight to make them sensible.

    "I have hunted in Alaska for almost 40 years. It is a spectacular, beautiful place that offers incredible big and small game hunting cherished by sporters from around the globe.

    "In 2009, I returned again with my sons to Alaska to hunt black bear. What I was unaware of is that the specific region where I hunted had a new and unprecedented requirement that a bear hunting tag was considered to be "filled" even with a non-lethal hit on the animal. For sixty years, every "tag" regulation in every state and Canadian province has declared that you tag the animal upon taking possession of the animal.

    "The first arrow I shot on that hunt was obviously a non-lethal shot where the arrow literally glanced off the animal's rib, as seen clearly on stop action video. The bear leapt, stopped, looked around, and slowly ambled off, confused but unhurt by the disruption. After diligent effort by my son and I, we were convinced that this bear was alive and well. We then continued our hunt and ultimately killed a beautiful black bear.


    "I filmed the entire hunt including the first non-lethal arrow and put it on my television program Spirit of the Wild on Outdoor Channel for tens of millions of viewers to witness. Airing the hunt on television proves beyond all doubt that I had no willful intention to violate any hunting regulation.

    "Was I negligent in not knowing the Alaska bear hunting rule for the specific region I hunted that year? Absolutely. For my negligence, I have been charged with a violation and I plead guilty. To the best of my knowledge, I am the only person ever charged with violating this new, unheard of law. Lifetime AK hunters, guides, outfitters, even the resident judge at my hearing were unaware of such an unprecedented regulation.

    "While I disagree with Alaska's requirement that a tag is considered to be "filled" even on a non-lethal hit, that was the requirement at the time of my hunt. Had I known of that requirement, I would not have hunted that region because I fundamentally disagree with it, and I certainly would not have hunted another bear.

    "I have promoted the grand, honorable hunting lifestyle all of my life and will continue to do so. Hunting, fishing and trapping are the epitome of true conservation.

    "What I also pledge to American outdoorsmen is to work to repeal onerous, unscientific, counterproductive rules and regulations that make no sense such as the seven states where hunting is banned on Sunday, making 50% of the season illegal for the average hunting families in those states. Idiotic laws such as these are a hindrance to real conservation and the critical need for recruiting new hunters. Such arbitrary laws serve no scientific purpose that benefits the management of wildlife value whatsoever.

    "The outdoor lifestyle cannot be preserved for future generations of sportsmen by constructing such a labyrinth of confusing, unscientific and oftentimes counterproductive regulations and rules. Reversing this trend is my focus.

    "While I have never intentionally violated a hunting regulation, ignorance of the law is no excuse, and I am truly sorry, and have paid dearly. There is even less of an excuse for ignorant laws."

    Ted Nugent



    Why is Ted Nugent pleading guilty in Alaska bear case?

    Correction: This story was corrected on April 23 to reflect that definition of "wounded'' is codified in state law, even if not always available in publicly distributed hunting regulations.

    Rocker turned political-talker Ted Nugent shot a bear. The shooting broke a strange and unusual Alaska law. It became a federal case. Nugent hired a lawyer who was the Alaska attorney general for the briefest of periods. The two of them might well have been able to win in court. But instead they negotiated a deal for Nugent to plead guilty to the federal crime of transporting the hide of an illegally killed bear. He has yet to be sentenced, but in the plea with the government, he agreed to pay a fine of $10,000 to the federal treasury.

    What's going on here, and where to begin?

    The facts themselves are relatively simple.

    Three years ago this May, the then-60-year-old Nugent went on a black bear hunt in Southeast Alaska. The hunt was filmed for a television show Nugent hosts, titled "Ted Nugent Spirit of the Wild." Nugent sat at a bait station and waited for a bear to show up. One did. Nugent, a big fan of archery, shot an arrow at the bear. The arrow may or may not have hit the bear. It clearly did not kill the bear. The bear ran off. As far as is known, it survived.

    Bears are tough animals. They regularly rip large chunks of flesh out of each other when fighting over mates or just fighting. They almost always survive. There is no evidence, nor any claim made by anyone, that the bear in question here was mortally wounded. In the version of this story told by Nugent attorney Wayne Anthony Ross -- perhaps known better by the acronym WAR -- the bear escaped its encounter with Nugent bloodied but otherwise unharmed.

    Four days later, another bear was not so lucky. Nugent shot it, and killed it.

    In most of Alaska, everything that happened would have been part of a pretty normal hunt. Hunters regularly miss animals. Animals are sometimes wounded instead of killed. Those that are seriously wounded usually don't go far. They are tracked down and dispatched. Those with minor injuries invariably escape, heal and wait for something else to kill them -- bears, wolves, avalanches, starvation. Suffice to say, it's rare for any wild animal in Alaska to die of old age. They live hard lives. It's the fight-for-survival thing.

    The first bear at which Nugent shot was probably happy to get out of the situation alive. It was unfortunately unavailable for an interview where it could explain the nature of its injuries.

    Finer points of the law

    After the 2009 hunt, one bear that encountered Nugent went back into the forest to recuperate, and another went home with Nugent as a hide. This is where the hunt would normally have ended, but not this one. For this hunt was just the beginning of the story.

    Nugent, it seems, had broken the law. Ross claims his client did not know this. That claim is plausible. The law Nugent broke is one of which even most Alaska hunters appear unaware. It is even a little difficult to find in the middle of page 16 of the state hunting regulation booklet. There is a highlighted section above it outlining the rules for the "Emergency Taking of Game In Defense of Life or Property," and a highlighted section to the right below it detailing requirements for sealing hides before shipping them.

    In between these highlighted sections is a section on "Bag Limit," which a lot of hunters are likely to skip past because any who have been hunting long knows the meaning of "bag limit." It's the number of animals a hunter is allowed to harvest, which the state regulation booklet underlines in one sentence beneath the "Bag limit" headline. Seven paragraphs follow that. Most of them focus on explaining bag limits versus Game Management Units in Alaska, a slightly complicated subject.

    The state has more than 20 of these Units. Many of them have different bag limits for the same species of wildlife. The regulations explain how if, for instance, you shoot the limit of one black bear in GMU 6, you can go to GMU 9 and shoot two more because the limit in GMU 9 is three bears a year. But if you shoot a bear in GMU 9, you can't go to GMU 6 and shoot a bear because you've already reached the one-bear limit for that unit. Most of the bag limit section of the handbook deals with these sorts of distinctions, but the second to last paragraph also adds this:

    "Animals disturbed while hunting do not count against your bag limit; however, a person who has wounded game should make every reasonable effort to retrieve and salvage that game. However, bears wounded in Units 1-5, 8 and elk wounded in Unit 8 do count as your bag limit."

    "Wounded" is nowhere defined in the "2011-2012 Alaska Hunting Regulations" available to the public, although Ross said it is defined in the 2010-11 booklet. A copy of the 2009-2010 booklet, which is what a hunter in Nugent's situation would have referenced, was not readily available. But whether the arcane standard unique to a small part of Alaska hunting is in there doesn't really matter anyway, because as state officials have in the past pointed out, hunters are responsible for knowing the law whether it is summarized in the publicly available booklet or not. And the regulations in this case are in the Alaska Administrative Code, a document best found in the law library. The regulations say this:

    "In Units 1 - 5 and Unit 8, a black or brown (grizzly) bear wounded by a person counts against that person's bag limit for the regulatory year in which the bear is taken. However, in Units 1 - 5 and Unit 8, a brown bear wounded by a person does not count against that person's one bear every four regulatory years bag limit established in 5 AAC 92.132.

    "In this subsection, 'wounded' means there is sign of blood or other sign that the animal has been hit by a hunting projectile."

    Whether the wording of the regulation tracks the intent of the Alaska Board of Game, the state agency that sets the regulations, is unclear. The board's intention when it dealt with the issue was to minimize what is commonly called "wounding loss.'' The board wanted hunters to give up the hunt if it appeared a bear might have been injured badly enough that it likely died even if it wasn't found. That requires hunters to act ethically and responsibly and scour the forest carefully for spoor after shooting at any animal that then runs off. The regulation, as written, encourages them to do the opposite and simply conclude that they missed the animal that runs away after being shot at.

    Nugent, who has some history of hunting violations elsewhere, did act as the state Board would hope in this case. He went to investigate what had happened after he loosed his arrow. He found the arrow, according to his attorney, and a little blood, but no indication of any serious injury to the bear.

    The "Nuge" stays mum

    Nugent, it is worth noting here, has not been charged by the state of Alaska in relation to his hunt. He has also not said much about the hunt.

    The "Nuge," who likes to make noise both with rock-and-roll and otherwise, has, in fact, been strangely quiet about all of this. Ross has done the talking, and even Nugent's website offers nothing of his version of why he is in the news all over the country for, as the Anchorage newspaper put it, an "illegal Alaska bear kill." Ross has questioned that claim. He believes his client killed only one bear, and the limit in the state of Alaska is one bear. Ross has called the wounding law "crazy.'' Along with being a lawyer, Ross is a licensed assistant big-game guide Alaska. "Even me, an assistant guide, was not aware of this law, and neither was Ted,'' Ross said Monday in defense of his client.

    Nugent himself is keeping quiet. His always active website has a report on his appearance at the convention of the National Rifle Association, which got him in a bit of lukewarm water with the U.S. Secret Service. But there's not even a hint of any issue with the courts in Alaska or his feelings on being classified as some sort of poacher by federal officials. And the Nuge, despite his most-manly manliness, is usually pretty active in making his feelings known.

    Ross, meanwhile, is saying Nugent shot at the bear, "touched" it, found some blood but no blood trail to follow. Having found no blood trail, which is normally expected in the case of a seriously wounded animal; and having apparently recovered the arrow with no sign on it that it went through the bear, WAR contends, Nugent and his film crew concluded the bear hadn't been seriously hit. And that was the end of it until federal investigators came knocking.

    How did federal investigators get involved with the shooting of an Alaska bear that may or may not have been illegal under state law? Well, that's simple. The interstate shipment of illegally killed wildlife is a federal crime under the Lacey Act. Usually, the feds wait for a state to make a case against a hunter or a poacher or a trafficker before grabbing their chunk of the criminal's hide, but they don't have to.

    If they can make a case the animal was killed illegally and then shipped across state lines, they can charge, and in this case they did. Federal attorneys decided Nugent had broken the letter of the law, and that was good enough for them. Someone obviously ratted Nugent out, too. Who that was is unknown. It could have been someone involved with the show. It could have been someone involved with the U.S. Forest Service, which granted a permit to film in the Tongass National Forest of Southeast.

    Whether Nugent was ratted out to state officials, who then decided not to prosecute, or only to the Feds is an another unknown. And then there is one really big question:

    Why did Nugent take a plea agreement? By the terms of the plea deal, he agreed not only to pay a $10,000 fine, but to to do no hunting or fishing within Alaska or on any U.S. Forest Service lands for a year, serve two years probation, and tape a public service announcement to air during his television show.

    This PSA," according to the agreement, "will discuss the importance of a hunter's responsibility in knowing the rules and regulations of the hunting activities that they engage in, which is subject to the review and final approval, prior to any broadcast, by a representative of the United States Attorney's Office in the District of Alaska." The ad is to be 30 to 60 seconds long and broadcast every second week on Nugent's television show for a year.

    The $10,000 is pocket change to Nugent. He has a net worth of about $20 million, according to one celebrity website. He's not your average hunter. So the restrictions on Alaska and Forest Service lands aren't much of a punishment. Nugent hunts all over the world. He shouldn't have much trouble avoiding the 49th state or Forest Service lands for a year.

    Running a TV ad doesn't seem like much either. The strongest punishment handed out in his case might be the two years probation. Given all of this, it is conceivable Nugent just settled to make this all go away in the easiest possible way. Plenty of celebrities do.

    Keeping up appearances?

    But what if there is a bigger story? Is it possible that Nugent -- who promotes himself on his website as a "gun-rights crusader, musical legend and lifelong deerslayer" -- missed the first bear? What if the video does in fact show that Nugent barely nicked that animal? Is it possible Nugent decided against going to court to fight the charge on the argument that he can't shoot straight? That could be embarrassing for someone who has built a television program around his reputation as a hunter.

    It might even come out that even the Nuge himself has harbored past doubts about his archery skills.

    An old friend of mine, the late Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race musher Jerry Austin, guided Nugent on a grizzly bear hunt in Western Alaska years ago. Nugent planned to shoot a grizzly with a bow and arrow. In the end, Austin said, Nugent decided the bear was very big and very powerful and potentially dangerous, and maybe the archery thing wasn't such a great idea. Nugent grabbed for a gun.

    Ted Nugent, it would appear, is no Robin Hood, and maybe that's why he settled. He didn't want to have to reveal this in a court of law.

    Or maybe he was really afraid the feds might try to up the Lacey Act charge to a felony and bring the hammer down on him. Federal prosecutors seem plenty happy to play rough. And even the threat of felony might have been a risk greater than Nugent was willing to bear. Felons, you see, lose the right to bear arms. It would be the golden opportunity for the feds to pry the gun out of Nugent's still warm, live hand.

    Could the feds have made a felony case? Well, to do so, they would have had to show that Nugent knew he'd broken the law before shipping his bear hide out of Alaska. Ross has been publicly careful to stress that Nugent was unaware that he'd broken the law. But who knows. He could well have been aware of it when he shot the bear only to later learn before shipping the hide out of state, that he broke the law.

    There is a fine line between those two scenarios, but a great reason to take a plea.

    Alaska Dispatch encourages a diversity of opinion and community perspectives. The opinions expressed herein are those of the contributor and are not necessarily endorsed or condoned by Alaska Dispatch. Contact Craig Medred at craig@alaskadispatch.com
     
  2. 35bore

    35bore AH Elite

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    Regardless the reason for the plea, I for one would take the plea to avoid the Felony charge. My net worth is no where near Ted's, but I would gladly pay $10000 fine to avoid all the B.S. of a basically hidden law...Uncle Ted may have read the report on the Trump boys, who knows, or maybe he does just wants it this part of his life to stay out of the lime light. If it was a simple as an embarrassing miss, Hell, I have been using archery equipment for some time now, "with sight's" and have had a miss more than once, but connect more than enough to call myself an archer. Lets face it, Ted shoots a compound "without sights" and with 60+ year old eyes, I think he is entitled to a miss every so often I don't know anyone at my local range that shoots a compound without sight's. So I say, who cares what the reason is for taking the plea, maybe it's a simple answer, or maybe is a complicated answer...He has done more for the hunting community that anyone I have known or read about, my opinion.

    Don't sweat it Teddy, we still love ya...:rockon:
     
  3. TOM

    TOM AH Elite

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    I agree. I think the whole thing is B.S. It sounds like the first time this obscure law has been enforced.
     
  4. enysse

    enysse AH Ambassador

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    It's just the liberals, trying to make Ted look like a poacher. They want to make him look bad, because he stands up for hunting, gun and bow hunter rights.
     
  5. BRICKBURN

    BRICKBURN SUPER MODERATOR CONTRIBUTOR GOLD BENEFACTOR AH Ambassador

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    This must be Alaska's attempt to catch up to African hunting policy.
    If you draw blood you pay!
     
  6. Diamondhitch

    Diamondhitch AH Legend

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    I agree, it is likely a shot at a public hunting rights figure.

    I am sure Ted doesnt care about the odd miss, at least not keeping it secret anyway, if he did he certainly would not have broadcast it on his show (which he did). I too would take the rediculous hit to avoid felony charges, who wouldnt.
     
  7. Bert the Turtle

    Bert the Turtle AH Enthusiast

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    Considering that I'm about to pony up a few hundred to make a speeding ticket go away, I think I'd find the $10K to be rid of a felony charge.

    I think Ted would look better here if he stopped bitching that the law he violated is stupid. You kind of lose the moral high ground once you break the law, even if you are right and the law is stupid. I think his credibility would be improved if he stayed quiet on this particular law. No matter if he is right, he can only appear self-serving if he criticizes this law. Once he has paid the fine, served his probation, and the matter is completely behind him he can work to change this law while looking like he is trying to improve the law rather than looking like he is trying to improve his own situation and/or reputation.

    If this law is in fact only being enforced on Mr. Nugent, that is unfair. On the other hand, if you earn your living being loud and outspoken, it is kind of hard to fly under the radar.
     
  8. 35bore

    35bore AH Elite

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    If I am remembering right, in his book "God, Guns and Rock and Roll", believe Ted is a Deputy in his home county in Michigan. Not sure if he still is, but, that's another reason to avoid the Felony charge.
     
  9. Diamondhitch

    Diamondhitch AH Legend

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    The sky being blue is a good reason to avoid a felony charge.
     
  10. Diamondhitch

    Diamondhitch AH Legend

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    As a loud mouth myself (LOL) I would have a hard time keeping quiet about a poorly publicized change of regs like this. In Canada here a few years back they changed the defintion of loaded gun from the century old 'live round in the chamber' to 'ammunition in the chamber or magazine'.

    As all of us know there are some real stupid laws out there, years ago my brother lost his hunting rights for a year, his crime... his hunting license number was illegible on the arrow that he shot his bear with. Of course it was only illegible after passing through the bear and being cleaned off and all his other arrows in his quiver were clearly marked, not to mention since no one needs to write thier hunting licence on their bullets why should they be written on arrows. Stupid law, at least this one has been rescinded in the years since.

    Ted should be flapping his gums so that the antis cant give us the death of a thousand paper cuts with stupid laws.
     
  11. RogerHeintzman

    RogerHeintzman AH Enthusiast

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    Ted being a board member of NRA, can you imagine the onslaught of publicity forth-coming? If it would of been the common "good ole boy" hunter and not Rock Star Nuge, I doubt the fine would of been so much.

    Why don't we hear or see more print of the "Fast and Furious" corruption of the BATFE with guns crossing the Mexican boarder. Or Peta killing 95% of their animal intake. Facts at Peta Kills Animals.

    We voters need to clean the corruption out of the White House starting at the top. But, then again who we gonna put in there any better?
     
  12. Diamondhitch

    Diamondhitch AH Legend

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    The Nuge. LOL
     
  13. RogerHeintzman

    RogerHeintzman AH Enthusiast

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    The problem is those with common sense and abilities WON"T run for gov't, cuz of the BS.
     
  14. Nevada Wapati

    Nevada Wapati AH Senior Member

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    Well said Bert. I hope after this incident and his California, 2010 Illegal Deer Baiting, Uncle Ted will learn the laws before going out. While he has been a strong and outspoken supporter of gun rights and hunting these acts can reflect negatively on all hunters.
     
  15. RickB

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    Sitting down and shuting up will get you nowhere! I am tired of sitting down and shuting up. I say go to the highest mountain and scream this is stupid!!!
     
  16. Stretch

    Stretch AH Fanatic

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    In my opinion, Ted had to settle or stand the chance of losing his right to bear arms if felony charges were pursued. Taking away his guns would be imaginable for him. Everyone makes mistakes and he is paying for his. Hopefully he will learn from them. Being a public figure comes with responsibility. He has to know that wardens are watching Facebook, Twitter, TV shows and yes - hunting forums for evidence for violation. Like him or not Ted does a lot of good things for hunting. I don't think Ted will sit down and shut-up. When the dust settles I predict he will incite a wind-storm.
     
  17. Jaco Strauss

    Jaco Strauss AH Elite

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    I guided Ted his wife Charmainne and his boy Rocko on 3 safaris, I would not doubt his integrity, as everyone has mentioned mstakes are made by all of us, the fact that Ted lives in the public eye brings about this major response, I am sure that he has learnt a lesson, and I hope that this will pass.

    I do appreciate his no BS approach and believe that all the good that he has done for hunting, as well as rifle owner ship in the US outwieghs this incident by far, I truly hope that it will pass as quickly as it flared up, and that we can see him and enjoy safari with him in the not to distant future.

    Don't worry Uncle TEd we still Luv ya!!! :)

    My best always.
     
  18. jepetto62

    jepetto62 AH Veteran

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    I know I will be crucified for making this comment, but I am getting annoyed by reading politically oriented comments on this site. Always aggressive and conservative.
    I am CEO of a high tech company (a precision to avoid being labelled upfront as a communist), voting left or rights depending on the proposals and candidates here in Switzerland and see no need to mix politics with hunting!
    For your info, "liberals" (as you name it) can be pro-hunting, not against the right to bear arms and honest. Just that you know...
    Concerning the post, laws (coming form liberals or conservatives) can be sometime very stupid, and this is a very good example. Seeing this from the outside, not arguing and paying, instead of entering an endless sterile legal fight seems like a wise thing to do... even if it seems unfair...
     
  19. Diamondhitch

    Diamondhitch AH Legend

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    I agree, it is unfortuante. This time it was hus mistake of not thoroughly reading the regs thoroughly. I do not read the regs from cover to cover each year either, who does? These cahnges should be outlined as they are implemented in the front of the regs in a special "changes for this season" section, and who knows maybe they were.

    I do strongly beleive that because of his mouth Ted is targeted for prosecution though. His previous go around is a solid case for that. If you are not farmiliar with it the papers read that Ted was hunting over bait. What they leave out is the real story. In California it is illegal to hunt within a specified distance of a baited site. Did Ted do this, yes. But wait, where was the baited site? On the neibors property, propert which he had no right of access or reasonable expectation of knowing that there was bait out there. He simply put a stand up on a likely spot on land he had permission to hunt, end of story. This could happen to anyone any time. Would they charge the average guy, probably not or at least I hope not. Not really a case of a stupid law but more a case of an abuse of the letter of law, there needs to be a case for following the spirit of the law IMO.
     
  20. RickB

    RickB AH Fanatic

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    I understand your point of politics should not play any part in hunting. But where I feel you are wrong is that it does play a part in the laws that regulate hunting (gun control, EPA etc...). Where I hunt I am surrounded by "liberals". All union guys who hunt and love the outdoors. In the next sentence they will spout off about the tea party being a communist organization. One is correct in that lumping all liberals into a group of anti's is not 100% correct, it is very very close to it. About the same percentages of CEOs that are communist, they do exist.
     

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