Non-Resident Hunter Lawsuits


Published: January - 2000

There are 150 years of case law and political policy against non-resident hunters and the entire interstate hunting industry. The system is designed to limit, control and/or exclude non-residents. My pro-hunting organization, Conservation Force, is the only organization doing anything to overturn it. First, we unearthed the fact that one of seven hunters travel out-of-state to hunt each year. That means two million hunters are discriminated against annually. We are developing educational material about the important contribution made by non-residents to the American conservation system.

Second, we have participated in five different Federal Court cases in the Western states. We won the Terk decision in New Mexico establishing the reach of the Equal Protection Clause for licensing parity. We filed the pending case in Wyoming Federal District Court. It has been argued, and we are waiting on the decision in this decisive case. It is the best prepared case on the issue in the 20th century, and it is widely recognized as the first real test case in over 20 years, since Baldwin v. Montana.

Third, we have been amicably persuading state agencies, commissions and state legislators of the merits of granting greater parity of licensing for non-residents. One result is Idaho's decision to open moose hunting to non-residents for the first time. Fourth, we have begun formal efforts to persuade federal regulatory agencies to override discriminatory licensing when it deprives non-residents of equal access to BLM, Forest Service or National Wildlife Refuge lands that should be open to all Americans. We are pointing out that there is an important distinction between federal agencies cooperating with state agencies for the biological management of national lands and determining access of Americans to the use of resources on that land after the biological determinations have been made. The issue is not the extent of use; it is who is to use it. Most recently, we filed comments against National Wildlife Refuge policy that permits discrimination against stereotyped (out-of-staters) classes of Americans. Fifth, we are searching for a friendly ear in Congress to begin legislating equality of access for all Americans........(continued)

 
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