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Thread: HB 318 - A Bill Waiving Fines/Restitution for First-Time Sub-legal Hunting Violations

  1. #1
    Member bushrat's Avatar
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    Default HB 318 - A Bill Waiving Fines/Restitution for First-Time Sub-legal Hunting Violations

    I frankly cannot believe a bill like this. The full text of the bill is below, and is titled "Unintentional Harvest of Big Game."

    What it would do is...if you turn yourself in for harvesting an animal that did not meet the sex, age, horn or antler regulations, whether or not you are a resident or nonresident, if you haven't had a prior offense of this nature, you will not see any fines or restitution penalties. The meat, horns/antlers/hide/skull would still be confiscated by the state, but no other penalties.

    I will grant that we have some issues with differing penalties imposed by judges once hunters do turn themselves in for shooting a sub-legal animal, that may discourage hunters from turning themselves in. But the very notion of this bill is imo not a viable solution and would open the door for a whole new load of first-time violations with no appreciable penalty other than having to turn over meat/hide/horns.

    Note: this would not apply to wanton waste violations. Only first-time sub-legal take. Yes, no one wants to have to turn over meat or horns/antlers/hide, but this is a free pass on any other real penalties that imo makes it too easy for a hunter to say "what the heck," may it isn't full curl, maybe it isn't 50" etc. At least if it isn't, if I turn myself in it's a lesser violation and I don't have to pay anything if it's my first offense.

    Rep. Tammie Wilson is the sponsor of this bill. I hope she gets a lot of emails:
    Representative_Tammie_Wilson@legis.state.ak.us

    There is also a Newsminer article on this:
    http://www.newsminer.com/view/full_s...dow_left_top_3

    Bill text and link below:
    http://www.legis.state.ak.us/basis/g...18A&session=27

    HOUSE BILL NO. 318
    01 "An Act creating an affirmative defense and an exemption from payment of fines and
    02 restitution for a person who reports the person's own first-time unlawful taking of
    03 certain big game animals."
    04 BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF ALASKA:
    05 * Section 1. AS 16.05.925 is amended to read:
    06 Sec. 16.05.925. Penalty for violations. (a) Except as provided in
    07 AS 16.05.430, 16.05.665, 16.05.722, 16.05.723, 16.05.783, 16.05.831, 16.05.861,
    08 [AND] 16.05.905, and (c) of this section, a person who violates AS 16.05.920 or
    09 16.05.921, or a regulation adopted under this chapter or AS 16.20, is guilty of a class
    10 A misdemeanor.
    11 (b) In addition to a penalty imposed under (a) of this section or any other
    12 penalty for violation of this title or a regulation adopted under this title, a person who
    13 is convicted of unlawfully taking an animal listed in this subsection may, except as
    14 provided by (e) of this section, be ordered by the court to pay restitution to the state
    01 in the amount set out in this subsection for each animal unlawfully taken:
    02 (1) Bear, black .................................................. .......................... $ 600
    03 (2) Bear, brown or grizzly .................................................. ........ 1,300
    04 (3) Bison .................................................. ................................... 1,300
    05 (4) Caribou .................................................. ................................... 850
    06 (5) Deer .................................................. ........................................ 400
    07 (6) Elk .................................................. .......................................... 80
    08 (7) Goat .................................................. ........................................ 800
    09 (8) Moose .................................................. .................................. 1,000
    10 (9) Musk oxen .................................................. ........................... 3,000
    11 (10) Sheep .................................................. ................................. 1,100
    12 (11) Wolf .................................................. ..................................... 500
    13 (12) Wolverine .................................................. ............................ 500.
    14 * Sec. 2. AS 16.05.925 is amended by adding new subsections to read:
    15 (c) In a prosecution for unlawfully taking an animal listed in (b) of this section
    16 that did not meet the sex, age, or size limitations adopted by the Board of Game under
    17 AS 16.05.255(a)(4), it is an affirmative defense, which reduces the crime to a
    18 violation, that the defendant
    19 (1) voluntarily and promptly reported the taking to the department or a
    20 state law enforcement officer engaged in fish and wildlife protection; and
    21 (2) surrendered to the department all salvaged portions of the animal,
    22 including, as may be applicable, its horns, antlers, hide, and skull.
    23 (d) The affirmative defense provided by (c) of this section does not apply if
    24 the defendant has previously been convicted of taking an animal listed in (b) of this
    25 section that did not meet the sex, age, or size limitations adopted by the Board of
    26 Game under AS 16.05.255(a)(4).
    27 (e) Notwithstanding AS 12.55.035 and (b) of this section, a defendant who
    28 successfully establishes the affirmative defense provided by (c) of this section may not
    29 be required to pay a fine under AS 12.55.035 or restitution under (b) of this section.
    30 * Sec. 3. The uncodified law of the State of Alaska is amended by adding a new section to
    31 read:
    01 APPLICABILITY. In AS 16.05.925(d), added by sec. 2 of this Act, the reference to a
    02 previous conviction for taking an animal includes convictions occurring before, on, or after
    03 the effective date of this Act.

  2. #2
    Member AK Ray's Avatar
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    Unintentional does not mean what they think it means.

    Goes with misuse of the word accident.

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    Member Steve_O's Avatar
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    Maybe this would eliminate a lot of "Wanton waste of game" by eliminating that fear of a stiff fine due to a simple mistake. IMO this sounds like a good deal to the simple man. It does no good to go to the woods so scared of pulling the trigger that you let a 51 incher walk by because he doesn't meet the brow tine req. Illegal is illegal but an honest mistake shouldn't cost you an arm and leg, heck it already cost that to hunt. I think of this as a onetime get out of jail free card. You redeem it once and there are no more free passes but the meat is not wasted.
    I will email Tammie and give her my support on this one.
    Steve

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    I am good with this bill. It would preclude a lot of hidden/unreported wasted meat and give the hunter a wake up call.
    Mike
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    www.alaskaatvclub.org
    There is a faster way off the mountain, might hurt a little though.

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    Member ret25yo's Avatar
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    Sounds like BR's OPINE is in the minority, as I also see more benefits than injuries..

    If you cant stand behind the troops in Iraq.. Feel free to stand in front of them.

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    Member Erik in AK's Avatar
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    More hunters will go ahead and pull the trigger on that "maybe he is, maybe he ain't" 49ish bull knowing they'll get a Mulligan.
    If cave men had been trophy hunters the Wooly Mammoth would be alive today

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    Member AKDoug's Avatar
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    That's true Erik, but we'd also have a bunch less of those 45" moose rotting in the woods. Personally, I like the general idea of this, but not getting off Scott free. Maybe a less dollar amount like $250 and no chance of losing next year's hunting privledges. I'd also like to see it restricted to not include sex of the animal. That one is pretty easy to figure out.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve_O View Post
    Maybe this would eliminate a lot of "Wanton waste of game" by eliminating that fear of a stiff fine due to a simple mistake. IMO this sounds like a good deal to the simple man. It does no good to go to the woods so scared of pulling the trigger that you let a 51 incher walk by because he doesn't meet the brow tine req. Illegal is illegal but an honest mistake shouldn't cost you an arm and leg, heck it already cost that to hunt. I think of this as a onetime get out of jail free card. You redeem it once and there are no more free passes but the meat is not wasted.
    I will email Tammie and give her my support on this one.
    Steve
    Ref: part e. "(e) Notwithstanding AS 12.55.035 and (b) of this section, a defendant who successfully establishes the affirmative defense provided by (c) of this section may not be required to pay a fine under AS 12.55.035 or restitution under (b) of this section.

    I read it to mean something slightly different than Steve_O. Basically it would change it from a "misdemeanor" to a "violation with no fine". With it being a violation, then no threat of jail time. Can they confiscate the equipment used for a misdemeanor?

    Just seems that they are trying to establish a "no penalty" system for potential offenses. Proposed plan is little different than giving away shoot anything in season tags to newbie hunters. If what you shoot does not meet the requirements, then turn the meat/trophy and yourself in.

    What's the benefit for the resource or for those that wait for the animals to become legal? I'm not certain that having more honest people (first time offenders="violations with no fines" versus "misdemeanor") would equate to better game management. If judging moose is beyond the average hunters capabilities, then perhaps they change the requirements to registration or draw only any bull tags.

    Those pesky misdemeanor stipulations (confiscation of property, loss of hunting privileges, possible jail time) seem to be the real deterrents. And so as to avoid them, I'm comfortable to let the 51 inch moose walk rather than later learn the moose was not legal. Hopefully, the other hunter that judged the moose to be 49" doesn't pull the trigger to confirm his estimate to take advantage of his free pass. To me, the width of 50" is just a number. If the width requirement was 45", hunters would still want to shoot any 46" moose that walked by... simply, because the state allowed it by regulation.

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    Member AlaskaHippie's Avatar
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    3 Moose hunters glassing a bull moose:

    "I dunno Jim, he looks awfully close to 50"."

    "Yeah, but what if he ain't, Bill?"

    "Well, Dan here used his free pass last year on that 3/4 curl, I burned mine up 2 years back on that 42" Bull...Soooo....Guess that gives you first shot this go 'round...."


    This ain't monopoly, and Get Out Of Jail Free cards are meant for board games...Not Board of Game......
    “Life has become immeasurably better since I have been forced to stop taking it seriously.” ― H.S.T.
    "Character is how you treat those who can do nothing for you."

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    Supporting Member Amigo Will's Avatar
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    Just more of not being held responsible for your actions. I also feel most that shoot illegal game would prefer to leave it in the field and not do all the work required to just give it away.Why spend your weekend packing out a moose to give away when you can just keep looking for a bigger one to keep yourself.How many DLP bear hides and skulls really get packed from twenty miles out in the bush to F&G
    Now left only to be a turd in the forrest and the circle will be complete.Use me as I have used you

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    Member .300wby's Avatar
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    I'm definately with bushrat and others who oppose this! If you must take the chance and not be SURE it's legal, then you should have to pay the fine/loss etc. Tons of discussion on this already. And if a person is unethical enough to leave a sub-legal moose to rot, I personally doubt they would give a hoot either way. They would probably just leave it, big fine or no fine, just to save hassle.

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    One other view to take into consideration is that the animal is butchered and taken to the road or boat etc. They make it home and weren't caught so they keep the meat and tell nobody about it. If they do get caught they were on the way to F&G or the troopers to turn themselves and the meat ect. in to that authorities.

    I do think that there should be some leniency shown to someone who makes a mistake but perhaps not be totally absolved of the infraction. I had a friend years ago who shot a moose every year in unit 20-A and that was his annual supply of red meat. He was stalking a bull that he had seen and a cow appeared in the same area that he hadn't seen and he shot it by mistake as the brush was head high there. He packed the meat out and turned himself in and he received the same penalty that a poacher would receive at that time which was a $300 fine and loss of hunting privileges for a year. This was back in about 1980 so the fine was pretty stiff at that time.

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    Member Ken R's Avatar
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    I like the premise of standardizing the punishment on a first time offense, but it needs to have more of a deterrent. Maybe $500 fine and loss of hunting for one year or....???? Plus, they shouldn't be off completely--maybe suspend the fine/jail to be imposed if there is a second offense.
    On the other hand--don't we have enough laws that don't work to stop the kind of guys who would do it no matter what the law is?

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    Plus ... where's the distinction between in season and out of season? A person should know whether it was a legal hunting season .... rather than shoot a critter out of season and then proceed to butcher the critter and then argue the definition of "promptly reported".

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    Member Steve_O's Avatar
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    If the person knowingly shoots a illegal animal then by all means throw the book at him but the big if here is does he know who is watching with Alaska F&G trooper on speed dial? Probably not and this should be the difference in out and out illegal game harvesting and the average person that makes an honest mistake. If you make an honest mistake then you do the right thing and turn yourself in. If you leave it in the field and get caught then there is the chance someone turned you in and you should be treated accordingly.
    AKhippie you are correct this "aint monopoly" but it is real life and people make mistakes in real life that doesn't mean they should be treated just the same as the guy that shot a sublegal animal and was caught at his house trying to hide it.
    If they make a "mistake" twice then there will be stiffer consequences but generally you get slapped accross the nose with a rolled up newspaper you will remember it the next time prior to pulling that trigger.
    Steve

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    You can't swing a dead cat in this state without finding some scumbags in positions of authority. Who comes up with these ideas?
    "Ya can't stop a bad guy with a middle finger and a bag of quarters!!!!"- Ted Nugent.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve_O View Post
    If the person knowingly shoots a illegal animal then by all means throw the book at him but the big if here is does he know who is watching with Alaska F&G trooper on speed dial? Probably not and this should be the difference in out and out illegal game harvesting and the average person that makes an honest mistake. If you make an honest mistake then you do the right thing and turn yourself in. If you leave it in the field and get caught then there is the chance someone turned you in and you should be treated accordingly.
    AKhippie you are correct this "aint monopoly" but it is real life and people make mistakes in real life that doesn't mean they should be treated just the same as the guy that shot a sublegal animal and was caught at his house trying to hide it.
    If they make a "mistake" twice then there will be stiffer consequences but generally you get slapped accross the nose with a rolled up newspaper you will remember it the next time prior to pulling that trigger.
    Steve
    "Hello, 911? I just drove my truck through a bus stop full of children, a couple of 'em are still stuck in the undercarriage, I made the mistake of trying to talk on the cell phone and drink coffee at the same time while driving down an icy road. But, hey, I'm calling to turn myself in.....Does this mean I get a pass?"


    If you make the "mistake" once, you fess up and hope for leniency. We have enough Nanny Laws out there already.

    What message are we sending to the next generation of hunters? "No kids, you don't need to study up all that hard on how to judge a legal animal, if ya blow it, the first one is FREE!"

    And I'm the "liberal" around here?

    Wowza.
    “Life has become immeasurably better since I have been forced to stop taking it seriously.” ― H.S.T.
    "Character is how you treat those who can do nothing for you."

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    Member mainer_in_ak's Avatar
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    I oppose everything to do with this bill. It's obvious you'll have alot of "pull the trigger first, ask questions/take measurements later" kind of mentality in this state if this bill goes through.

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    Member Vince's Avatar
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    WOWO mark.. Glad you got that law degree you been working on... or NOT!

    what this has to do with is the mandatory restitution and fines required... it DOES not alleviate intentional behavior.. if the trooper dont do his job.. then Fail 1 trooper...

    HOWEVER with two FULL cases this year where a Group of hunters unintentinoally shot a SECOND animal.. ie COW when taking a legal bull.. when NO BODY in either group of hunters had any idea she was in the brush... they not only found the cow ofter the fact, they harvested it, the seased ALL hunting activity and left the field to turn it in...

    both cases ended up in front of the special prosicutions unit... mulitple tickets were offered out... not only for the HUNTER who shot the bull but those with him also...

    Mark.. before you tell: "WHAT it will DO IS"... maybe you should "KNOW what it will do" first..



    THere is a LOT of work to be done on it. yet... anyone with a "STORY" about getting reamed when they did all they could do to meet the letter of the law, when a mistake is made... contact Tami Wilson.. if you like. i have her email and office number and can pm them to you.







    Quote Originally Posted by bushrat View Post
    I frankly cannot believe a bill like this. The full text of the bill is below, and is titled "Unintentional Harvest of Big Game."

    What it would do is...if you turn yourself in for harvesting an animal that did not meet the sex, age, horn or antler regulations, whether or not you are a resident or nonresident, if you haven't had a prior offense of this nature, you will not see any fines or restitution penalties. The meat, horns/antlers/hide/skull would still be confiscated by the state, but no other penalties.

    I will grant that we have some issues with differing penalties imposed by judges once hunters do turn themselves in for shooting a sub-legal animal, that may discourage hunters from turning themselves in. But the very notion of this bill is imo not a viable solution and would open the door for a whole new load of first-time violations with no appreciable penalty other than having to turn over meat/hide/horns.

    Note: this would not apply to wanton waste violations. Only first-time sub-legal take. Yes, no one wants to have to turn over meat or horns/antlers/hide, but this is a free pass on any other real penalties that imo makes it too easy for a hunter to say "what the heck," may it isn't full curl, maybe it isn't 50" etc. At least if it isn't, if I turn myself in it's a lesser violation and I don't have to pay anything if it's my first offense.

    Rep. Tammie Wilson is the sponsor of this bill. I hope she gets a lot of emails:
    Representative_Tammie_Wilson@legis.state.ak.us

    There is also a Newsminer article on this:
    http://www.newsminer.com/view/full_s...dow_left_top_3

    Bill text and link below:
    http://www.legis.state.ak.us/basis/g...18A&session=27

    HOUSE BILL NO. 318
    01 "An Act creating an affirmative defense and an exemption from payment of fines and
    02 restitution for a person who reports the person's own first-time unlawful taking of
    03 certain big game animals."
    04 BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF ALASKA:
    05 * Section 1. AS 16.05.925 is amended to read:
    06 Sec. 16.05.925. Penalty for violations. (a) Except as provided in
    07 AS 16.05.430, 16.05.665, 16.05.722, 16.05.723, 16.05.783, 16.05.831, 16.05.861,
    08 [AND] 16.05.905, and (c) of this section, a person who violates AS 16.05.920 or
    09 16.05.921, or a regulation adopted under this chapter or AS 16.20, is guilty of a class
    10 A misdemeanor.
    11 (b) In addition to a penalty imposed under (a) of this section or any other
    12 penalty for violation of this title or a regulation adopted under this title, a person who
    13 is convicted of unlawfully taking an animal listed in this subsection may, except as
    14 provided by (e) of this section, be ordered by the court to pay restitution to the state
    01 in the amount set out in this subsection for each animal unlawfully taken:
    02 (1) Bear, black .................................................. .......................... $ 600
    03 (2) Bear, brown or grizzly .................................................. ........ 1,300
    04 (3) Bison .................................................. ................................... 1,300
    05 (4) Caribou .................................................. ................................... 850
    06 (5) Deer .................................................. ........................................ 400
    07 (6) Elk .................................................. .......................................... 80
    08 (7) Goat .................................................. ........................................ 800
    09 (8) Moose .................................................. .................................. 1,000
    10 (9) Musk oxen .................................................. ........................... 3,000
    11 (10) Sheep .................................................. ................................. 1,100
    12 (11) Wolf .................................................. ..................................... 500
    13 (12) Wolverine .................................................. ............................ 500.
    14 * Sec. 2. AS 16.05.925 is amended by adding new subsections to read:
    15 (c) In a prosecution for unlawfully taking an animal listed in (b) of this section
    16 that did not meet the sex, age, or size limitations adopted by the Board of Game under
    17 AS 16.05.255(a)(4), it is an affirmative defense, which reduces the crime to a
    18 violation, that the defendant
    19 (1) voluntarily and promptly reported the taking to the department or a
    20 state law enforcement officer engaged in fish and wildlife protection; and
    21 (2) surrendered to the department all salvaged portions of the animal,
    22 including, as may be applicable, its horns, antlers, hide, and skull.
    23 (d) The affirmative defense provided by (c) of this section does not apply if
    24 the defendant has previously been convicted of taking an animal listed in (b) of this
    25 section that did not meet the sex, age, or size limitations adopted by the Board of
    26 Game under AS 16.05.255(a)(4).
    27 (e) Notwithstanding AS 12.55.035 and (b) of this section, a defendant who
    28 successfully establishes the affirmative defense provided by (c) of this section may not
    29 be required to pay a fine under AS 12.55.035 or restitution under (b) of this section.
    30 * Sec. 3. The uncodified law of the State of Alaska is amended by adding a new section to
    31 read:
    01 APPLICABILITY. In AS 16.05.925(d), added by sec. 2 of this Act, the reference to a
    02 previous conviction for taking an animal includes convictions occurring before, on, or after
    03 the effective date of this Act.
    "If you are on a continuous search to be offended, you will always find what you are looking for; even when it isn't there."

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    Default agin it

    I too stand against this.

    The current rules plus a level of ethics already keeps me from pulling the trigger unless I KNOW its all right and good. I've been asked quite a number of times by others in the field why I didn't plug that legal creature, and my answer is always either I didn't see it, or I wasn't sure of the target (and its legalness) & what is beyond it, or possibly because due to time of day or what I'm doing, I can't afford to charge after my shot right then to inspect for blood (it pains me when I see a hunter shoot, and then NOT walk to the point of intended impact; don't they know that sometimes the animal exhibits no sign of being hit with a deadly round?). I don't see a problem with some legal critters getting away from me.

    Hell, if I'm going to receive a get out of jail free card, please, lets make it for first time: (accident-free) speeders, illegal parking, or studs a week after the no-studs-day, OK?

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