The Senate Committee on Natural Resources, Environment and Great Lakes met on Thursday to vote on a bill that could allow the Natural Resources Commission to add species to the game list and establish hunting seasons without legislative approval.
The meeting, held at 8:30 a.m. on Thursday, resulted in a vote of 5 to 2 in favor of the bill introduction. Senator Tom Casperson, the sponsor of S.B. 288, is in favor of this because scientifically managing game species is becoming an ever growing belief. Opponents to the bill say that this is a power grab which could leave voters without a voice in the game species process.
"So hungry to wipe out wolves, these politicians are even diluting their own power to pass game species policy by granting this authority to a handful of political appointees who are accountable to no one," said Wayne Pacelle, President and CEO for The Humane Society of the United States.
Senator Casperson says that voters supported the NRC's ability to regulate the taking of game species in 1996, so this bill is adding to that idea.
"Management of wildlife is an issue that constituents routinely raise as one of the great concern for economic, recreational and social reasons," said Senator Casperson. "In 1996, the voters wisely decided that they wanted the NRC to regulate the taking of game based on science. And, from what I continue to hear, especially lately, the belief that we need to manage game scientifically is even more strongly held today."
Wayne Pacelle expressed concern over recent measures to allow wolf hunting, citing a petition which garnered nearly a quarter million signatures to push the wolf hunt proposal to a ballot vote in 2014.
"Voters rejected mourning dove hunting in a landslide vote in 2006, with all 83 counties and all 110 House and 38 Senate districts, including Senator Casperson's, siding with the idea of dove protection," Pacelle explained.
He expressed concerns that Senator Casperson's bill would have allowed the NRC to allow dove hunting, nullifying the landslide vote to protect doves in 2006.
How do you stand on S.B. 288? You find the contact information for your local legislator here.