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SB88 Baiting/Strict Liability

Discussion in 'Chesapeake Flyway Forum' started by Osprey, Jan 29, 2015.

  1. Osprey

    Osprey Elite Refuge Member

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    Surprised I haven't seen this one on here.


    http://mgaleg.maryland.gov/webmga/frmMain.aspx?pid=billpage&tab=subject3&id=sb0088&stab=01&ys=2015RS

    Would basically conform Maryland's baiting laws to Federal standards by removing the 'strict liability' requirement. Maryland doesn't require you to know there is bait, Feds require intent. Would probably result in more places being shut down for 10 days than tickets being written, but when the ticket books come out it would be more serious.

    Interested to hear Eye and Honga's take...
     
  2. muskrat25

    muskrat25 Elite Refuge Member

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    When they changed the Federal law a few years ago, they also increased the penalty for a knowing violation.

    This proposed bill appears not to do anything to alter the current State penalty: fine only for first offense with possibility of jail only as second offender, though perhaps judges will go heavier on a knowing violation than they did on some strict liability cases in the past.

    The standard "knows or should know" still leaves a lot of room for interpretation and officer discretion. It would be interesting to hear how often the officers think they would have written the ticket as compared to the old standard- which was basically "you're here, you're guilty."
     
    Last edited: Jan 29, 2015
  3. eyeonyou

    eyeonyou Elite Refuge Member

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    Several years ago when the Feds went to the "known or should have known "standard, Maryland fought hard to keep strict liability. It has continued to be enforced at the state level under the should have known standard. Simply put Maryland law was more resrtrictve but still enforced following the lesser standard set forth by the federal law. Recently a high profile case was dismissed not because of fact but by political pressure. In light of that there has been a sudden push to eliminate strict liability. This in my opinion is the worst possible thing that could happen to the future of waterfowling as we know it. Scenario with strict liability : 4 guys hunting over baited goose field with bush hogged standing corn, which scatters grain. Under strict liability a person/persons could be charged under state law for bait. It will need to be proven as a lure and attraction (geese feeding on scattered corn, goose manure/feathers etc.... Indicating geese have been using this site. Hunters may or may not have known this bush hogging was done. To me it doesn't matter the geese only know great food source available here. Hunters only know geese feeding here. If they would have checked the area they would realize an enormous amount of corn in one part of field but not in another part of same field. This should raise a question in the hunters mind as to if it is legal or not. Under federal law " as long as the hunter didn't personally do it, know it or looked at it but didn't think it was a violation " he would not be charged. Under state law or strict liability it wouldn't matter, if he knew or not. The officer would only have to prove that bait was present within 10 days of the hunt, birds were under the influence of the bait and hunters were present to take or attempt to take birds.
    So bottom line I foresee if strict liability is removed from state law, that there will be more accidental spillage of grain, etc.... Manipulation of standing crops etc.... Which will produce more food available for waterfowl, it will present great opportunities to harvest birds and subsequently result in more birds killed. This in time will result in a need for shortened seasons, fewer bag limits or eventually another moratorium. But hey there will be great photo ops of huge kills etc for a few years. And best of all if a state or federal Officer questions the amount of residual grain in a field all a hunter has to say is " I looked to see if it looked baited, I asked my host if it was baited and he said no, and I had no prior knowledge of it being baited" and he cannot be charged if strict liability IS removed from law. But he will have probably experienced one hell of a shoot over a baited field. How long will this last who knows, but my bet is not long, probably less then 10 years, and then it will be over. My job for years as others was to be the voice of the game we swore to protect. Now it seems others do not have the best interst of waterfowl in mind. Political agendas and personal interests are attempting to gain at the expense of migratory waterfowl. If you want a few years of great hunting, then support this change, maybe you can start hunting rats once duck and goose season closes because you will not be waterfowling for a while. Worst idea to come down the pipe since merging NRP and Park Rangers. While each serve their own purpose, it is not a shop where one person can do all jobs. You wouldn't hire an electrician to fix your plumbing problem, and the merger didn't either. Like it or not strict liability needs to stay in place, officers need to enforce/ prove knowledge if possible but ultimately preserve and protect the waterfowl. Without strict liability, this will not happen . Look at the number of cases made by the USFWS since they went to "known or should have known". Only a few in comparison and only the most agregious cases have been made. State needs to retain strict liability for instances where it is impossible to prove who created the violation, but a violation absolutely is present regardless of who did or who knew it, ducks and geese will die regardless and that is what is most important. If it was a legal hunting site then great if it wasn't then I don't care if you knew or not, it was illegal. YOU Should have known.
    If you got caught by your wife with a hot girl in bed, would you expect your wife to believe that you didn't know it was wrong?????.? Right, Eye
     
  4. carolina girl

    carolina girl Elite Refuge Member

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    I don't agree with you at all Eye, with all due respect......and the analogy you used regarding the hot chick, isn't even close to what you've described above.
     
  5. BLKHEAD

    BLKHEAD Elite Refuge Member

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    I say baiting was the only thing keeping ducks alive and at the numbers they were and should be legalized again with stricter federal violation for shooting over limit.
     
  6. Montauker

    Montauker Elite Refuge Member

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    Lets say I know a guy who knows a guy who told me this story.;)

    Three people baited this past season:

    Baiters 1 and 2:

    They combined for a total of two ducks all season over bait at multiple locations.

    The third guy shot limits of ducks all season long and got busted the last day of season by federal wardens, who had been watching him for some time.
     
  7. eyeonyou

    eyeonyou Elite Refuge Member

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    No disrespect taken.:tu. I don't mind peoples rights to disagree, I only wrote this post, because I was asked to do so. In my previous employment I would have only viewed this thread with no comments made. Now I only give my informed, educated opinion like everyone else here. I have no dog in this fight and really do not care what decision in reached. I continue to enjoy our waterfowling heritage with the same passion that I always have, within what laws or regulations are set forth. Maybe the "hot chick " analogy was not a proper comparison, but I know of some members here who understood what I was saying lol:l:l:l. My apologies if anyone was offended. Eye
     
  8. muskrat25

    muskrat25 Elite Refuge Member

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    Yeah, I think your example you need to be in bed with the farmer's son who is a transvestite....... I think....... :eek:


    Eye, I recently heard a rundown of "the case which needs not be mentioned" from a reliable source, (and I am sure there are a couple more sides of the story) and I am sure that spurred the current proposal. At the conclusion of that story, I reached the conclusion that the officer did the right thing to write the ticket, and the State probably did the right thing dismissing it.

    Funny thing is, I can see that same ticket being written even if this proposed change happens. Didn't the guy who got the ticket call DNR beforehand and say "something looks wrong"? Then he hunted anyway. There's your "knew or should have known"...... The proposal does not say that you had to carry a 50 lb sack out into the field yourself.

    Good, bad or indifferent, the fact that the case was dismissed does not exactly set a precedent for anyone else. The case was a debate about what constitutes a "normal farming practice", not a case where corn was dredged up out of a farm pond. In the course of cutting out some standing corn for the hunters, the farmer knocked over a swath of corn and ultimately left a bunch of it on the ground in the vicinity of the blind. Could it have been done on purpose? Sure. Was it done on purpose? I guess we'll never know, without a confession.

    Yes, that could open the door for all kinds of abuse. I assume if I ask my farmer to leave me some standing corn, but I want it to spell out my initials...... in cursive....... :eek: that all the back and forth would leave a lot of extra corn lying around.

    So I think the bigger problem, as it relates to that case and ones like it, is that for many decades we have adopted the fiction that leaving corn standing is a normal agricultural process in the first place! Not talking about waterlogged fields that can't be picked, or drought stunted crops not worth the fuel for the combine, but legitimate 300 bushel an acre corn left behind when the last truck leaves for the silo. The only purpose is to leave food for animals and birds, and thus attract them to a place, either for refuge or harvest depending on the pleasure of the landowner! And lets not even talk about that time-tested agricultural process of flooding corn impoundments.......

    Presumably, those have been allowed because they provide food 24/7 for the entire season and afterwards, as opposed to shooting wood ducks that fly up to a feeder when they hear the motor spinning. In reality, those "normal practices" are generally available to wealthier hunters who can compensate the farmer for thousands of dollars worth of crops left unharvested.

    Further complicating the issue today is the almost universal presence of cover crops, some of which the government pays for farmers NOT to harvest! We saw a thread here a few weeks ago suggesting that extensive cover crops keep the geese fat and happy close to waterways, instead of seeking food further inland where the poster has his blind.

    We hunt near water, and can usually coax down a few birds, but we watch 95% of them hit the neighbors field- that has the same cover crop as us: nearly a decade of observation tells us they just really like that field better, and they are rarely hunted there. Nothing illegal going on, just a rich guy that bought a great goose field (which we used to lease too!) and he smokes them a couple times a year.

    Its unfortunate that money makes a difference in this sport, but it does. Leases, standing crops, water control structures, stuffers at $80 a pop or some whizbang plastic fullbody for $50 a pop, (or maybe even a spread of the finest wood blocks!) trailers, atv's, boats, fuel consumed scouting, the list goes on and on, to include paying lawyers fees.

    And that is where politics comes into it: there is no way any politician is going to tell the richest 5% of the country that they can't flood corn on their land, or leave corn standing on their land.

    Respectfully, I understand but do not endorse BLCKHD's approach, and I think the guy that is caught spreading bagged corn in the decoys should be hammered! But given the scarcity of game warden resources and the epidemic of jacklighters we have around here, I think the efforts to police a couple rows of corn knocked over one time (not on a weekly basis) or writing a ticket for a few ears of corn found attached to an A-frame, is time better spent elsewhere.

    That is my humble opinion.
     
    Last edited: Jan 29, 2015
  9. carolina girl

    carolina girl Elite Refuge Member

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    I wasn't offended by the analogy. It was just a poor one.

    The law is a poor law as well. The federal law is much better, and I hope strict liability gets stuffed.

    You should have to prove intent and prove who did it. If you can't, you don't have a case.

    Now, I'm not against shutting a baited site down, regardless of who did it but sticking it to just anyone. Un American, imo.

    Worried about waterfowl getting killed unfairly, shut down flooded impoundments.
     
  10. markd

    markd Elite Refuge Member

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    Allow bait.
    No shooting before 8.
    No shooting after 12.

    It wasn't the gunning clubs that put such a dent in the waterfowl populations in the Atlantic Flyway, it was market gunning and habitat loss.
     

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