From the US Sportsmen’s Alliance: A bill being considered in the Rhode Island legislature would make hunting for deer on private land without permission a felony level offense. …House Bill 7858 would also require jail time (up to two years) for anyone who hunts deer on private land without written permission.
The state’s Department of Environmental Management and Rhode Island sportsmen’s clubs have testified against the bill as being “unnecessary and excessively punitive.”
I agree. While I hate those who knowingly trespass and poach as much as anybody this bill has the potential for trouble. You know how difficult it can be to determine exact property lines in the woods. Some (most) are not clearly marked and/or posted. Suppose you unwittingly veer onto a tightly posted property and get busted?
Suppose a young, newbie hunter would do that? He could conceivably go to jail and have a felony record that would follow him around and jeopardize his ability to get a job and own a firearm.
“While we certainly do not condone trespassing, the penalties included in this bill go well beyond any reasonable expectation,” said a USSA spokesman. “Requiring imprisonment for someone who makes an honest mistake is draconian and overly excessive.”
I think most of us would agree with that, right?
So RI wants to (and I quote) “make hunting for deer on private land without permission a felony level offense. …House Bill 7858 would also require jail time (up to two years) for anyone who hunts deer on private land without written permission.”
A felony charge and two years in jail for hunting deer on private land without written permission…..Seriously? They want to clog up the court systems and jails with this foolishness. They aren’t talking about killing a deer, the quote says anyone who HUNTS deer without written permission.
I could see a fine and for repeated offenses, higher fines and community service but to put people in jail and take away their rights that a felony conviction would, for trespassing is ignorant.
To stiff of a penalty for innocence accounts.
I agree unless it’s a repeat offender.
Here in Michigan, I don’t think the penalties are stiff enough for poaching deer or any other wildlife for that matter. Hit them where it hurts. Larger monetary fines and community service. Loss of hunting privileges won’t stop a poacher. But putting a bigger dent in they’re wallet and some jail time for repeat offenders might make them think twice.
good point about repeat habitual offenders with documented arrests
Read the new MI hunting laws..you will be paying over $500 a point for poaching in 2014!
Come on Mike do you really believe a first time offender would serve any time? There are hard core felons walking the streets, even DUI doesn’t merit jail time for first time offense.
I wish Pa would pass a law like this. I’m tired of trespassers sneaking onto my place an killing deer because the nearby public land is shot out.
I do agree that no judge would give an obvious non-poacher a break and no jail time and reduce the penalty for innocent trespass, but I do think allowing the precedence of “felon” into the equation of trespassing (with no killing of game) is problematic; poaching/illegal killing with evidence is another matter and yes laws should be strengthened and w/felony status