February 26, 2010
Update: Idaho House Panel Backs Bill To Protect Hunter Identities
By Dave Hurteau
Earlier this month, we ran a link reporting that Boise wolf advocate Rick Hobson used public records to post on a website the names of 122 hunters who reported wolf kills to the IDFG, including Robert Millage, our own “idahooutdoors,” whose story of public scrutiny and harassment in the wake of tagging the first wolf of Idaho’s first 2009 season is detailed in our March 2010 issue.
Here’s the latest, from the Spokesman Review:
HB 531. . . would make all hunting licenses and tags secret, plus add criminal sanctions for any harassment of hunters…. Several media representatives spoke against the bill, saying it was too broad and would close down records that reporters, hunters and fishermen long have legitimately used, for everything from checking whether a candidate for the Fish & Game Commission had a hunting license to verifying that the subject of an outdoor feature about a trophy catch caught the fish legally. Jeremy Pisca, lobbyist for the Idaho Allied Daily Newspapers, said the bill was akin to going after a “gnat with a sledgehammer. . . .”
[HB 531 sponser Rep. Judy Boyle, R-Midvale] said it would prevent wolf hunters from being harassed. “It’s my belief that one of the reasons for government is to protect its citizens, and I feel that’s what this bill will do,” she said. The motion to send the bill to the amending order passed on a voice vote, with three committee members objecting.