February 05, 2010
Hurteau: Nebraska Deer-Control Bill Favors Frightening Free-For-All
By Dave Hurteau
For anyone looking for another example of the Armageddon politicians can unleash on game management, the Nebraska legislature, in an effort to radically reduce the deer herd (a move favored by many farmers, who no doubt represent a powerful lobby in NE), offer bill LB836, which would remove many of the most fundamental restrictions on deer hunting, thus legitimizing every poacher in the state and making poachers out of everybody else.
On its face, LB836 looks to me like a potentially disastrous free-for-all with perhaps the power to disintegrate the line between hunting and killing. In short, an abomination.
I could be wrong. But I’m not alone.
From a McCook Daily Gazette column:
LB836, which would allow night-hunting with spotlights and shooting without permits as a way to decrease the deer population in Nebraska. It would also allow landowners and their immediate family members to kill, without permits, deer caught damaging property, and would establish additional deer hunting seasons. . . .
There is plenty of reason to be concerned about deer. . . .
But the state officials who know the most about the issue oppose LB836. The Nebraska Game and Parks Commission is already dealing with the issue by extending antlerless-deer hunting seasons, reducing permit prices and taking other steps to reduce the herd.
Allowing spotlighting and unregulated hunting is the wrong approach.
And from a Journal Star Op-Ed:
Sen. Scott Lautenbaugh's bill LB836 will allow the unlimited, wholesale extermination of white-tailed deer on private lands by farmers, ranchers and landowners, regardless of season, 365 days a year.
Furthermore, these landowners will receive a $25 bonus per deer killed and a tax credit. This bill was introduced by the Omaha senator because of complaints from his agricultural constituents (and insurance company lobbyists?) that deer are eating up profits and the deer in Nebraska are over-populated.
So the senator’s response is: Kill ’em all! . . . .
Well, senator, you’re gonna make the insurance companies and the farmers really happy if this bill gets passed. While you’re at it, to heck with wildlife habitat or conservation management. (Be sure to check out the full text on this one.)
The bill is especially dangerous because it could set an horrific precedent
with far-reaching implications for all of us. I’ve hunted Nebraska, and
compared to my home-state of New York, deer do in fact run around like rats
at a dump, and farmers, as well as other landowners and motorist, do need
controls on the herd. But not these controls.