About the Petition
The Wisconsin legislature is considering a bill that would potentially criminalize photography in the wild and could even make being in the proximity of a hunter a violation of the law.
The “Right to Hunt” bill expands on legislation designed to prevent the obstruction of hunting, fishing, or trapping in the state. Photographing, monitoring, or recording hunters and trappers would be prohibited under the law if passed as written. Even maintaining “visual or physical proximity” to those engaged in hunting or trapping would be criminalized.
The bill is so far-reaching that it could practically ban wildlife photography and expose hikers and other non-consumptive public land users to hundreds of dollars in fines or even jail time simply for being in the presence of a hunter or trapper.
Please sign the petition to the chair of the Wisconsin Committee on Sporting Heritage, Mining, and Forestry, and ask him to immediately table this bill and prevent it from becoming law.
To: Sen. Thomas Tiffany
I am alarmed to learn that the Wisconsin legislature is considering a bill that seeks to shield the actions of hunters and trappers from public scrutiny by grossly expanding the list of activities prohibited under existing law.
The bill, 2015 Senate Bill 338—or, as some are calling it, the “Right to Hunt” bill—would criminalize photographing or videotaping hunters in addition to maintaining proximity to or impeding a person engaged in hunting or trapping.
This proposed legislation is so expansive and restrictive that it could make criminals out of bird-watchers and wildlife photographers and put hikers, cross-country skiers, and other non-consumptive users of public land at risk of arrest. Public lands belong to all Americans, not just a chosen few that engage in activities favored by some politicians. This legislation appears not only designed to protect one class of citizens at the expense of another (in a likely unconstitutional manner) but also to prohibit public knowledge and scrutiny of activities on public lands that impact wildlife and wild places held in the public trust. Neither of these ends is a worthy goal for a state legislature to pursue.
The bill would also be bad for endangered wolves. One of the primary causes of human/wolf conflict in Wisconsin is depredation of bear hunting hounds by wolves defending themselves or their families from these packs of dogs. Criminalizing efforts to document this activity could lead to even greater conflict and more wolves killed in retaliation.
I urge that as chair of the Committee on Sporting Heritage, Mining, and Forestry, you exercise your authority to table this bill permanently and prevent it from becoming law.