I sent a message to Susan who is caught up in a Swamp Booger citation, but I thought I'd put this out to the group in case anyone else is having similar problems...
There is an attorney in Birmingham, AL, who specializes in outdoor-related disputes, specific to hunting and fishing and everything related. He is a good, honest man, he loves to hunt and fish and he believes in the protection of the rights of outdoorsmen. His name is Tom Hale, (205) 326-0000. I know because I had to use him...
As a member of the national outdoor press, at times I have felt as though I have been a high profile "target" for law enforcement, especially new officers looking to "land the big fish." Conspiracy theories aside (LOL), I got caught up in a letter-of-the-law vs. spirit-of-the-law citation many years ago. Given that my career is vested in the outdoors and my reputation was at stake, AS ARE YOUR CAREERS AND REPUTATIONS, I fought my battle politely, but aggressively...and I would recommend you all do the same.
I am a champion of law enforcement (given that I am a former police officer), but as in all professions there are people who are good at making life difficult. Laws are not written with individuals in mind, rather they are designed to cover as many contingencies as possible. We run into trouble when the individual law officer isn't able/won't/doesn't want to make a common sense interpretation of the law.
It is your career and your good name to protect.
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can you elaborate on the citation? Since the rules and regulations state that we can mount and preserve animals in a life like mannor, I have alway's wondered about this. There are the swamp booger forms and Rineharts sells squirrel forms,where the animals are playing sports. Legal? I would think on the swamp booger you could get away with it since you are using scraps, but the squirrel, don't know.
...from 3/19/04 in Industry forum.
Thanks for the reply.
... I respectfully disagree.
Laws are made to be taken literally. The problem is not an officer's interpretation of the law, but more so .....the ambiguous nature of the law it's self.
If all law enforcement were honest and trustworthy as yourself, then "allowing" an officer to issue a citation based on the spirit the law would be the end to all the controversy. Unfortunately, that's not the case. Allowing an officer to interpret the spirit of the law opens Pandora's box of abuse for the cops that are on a power trip. Should every Conservation officer be allowed to determine if selling a woolly booger is illegal? Officer "A" says go ahead, no problem. Officer "B" will start proceedings to remove your taxidermy license (along with your livelihood). That's a lot of power to give to a guy standing on MY property! I sure hope everything is going well for him at home. I sure hope our kids are getting along well at school. Maybe he has a friend that sells woolly boogers but his are made from hides from out of state so their OK .
If your law conflicts with common sense, then change it. Call your legislator and he of she will help you. If it's just a "rule" (opposed to a statute), it can be changed quite easily.
"There are two types of laws- just and unjust. One has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws."
Dr. Martin Luther King, 1963
All Game and Fish depts. end the G&F, wildlife regulation law books with a paragrath called a "Savings Clause" that basicly says in lawyer talk that any mistakes in the laws or regulations or the interpetation of them by officers are not the states fault and they are not liable for them in any way. Yes, EVERY department.
I'm sorry about the problems going on with my email, gottem checkimg on it! Thank you for all the support. I have a "friend-of-a-friend" checking out a few things for me concerning the swamp mess. Oh yeah, when I was asked if I'd have a problem with the prospective court date, I sald something about missing classes for a whole day & the officer very thoughtfully changed it to a later date during spring break. Wish me luck! Susan