Sportsman harassment- Know your rights (8/9/2002)
Anti-hunters who disrupt legal hunting and angling activities
are breaking the law. It is hunter harassment and it is illegal in all
Animal rights fanatics have been known to create disturbances
to try to prevent sportsmen from enjoying a day in the field or on the
water. They have followed hunters into the woods, honked car horns and
played loud music near hunting areas and thrown rocks at fishing lines
to disrupt sportsmenís activities. One animal advocate, Steve Hindi,
went so far as to fly a paraglider amid a flock of geese to disrupt a
How can people get away with these actions? They canít.
Every state has some form of hunter harassment law in place, which was
designed to prevent anti-hunting activists from using protests to
disrupt lawful hunting. These laws are modeled after draft legislation
created by the U.S. Sportsmenís Alliance in the 1980s. The people who
committed the crimes previously mentioned have had to pay fines, do
community service and even serve jail time.
Trying to get around the law-
Anti-hunters abhor hunter harassment laws. The antiís have
challenged the laws in court numerous times in the last decade, claiming
that they infringe on the first amendment right to free speech and
assembly. Despite repeated challenges, the laws remain steadfast and
sportsmen remain protected.
A recent challenge resulted in a 5-0 ruling by the
Connecticut Supreme Court in May, again favoring sportsmen. It said that
the law does not infringe on the rights to free speech and assembly
because forests where hunting is allowed are not intended for public
assembly and do not contain facilities for public interaction. Chief
Justice William Sullivan said the anti-hunters have their speech
restricted "only to the degree necessary to prevent interference
with taking game."
What should you do?
What if this happened to you? Are you ready to come face to
face with an anti-hunter while youíre in the field? Do you know how to
handle yourself? Here are some important tips to remember:
Report the incident to the authorities as soon as possible;
Have an accurate description of the protestor, license plate number and vehicle identification;
Remain calm and rational;
Be prepared to file harassment charges;
Remember that any law officer can enforce this law.
Copyright” U.S. Sportsmen's Alliance- www.ussportsmen.org