Bill in Wisconsin Legislature Poised to Criminalize Free Speech and Allow a Bear Hounder/Baiter Takeover of Our Public Lands

Public domain image via Wikimedia Commons.
Public domain image via Wikimedia Commons.

As I wrote about yesterday the Wisconsin Bear Hunters Association (WBHA) and their allies are not content just controlling our legislature, courts, DNR,governorship and every other element of state government. They are now, with the help of their members/allies in the legislature, orchestrating a complete and total takeover of our public lands and the First Amendment rights of non-hunter users of those lands under the guise of a “hunter harassment” bill.

This week numerous anti-wildlife legislators introduced and “sponsored” a bill that would criminalize photographing, videotaping, and even being “in the proximity” of hounders, baiters, trappers, and other people harassing and killing our wildlife on OUR public lands. This is not hyperbole or an exaggeration. The WBHA and their legislative allies are waging an all out war on OUR free speech rights and the rights of non-hunters to use OUR public lands. This is the text of a bill, SB338, that will criminalize photography, videotaping, and free navigation of OUR PUBLIC LANDS to protect the unethical practices of hounding, trapping, and baiting:

This bill makes changes to the laws prohibiting certain activities that interfere
with hunting, fishing, and trapping.

Current law prohibits a person from engaging in certain intentional conduct
that interferes with lawful hunting, fishing, or trapping. The conduct prohibited
under current law (prohibited conduct) includes harassing a wild animal, impeding
or obstructing a person who is engaged in lawful hunting, fishing, or trapping, or
impeding a person who is engaged in an activity associated with lawful hunting,
fishing, or trapping. Current law generally defines an activity associated with lawful
hunting, fishing, or trapping, as travel, camping, or other acts that are preparatory
to lawful hunting, fishing, or trapping. This bill expands this definition so that it also
includes scouting, target shooting, dog training, and animal baiting or feeding.
The bill also expands the prohibitions in current law so that a person may not
interfere or attempt to interfere with an activity associated with lawful hunting,
fishing, or trapping by engaging in prohibited conduct. The bill also expands the
types of conduct prohibited to include disturbing a lawfully placed hunting stand,
disturbing lawfully placed bait or other feed, using a drone under certain
circumstances, and engaging in a series of acts (serial conduct) that are intended to
impede or obstruct a person engaged in lawful hunting, fishing, or trapping or an
activity associated with lawful hunting, fishing, or trapping. The types of serial
conduct prohibited include maintaining a visual or physical proximity to the person,
approaching or confronting the person, or photographing the person.

Want to take you dog for a walk on OUR PUBLIC LANDS? If it pisses off a hounder, trapper, or baiter YOU are committing a criminal act. Want to take a picture or video of wildlife on OUR PUBLIC LANDS? If it “bothers” or you are “in proximity” to a hounder, trappers, or baiter YOU are committing “harassment” and a “criminal act.” If YOU are in the woods and videotape illegal behavior by hounders, trappers, and baiters YOU are “harassing” them under this bill and YOU are the criminal. If YOU happen to just watch a hounder or baiter YOU can be considered a criminal under this bill.

What is even more disturbing than this blatant attack on the First Amendment rights of our citizens is the fact that hounders and baiters in Wisconsin have ZERO oversight and do not need any type of permit to practice their activities. In 2014 baiters “reported” depositing 4,639,707 GALLONS of bear bait (stale junk food like doughnuts) all over our PUBLIC lands ( via Wisconsin DNR email). This is just what was “reported” by those with bear killing licenses and doesn’t take into account the baiting done by those with no kill license. Baiters are allegedly “only” allowed to dump “no more” than 10 gallons of bait at any one site “per visit.” Just take those numbers into account before your jaw hits the floor. IF the rules were followed this would mean that there were 82,340 “reported” bear baiting sites on OUR public lands in Wisconsin according to the Wisconsin DNR. Those are just the “reported” ones. Add in the thousands of hounds being allowed to terrorize wildlife under the guise of “training” each year, again with no licensing requirement, and you can see why the hounders/baiters don’t want anyone to see what they really do in OUR woods. It’s not enough that they already harass, bully, and intimidate other users of public land, they want it all to themselves and even want to make criminals of those with a differing ideology that are also using PUBLIC lands or are reporting and documenting the violations that the Wisconsin DNR refuses to enforce.

These are the sponsors of this blatant attack on free speech and WBHA takeover of OUR public lands. The names are all familiar but for some strange reason a Democrat, Chris Sinicki, is also shown as a co-sponsor of this bill. Wildlife advocates have contacted Rep. Sinicki and she made it very clear that she has NOTHING to do with this bill and would NEVER support such a thing. It is absolutely shameful that the people behind this bill reported Rep. Sinicki as being in support of this bill.


October 15, 2015 – Introduced by Senators Moulton, Gudex, Harsdorf, Olsen and
Kapenga, cosponsored by Representatives Jarchow, Allen, Ballweg, Born,
Czaja, Edming, Gannon, Horlacher, Hutton, Jagler, Kleefisch, Knodl,
Kremer, Kulp, T. Larson, Murphy, Mursau, A. Ott, Petryk, Quinn, Tittl and
Sinicki. Referred to Committee on Sporting Heritage, Mining, and Forestry.

It’s no shock that WBHA and NRA member, Adam Jarchow, is leading the charge here and that convicted wildlife violator, Joel Kleefish, also signed on. Please contact each of the legislators behind this blatant attack on free speech and those with differing ideology along with your own and demand that they dos any and all support for this.

Click on the names of the above legislators to be directed to their websites and contact information.

Go to the below page and put your address into the “Find My Legislators” area to contact them and ask that they DO NOT support this blatant attack on free speech, WBHA takeover of OUR public lands, and the criminalization of having differing ideologies.

Wisconsin State Legislature 

As I stated yesterday there is a coordinated effort to provide cover for any and all “hunting” activities in this state no matter how deplorable or unethical. These proposals should come as no surprise to anyone that has witnessed the gutting and selling off of anything deemed “progressive” or “liberal” since 2011. Wisconsin has made efforts to criminalize free speech before and has gone out of their way to give those that kill wildlife free reign to take over our public lands. This bill is just another example of what extremist one party rule looks like. What else do these bought and paid for politicians need to do to our rights before they get voted out? The entire country saw real fast what this kind of neo-fascism would look like on the national level and they shut it down in two months. Are we not smart enough in Wisconsin to do the same thing?

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