On outdoor issues it is not very positive under the present powers that control the legislature.
Gun control legislation.
Rep. Mike Paymar (Dem) from Ramsey County (St Paul area) has reintroduced his myriad of gun control legislation. They cover the military (AR platform), your automatic weapons (yes, your hunting guns and rifles included), magazine capacities, background checks, and who should be able to own them. This is problematic for trappers.
We'll leave the AR platform out of this discussion. I perceived few are owned by trappers, as they are just darn hard to get into the top of your waders, and create bigger holes than necessary in pelts, and that costs us money at the grading tables.
But many of us do have the "automatic weapons" as they are widely labeled. Knowledgeable people know we can only own semi-automatic rifles and shotguns but "weapons" is the deceptive word. A large swath of sporting arms can and will fall into the category chosen in some of the present legislation that's considered. We'll keep you posted, but try to refrain from conversations, both public and private, where you refer to your rifles, shotguns and handguns as "weapons". Call them what they are "MY" rifle, shotgun, or handgun and be proud of how you use them.
As for "magazine capacities" you would have to surrender all your tubular fed .22 rifles and lots of ammo clips from vintage .22 rifles and handguns, that may not have replacement parts in smaller magazine capacities. Shooting your catch is a bit more pliable for the uneducated public than blunt force trauma. I just could not imagine stepping into a catch circle of a timber wolf to administer a coup de gras. Yes, .22's would fall under present submission.
Really, background checks seem pretty harmless, don't they? Realize that you could be required to have background checks done on your own sons or daughters just to pass a family heirloom down. Kind of ruins that special Christmas gift you wish to put under the tree. This is a very slippery slope we will have to navigate.
The mental health thing, WOW not going there. Many think we're crazy as it is. And, yes cutting through 20+ inches of ice to trap beaver have me questioning, "What's sanity?".
Again the Bodygrip controversy has re-entered.
Rep John Ward (Dem) Brainerd has indicated that the last year’s restrictions imposed on the use of 220's and 160's did not go far enough to adequately provide dog safety. There are others that would have all conibear type traps banned completely unless underwater sets are used or are 5 ft. in elevation. In the areas of south and southwest Minnesota's prairie that would completely make the trap unusable. I not going into the debate further in this report, but you SHOULD call Rep Ward and your local legislator and let them know that you are watching.
Invasive Species and Environmental concerns.
Recent hearings were held by Rep. Jean Wagenius (Dem) Minneapolis Chair on the Committee on Environment, Natural Resource, and Agricultural Finance on the spread of unwanted species in our waterways, and water quality. We are concerned that a shift in priorities from game and fishing to the "new threat" of invasive species will divert funds from programs beneficial to all wildlife. Trappers do use a wide variety of water transportation and these vehicles can also transfer invasive species. This has been the most recent focus of discussion. But water (species in suspension) could also be on, or in my case, in my boots and also transferred. Even movement of harvested wet fur or the natural dispersal of beaver, muskrat, and otter could make transfer possible. All are in our areas of concern. In wildlife circles, and a resident of Minneapolis, Rep. Wagenius is considered by some to be just a little too "green" in her thinking to head this committee. We'll see.
There are also concerns about the diversion of funds from the legacy monies to other areas not related to intent of the fund’s creation. Rep. Phyllis Kahn (Dem) Minneapolis is the chair of the committee that oversees the funds. This is her 21st term in the legislature and is the chief author of the MN Clean Indoor Air Act and is quoted in her bio as being "Instrumental in obtaining funds for parks and trails, historic preservation, art-enchantments of State buildings, and the expansion of community and urban forests." We have concerns and will keep you posted. As always MOHA is on watch !
Call and discuss your views with your local representative and Senator at every opportunity, others are. Please don't be one of the Silent Majority, too much is at stake.