MOHA Report by Drake Jackson
By now MOHA is well into another legislative session pursuing our mission, preserving all Minnesotans right to hunt, fish and trap. In early January MOHA hosted another legislative Meet & Greet event designed to gather newly elected representatives giving MOHA members a mixer to inform of our mission and a place to introduce ourselves. This is always an excellent opportunity for our member groups to network for their organization. Invitation is open to all MOHA member groups and their members. Consider attending a future Meet & Greet for your organization.
MOHA also leads the legislative sportsmen caucus bi-weekly on Wednesdays in the state office building, rm 400, 11;30-12;30 where sportsmen stakeholders and legislators interested in outdoor sports can meet to discuss current or potential legislative action that can effect sportsmen interests. This is were stakeholder can have a direct input to legislators, legislative action, network with other sportsmen interest groups and invest support in each other in a group focused on sportsmen's issues.
So far no current trapping changes have been announced but the dog and body grip trap issue still simmers and is ready to boil again at a moment’s notice. MOHA's advice from concerned legislative committee leadership is for trapping groups to continue to participate in discussions with dog owners that might prevent or at least limit potential future legislative restrictions. MTA currently has dedicated people attending any fair-sided discussions that could lead to constructive results. This effort has shown many that MTA trappers are committed to trying to find a possible solution, fairest to all involved. Let's keep at it.
The wolf's relisting as an endangered species is a major setback for MN sportsmen, trappers and hunters. It is a very complicated ruling where basically the letter of the law may for some be circumventing the goal of the law, which is to reestablish a healthy stable population of the species of concern. The ideal of the endangered species act was a good one but how best keep it on track as species become recovered may be in need of modifying, which takes time and political will. Another option being pursued is getting the Federal legislation to pass an exemption of sorts for the wolf, where it has sufficiently recovered, from the ESA as has been done for a couple of western states, giving management of them back to the states they reside in. MN,WI and MI could possibly do this as well. Support in congress needs to be rallied for this to be accomplished. It is being worked on within action groups but individuals interested in state control of managing its own wildlife population can also help by contacting their US representatives and respectfully asking them to represent you on this.
MOHA is preparing for our annual fundraising banquet which is always a well enjoyed event that gives our member groups an evening to socialize with the leaders of other member groups and state personnel all the way to the top of the pay grade, as the Governor Dayton is scheduled to speak this year. MTA will be present showing our pride in our sport and educating on it.