State takes hunting violations seriously, so should residents

It’s in human nature to take some restrictions and laws more seriously than others. Many people, if not all, tend to play fast and loose with the laws they consider of minor importance. People don’t view jaywalking the same as fleeing the scene of an accident; nor do most people see driving after leaving home without one’s license to be the same as driving while under the influence. Both individually and collectively we tend to, even if just subconsciously, rank would-be violations from the least offensive (say, speeding) to the most offensive. Most people never come close to a violent felony, for example. But those things ranked as of lesser concern conjure a gray area for many people.

While some might consider violations of hunting and/or fishing laws among minor transgressions, this is a mistake. Authorities in these parts do take such transgressions seriously.

Case in point. In Minot this week, a Sherwood man was ordered to pay $1,075, forfeit a Benelli rifle, and lost his hunting and fishing privileges for two years. Note that this was a plea deal and that in exchange for pleading guilty to two charges, a third was dropped. It could have been a much more serious sentence. The violations stemmed from an incident in which the hunter shot a deer from his vehicle.

While most people might not have the inclination to violate this particular law, there are ample regulations some might feel more comfortable with fudging on. For every committed outdoorsman who respects the rules, there is someone who is not. This is hardly the first incident like this to make its way through the court system, and for everyone caught, it is easy to imagine 10 who are not.

Regulations on hunting and fishing are established for safety, resource management and fairness. Most serious outdoorsmen understand this and support – and even help enforce – these regulations. Obviously not everyone else takes rules like these as seriously. However, they should, because of the important reasoning behind them and also because clearly if one ends up in court, one can face serious penalities, perhaps harsher than an offended might have imagined.

This is a great sportsmens paradise. Let’s respect the rules to help maintain that paradise and to stay out of court.