Outdoors bills in legislative process

Moose hunting, boat noise considered

BISMARCK – A pair of moose hunting bills have been heard by legislators who continue to ponder the fate of both bills.

The House Energy and Natural Resources Committee took no action this week on HB 1246 and HB 1357. Both bills will surface again at later committee hearings until a vote is held to decide if either bill should be sent to the House floor with a “do pass” or “do not pass” recommendation.

The bills are similar in that they each seek to clarify who is eligible to receive a gratis tag for hunting moose. They differ in that HB 1246 includes language as to who is also eligible for hunting antelope and that HB 1357 asks that landowners who are recipients of a gratis moose license should also be allowed to enter the annual lottery for moose licenses. Currently moose licenses are a once-in-a-lifetime draw for state residents.

A bill to allow air guns for hunting all game in the state, HB 1427, has been withdrawn. It was determined that the use of air guns for hunting could be approved by Game and Fish Department proclamation and therefore legislative action was not required. Game and Fish has not yet indicated if hunting with air guns will be included in this year’s hunting proclamation.

Another bill that will see further examination in the House Energy and Natural Resources Committee is HB 1366. No action was taken on the bill during a committee hearing earlier this week. HB 1366 seeks to allow the use of unlimited telescopic sights on crossbows for legally blind and paraplegic hunters. It defines totally blind as a person whose vision does not exceed 20-200 in their better eye.

No action was taken at the committee level this week on HB 1412, a bill that would allow infrared light for predator hunting and allow landowners to hunt “coyote, fox, skunk, mink, raccoon, weasel or other predatory animal” at anytime without a license. SB 2058, which would allow infrared light while hunting fox and coyote but not hunting without a license, already passed a vote on the Senate floor, 44-1, and will be forwarded to the House for its consideration.

A bill that seeks to change key wording in the North Dakota Century Code regarding the Outdoors Heritage Fund remains at the committee level. No action has been taken on SB 2054 that would remove the clause that states “higher priority” be given to those organizations applying for Outdoors Heritage Funds to “enhance conservation practices.”

A bill under scrutiny in the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, SB 2342, seeks to eliminate operation of any boat or watercraft that creates a noise that “annoys, disturbs, injures, or endangers the comfort, repose, health, peace, or safety of a reasonable person hearing the noise.” The bill was heard by committee this week and no action was taken.

Scheduled for a vote on the House floor Monday is a bill seeking to have the state issue lifetime fishing licenses. HB 1331 is copy of a bill introduced in the previous legislative session that failed 12-2 in committee and 22-67 on the House floor. Game and Fish has opposed the bill, citing possible loss of federal funds if approved. The bill carries with it a “do not pass” recommendation from committee.