Current state representative and former DNR officer Tony Cornish might think about having a talk with North Star Tea Party Patriots founder, Republican Liberty Caucus-MN director and current regional chair of the Republican Party of Wright County Walter Hudson, who suggests in his podcast today that public hunting lands should be sold to private owners, while hunting and fishing licenses and game laws should be eliminated.
Hudson believes that the elimination of hunting and fishing licenses, seasons and other regulations would not lead to the endangerment of species because private landowners and hunters would prize the resources and manage them in a responsible manner, just as livestock producers make sure supermarkets are stocked with abundant turkey, beef, chicken and pork.
Because hunting and gathering is so like agriculture. Or something.
Montana esquire as poster child against fishing laws
Hudson's recommendations were spawned by a post on Ben Swann, Hunger Games in Montana: Man Forces Judge to Leave Bench Citing Natural Law, the tale of Ernie Terteltge, a self-proclaimed "English esquire" who was caught fishing without a license and resisted arrest, the blog's own source notes.
The story from Swann's source, Live Leaks' Mountain Man Arrested for Trying to Feed Himself, owns judge, supplies more details about two court appearances:
. . .Terteltge argued that the court did not have the authority to charge him, citing "natural law."
He told the judge, "You are trying to create a fictitious, fraudulent action." He continued, "I am the living man, protected by natural law."
He then yelled, "Do not tell me to shut up! I am the living, natural man, and my voice will be heard!"
Terteltge then pointed at the flag and said, "That is the Jolly Roger, that thing you call the American flag with the golf fringe around it is the Jolly Roger, and you are acting as one of its privateers!"
When the judge noted that he had pleaded not guilty, Terteltge countered, "I never plead, animals plead, sounds like baaaa, oink oink." The back and forth exchange continued for a few more moments, and the hearing ended after both the judge and the defendant walked out.
This time, extra law enforcement officers were in court Tuesday and the proceedings happened without any outbursts. . . .
Justice Adams set Tertelgte's bond at $500 and his next court hearing is scheduled for January.
Certainly not a man who pledges allegiance to the flag of the United States of America (or who believes in voter registration, as he mentions in the video). A local television station has more on the nature of the charges in Manhattan man removed from court during proceedings:
The charges stem from an August 31st incident in which a game warden attempted to cite Tertelgte for fishing without a license.
After the warden could not get Tertelgte to identify himself so he could issue a fishing citation, he called in a Three Forks police officer for help.
A prosecutor says that police informed Tertelgte that he would be arrested for obstructing a peace officer. Tertelgte reportedly went limp and was uncooperative.
So that's the instance for Hudson's reflections on fish and game laws. His conclusion--that all government regulation of hunting, fishing and taking of animals should end and public hunting lands be sold--is based on the market as well as "natural law," which Tertelgte embraces.
Hudson's sovereign citizens
Hudson states in the podcast:
Now, before I get into the text of this article [the Ben Swann piece], and the story that it's referencing, let me just preface by saying this: there are many, many people among us who maybe inclined to give thanks to the State, since the State protects us from oh so many things, especially ourselves.
One of the ways the State protects us from ourselves is forcing us to comply with restrictions on hunting and fishing, because if it wasn't for the fact that the state was out there telling us that we could only shoot from this time of the year to that time of the year, or that we could only fish this much at any time at any given place, why if it wasn't for that, unquestionably, and within a matter of months, if not days, we would completely deplete the planet of all its fauna. [Laughs] Right? Of all deer and fish and elk and moose and caribou and whatever else people might hunt.
This is a commonly held belief. The vast majority of people believe that the bounty of the wilderness in the form of quarry, deer, rabbits, whatever it is that people chose to hunt, fish, that that bounty is hanging by a thread and protected by the magnanimous State, which if it weren't for that, if the State wasn't there, standing as a barrier between ravenous hordes of unconscionable human beings, then there wouldn't be any deer in existence or fish to harvest from our waters.
Hudson then reads from the Ben Swann article, noting that when he shared the article on Facebook, many of those commenting suggested that the Montana man was "nuts." Hudson posted this head note:
Here's an example of one of those dangerous sovereign citizens, the type Hennipen County Sheriff Richard Stanek calls "the biggest concern facing us today in terms of a threat" - a guy fishing to eat. (Source: http://www.kaaltv.com/article/stories/s3206250.shtml)
To be fair to the Hennepin County sheriff, Stanek wasn't talking "guys fishing to eat," but "sovereign citizens" who are becoming violent or filing billions of dollars in liens against the property of public officials.
There's quite a lively discussion that goes on, with some leading lights in Minnesota's conservative movement weighing in with comments like this:
Craig Westover All movements start with the "nuts" and the people who have nothing to lose. It is history that mythologize a movement's early days and makes those "nuts" and "losers" become martyrs and heroes. Whether you're talking the American Revolution, gay rights, the Ron Paul "liberty movement" or even Christianity, lasting movements do not jump fully formed from the heads of "mainstream" culture. The caveat -- not every voice crying in the wilderness is a prophet.
That should help Westover's boss, Jeff Johnson, with the sovereign citizen movement (if only they believed in voting) although it might not help so much with working class hunters who don't own their own hunting property.
Go read the discussion. It's eye-openings. Hudson continues in the podcast:
. . .I don't think people are saying he's nuts because they have a better idea than I do whether or not he is. I think the reason that they're saying he's nuts is because he's expressing something which goes against the conventional wisdom.
The conventional wisdom is--well let me sum it up for you by quoting one of the commenters there at Ben Swann.com. Quote: "If we all tried to rely on food by foraging for food in the wild, most of us would die, because in most places there is not enough food in the wild to support so many of us. ven in Alaska, where may people rely heavily --some exclusively--on hunting for their food. Many species would be threatened if hunting seasons and limits were not imposed and obeyed." Unquote.
So let's dissect this a little bit, shall we? Let's think about it. First of all, let's take a look at one of the areas in life, in the economy, where despite the fact that there certainly is regulation, we do not yet have the kind of rationing that is imposed upon hunting and fishing. Namely, food production as a whole..
He next talks about how farmers produce more than enough food for everyone, prompting an obesity epidemic. Farming is a rational activity that allows us to feed ourselves through use of a market. Hudson believes that starvation is only ever caused by government, since "we're hardwired to eat."
So God forbid that we lifted hunting seasons, we lifted fishing restrictions, and people were just free to forage as they pleased, to fish as they pleased and there was nothing legally from stopping them from doing so. What would be the result?
You might be inclined think that people might just hunt willy-nilly until there was nothing left. They'd fish until there were no fish, they'd shoot deer until there were no deer. But is that what would really happen?
In truth, and this is something that we have to speak about hypothetically, because we have not seen a free market anywhere ever, it has never existed, in truth, property rights and the profit motive and natural human incentive to continue eating, to maintain sustainable resources in order to keep alive, to apply rational foresight to your actions, those things would interact just as they do in the larger food production market to ensure abundance. Abundance.
Because much of the land --there is really very little "wild" quote-unquote that exists in the modern age. Every piece of land for the most part isw owned by someone. A lot of it--a huge chunk of it--much of the land where people do hunt and fish--is owned by government . . .
Hudson repeats the old conservative "tragedy of the commons"-- that land own by eveybody isn't cared for--"nobody conserves it." Might work for English sheep pastures, but hunting lands partnered with Pheasants Forever? Really?
Hudson continues on about how private land owners who value hunting will preserve their land. The market will take care of it. Listen to the rest.
Aside from making a dude who calls the American flag "The Jolly Roger," Hudson's movement simply ignores history. In Minnesota, game seasons and licenses came into being in part because wildlife became more scarce. And as for letting market forces rule, Hudson needs a crash course on the reasons sport hunters and other demanded that the market for bird feathers in the millinery trade. What he's suggesting would nullify the Lacey Act of 1900 and the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918, both which were a reaction to the very real consequences of market forces on wildlife.
A look at Minnesota's deer hunting history is provided by Ron Hustvedt's 150 Years of Minnesota Deer Hunting, that illustrates that at one time, the herd was indeed "overshot." The Minnesota Conservation Officers Association (Cornish lobbied for this at one time) has put together a timeline of game laws and enforcement.
Eliminating public hunting lands would only push the costs of the sport higher, a common complaint of those who hunt but do not own their own acres. Perhaps Hudson imagines that hunting preserve-raised game is enough, or that wild game obeys property lines.
There are plenty of other sources that discuss the consequences of open hunting (all Minnesota waters over 10 acres are public property) but a 1935 article from Minnesota History provides a pretty good view of what a seasonless hunt would look like. Market forces--as in meat market hunting and the feather trade--were not very good at conservation.
As far as humans never hunting species to extinction, perhaps the state's passenger pigeons bear witness to that clever notion on Hudson's part. Since they're not able to speak up, perhaps Tony Cornish can help Walter out with this.
Photos: Passenger pigeon hunting (above); There was a market for birds of this feather (bottom).
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