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Better landowner relations? Yeah, right...

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Liberty Belle

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GF&P hunts for better landowner relations
By Kevin Woster, Journal Staff Writer

The embattled Game, Fish & Parks Department will begin a public campaign to improve relations with farmers and ranchers later this month when it forms a panel to answer complaints and begins publishing a newsletter for landowners.

Agency Secretary John Cooper told the GF&P Commission Friday that the Wildlife Issues Panel would hold its first meeting near the end of the month. GF&P will also soon begin sending out a quarterly "Landowner Matters" newsletter to thousands of South Dakota landowners, Cooper said.
The panel and newsletter are the result of a legislative resolution urging the GF&P to establish a panel to answer grievances against the wildlife agency. The panel will include GF&P commissioners, legislators, rural landowners and urban sportsmen.

"This is the start of something that hopefully will help," Cooper told the commission during a meeting in Custer State Park.

The public relations work comes at a time when landowners angry with GF&P policies claim to have locked hunters out of 4 million acres of private land, most of it west of the Missouri River. Landowner anger centers on GF&P's so-called "open fields" policy, where officers enter private land without permission to check hunters.

During the past two legislative sessions, opponents of that policy have tried unsuccessfully to win legislative approval of bills restricting open fields.

Organizers of the South Dakota lockout say the list of closed land continues to grow, although they are unable to provide a county-by-county list of landowners and the acres they have shut down.

Joe Logue of Oelrichs, a small-scale rancher who has persuaded several dozen landowners with property totaling more than 120,000 acres to join the lockout, said the issues panel and newsletter wouldn't solve the problem.

"I can't speak for everybody, but I fully believe the open-fields policy is going to have to change before the lockout ends," Logue said. "We're going to continue with the lockout, and we'll probably be back to the Legislature with another bill."

Of the 60 people who signed Logue's lockout sheet, about two dozen were urban residents who support private property rights for rural landowners, Logue said.

Gov. Mike Rounds said during a telephone interview Friday that he was optimistic that good things would come from the issues panel and landowners newsletter. And a renewed commitment by Cooper to make GF&P more sensitive to landowners' concerns also should help, he said.

"Naturally, we want to do whatever we can to address any concerns that people might have," he said. "I'm a realist, and I do know that there are some folks on either side who can't change and find little room for negotiation."

Rounds said he wouldn't direct GF&P to change its open-fields policy. The agency simply uses a set of established legal principles to enforce wildlife laws, he said. Those who compare officers entering fields to check hunters with officers entering private homes without a warrant or probable cause don't understand open fields, he said.

"I think a lot of people have expressed it as being similar to being able to walk in your home, and clearly there's a difference between a warden checking somebody who's obviously hunting and one walking into your home," Rounds said. "I think about 90 percent of the people in South Dakota understand that.

"If you eliminated open fields, the guy who has a large parcel of land is free to do what he wants to," he said.

Logue disagrees. Like others in the lockout movement, he believes open fields is a clear violation of private property rights. The lockout won't likely end until those rights are honored, he said.

Rounds has felt the effects of the lockout in his personal hunting. GF&P commissioner Mert Clarkson, a rancher from Harding County, has closed his land to hunting. And Clarkson's wife, Susan, helps coordinate the lockout effort and keeps track of acreage totals.

Rounds and members of his family had hunted big game on Clarkson's land for several years before the lockout. They haven't hunted there since. Clarkson offered to host Rounds last year and show him public land nearby that was open to hunting, Rounds said.

"I told Mert I appreciated it, but I didn't want our presence up there to put pressure on Mert and his family," Rounds said. "And I didn't want to take a chance that my sons or I would get in the wrong area."

Instead, Rounds hunted near Ardmore on land not included in the lockout.
 

Jinglebob

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I think the Democrats ought to spend a lot of money to help Rounds out as he has helped many of us to vote Democrats who never have before.

I'd vote for Hitler over Rounds if that was the only choice! :mad:
 
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Anonymous

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JB: "I'd vote for Hitler over Rounds if that was the only choice!"

If that's truly the case I can only hope that most voters are smarter than you obviously are.



~SH~
 

Liberty Belle

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There will be a radio form on the Open Fields Doctrine over KBHB Radio, 810 on the dial, this Saturday at 11:05. If you have questions about what the open fields doctrine is and the problems landowners have with the way Game Fish and Parks is using the doctrine, tune in tomorrow.

jinglebob - as much as I hate to have to vote for the lesser of two evils, in this case of Hitler vs. Rounds, even I would have to vote for Rounds. That said, I can't remember any Democratic candidate for governor that wouldn't have made a better governor than Rounds and I would gladly have voted for any one of them, knowing what I now know about our governor and his relationship with Sec. Cooper.
 

Jinglebob

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OK Liberty, maybe Adolf was a poor choice of words, but I thought that it made my point about how bad of a choice we made in the last gubenatoril(sp) election.

No, I wouldn't have voted for Hitler, but there has got to be a better choice the next time around. Politics is strange business.

I visited with the Speaker of the House or whatever they call the head guy, at a branding last week(he was doing the casterating) and he said trying to get the legislature to accomplish something was an awful lot like trying to herd cats! :lol:

I guess I shouldn't complain unless I am willing to take the job, but then again, them people took the job and campaigned to get it, so I guess they can take the heat.

Rounds will not get my vote in the next election.

You'd think we all would be smarter than to elect a lawyer to make law. OOOOOO, bet I get a buttchewin' for that one! :lol:
 

Liberty Belle

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"If you eliminated open fields, the guy who has a large parcel of land is free to do what he wants to." – Gov. Rounds

This statement from our governor would be enough to stop me cold in my tracks if I didn’t know anything else about him! What is he trying to say here? That a large landowner can’t be trusted? That the state needs to control both the land and the landowner? What?

I’d expect this sort of utterance from Castro, Stalin or Mao, but not from the governor of a free state in a free country. I subscribe to the theory that “He who governs least, governs best” and I have a respectful suspicion of government that I developed from reading things like the Federalist Papers and the Constitution.

Rounds is not a politician who believes in limited government.
 
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Quote: "If you eliminated open fields, the guy who has a large parcel of land is free to do what he wants to." – Gov. Rounds

LB: " What is he trying to say here? That a large landowner can’t be trusted? That the state needs to control both the land and the landowner? What?"

Well at least you asked before assuming you knew what he meant. I guess that shows some improvement. What he's saying is that owners of large tracts of land can poach wildlife without having to worry about getting caught if CO's are not allowed to check them without probable cause.

Does that mean "ALL" landowners cannot be trusted (which will be the inevitable spin)?

Of course not! It means that "SOME" can't which is evidenced by the numbers of tickets written every year for game violations by landowners.

If there was no concern about wildlife violations on private land, open fields would not be an issue.

If you want to rasp the problem down as fine as you can, the problem is:

Public wildlife on private land!


~SH~
 

Liberty Belle

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SH: "If you want to rasp the problem down as fine as you can, the problem is: Public wildlife on private land!"

So get the public's wildlife off private land and quit violating the landowners' private property rights. Fence Bambi and her relatives on the public's land and our troubles are over! Problem solved for everybody. When can we expect the deer and antelope roundup?
 
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Anonymous

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LB: "So get the public's wildlife off private land and quit violating the landowners' private property rights."

I'm not violating the landowner's private property rights. I have to have releases signed, remember?

Gosh you like to paint your own picture of the world don't you?

If you want the public's wildlife off your land, you'll have to build the fence and run them out.

That would be quite an effort just to stop the remote possibility of a CO from ever coming on to your property which you admittedly have never seen before. Knock yourself out!



~SH~
 

SJ

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Just how high are those landowner violations?

Who is watching the CO who may be hunting illegaly?
 

Liberty Belle

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Regarding the Rapid City Journal's May 7, 2005, article titled: GF&P hunts for better landowner relations

SD's governor courts language deception, making it appear that landowners just don't understand. "If you eliminated open fields, the guy who has a large parcel of land is free to do what he wants to," sez he -- and that's exactly the point. Property owners SHOULD be free to do as they wish with their property, no matter what the size of their property. Who determines what defines a "large parcel of land," and why would the "large" landowners suffer the jaundiced view painted of them by Rounds & Co., which implies that "large" landowners might be doing something criminal and be trying to hide such activity? Using hunting as a ruse to access private property by Game, Fish & Parks -- or ANY such agent -- is trespass, pure and simple. A growing number of hunters are realizing that and respecting the SD Lockout -- in states across the nation. http://www.sdlockout.com explains further why almost four million acres are in the Lockout. Seeking to impinge upon "large" landowners by likening them to criminals is a huge mistake.

Julie Kay Smithson
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