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Thursday, February 3 2005

Interstate Wildlife Violators Compact is in the Senate

Today, the Kansas Wildlife Federation presented testimony in favor of the Interstate Wildlife Violators Compact. This is a bill that would make it possible for Kansas to deny hunting licenses to out of state hunters who are violators in their own states. It also would make it easier for Kansas to enforce hunting laws for non-residents, because essentially, a violation in one state becomes a violation in all of the member states to the compact.

This is a good bill that will help our state’s conservation officers do their jobs more efficiently and protect our state’s resources.

Click here to read the text of the bill. Please note that this is a large Acrobat Reader document.

To read the testimony of KWF in favor of this bill, click on “more”. To find out how you can help this bill go forward, call the KWF office at 785-232-3238 or email to info@kswildlife.org


Testimony Prepared for the Senate Natural Resources Committee
In Support of SB 59

February 2, 2005

My name is Dan Ward, and I’m the Executive Director of the Kansas Wildlife Federation. KWF is a 54-year old organization dedicated to the wise use, conservation, appreciation, and the restoration of our state’s wildlife and natural environment. We approach this mission primarily from the perspective of hunting and fishing, which are important traditions in Kansas. Over 500,000 hunters and anglers spend close to one billion dollars in the state each year.

Kansas has world-class hunting and fishing opportunities. The wetlands of Quivira and Cheyenne Bottoms are two of North America’s most important waterfowl areas. Kansas is a national destination for turkey and deer hunters, and the success of professional wildlife management by the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks is looked up to across the country as an example of what good management can achieve.

That success has been made possible by the dedication and enthusiasm of the Kansas sportsman. The fees and taxes we pay have created an outdoor world that the rest of America envies and studies.

That very same success has also encouraged an irresponsible element. Our wide-open spaces and small number of conservation officers brings into Kansas an increasing number of people who come because they know that it’s here in Kansas that they can often get away with skirting or totally ignoring wildlife laws.

The Kansas Wildlife Federation has made a commitment to secure our natural heritage from unethical sportsmen and career criminals who have our state in their sites. As part of that commitment, we have, along with Audubon of Kansas, Kansas Bowhunters Alliance, Kansas National Wild Turkey Federation, Kansas Outfitters Association, Kansas State Rifle Association, Kansas Wildlife Federation, and the Kansas Wildlife Officers Association, put together a bill to tighten enforcement of wildlife crimes that is currently in the House.

But that bill only addresses what Kansas can do at the local level. What is important about this compact is that it addresses the truly inter-state nature of wildlife violations.

Essentially, this bill makes a violator in one state to be a violator in all states. In Kansas, many of the violators arrested or ticketed by our conservation officers are from Oklahoma, Colorado, or other members of compact states. Without entry into the compact, their misdeeds won’t follow them back to their homes unless we begin federal prosecution.

Last year, the House rejected the Interstate Wildlife Violators Compact because of concerns that the Compact would take legislative power away from this body. I am told that this year’s legislation was re-written to address this concern. Nothing should stand in the way of your taking action to protect the resource that law-abiding Kansas sportsmen have made one of the envies of the United States.

One of the ways this committee can work to protect the natural resources of our state is by giving our law enforcement the tools it needs to do its job effectively. This bill will aid in setting up efficient interstate cooperation between wildlife agencies. The Kansas Wildlife Federation urges all of you to support this bill.

+ Dan @ 05:41pm

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