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Senate approves shielding hunter names from records requests

Senate approves shielding hunter names from records requests

Idaho Freedom Foundation staff
March 25, 2010

The names of hunters could soon be off-limits to people making public records requests to the Idaho Department of Fish and Game (IDFG).  The Idaho Senate approved legislation that would prevent IDFG from releasing the names and business information for people with Idaho hunting, fishing, and trapping tags or licenses.  The legislation came after a website published the names of all the hunters who had reported killing a wolf in the state’s first wolf hunt, and several people on the list were harassed.

“Today, you go on Google and you have their phone number and address pretty quick,” said Sen. Gary Schroeder, R-Moscow.  “As a result, you can harass them quite easily.”  He said the legislation is designed to safeguard hunters from harassment.  “We have a responsibility to protect our citizens when they engage in a legal act and are threatened.”  Hunters and fishermen could still send letters to IDFG saying they would allow their hunting records to be made public, and law enforcement could still access records in certain situations.

During debate, Schroeder referred to a blog set up by one wolf hunter, Robert Millage of Kamiah, to document the positive and negative responses he’s gotten.  Senate President Pro Tem Bob Geddes, R-Soda Springs, said some of the comments were harassing.  “I’m somewhat appalled that people would say some of the things that they said, let alone put them in writing,” he said.  “This is a threat to people in our state that are doing something that is legal.”

Sen. Elliot Werk, D-Boise, was one of three Senators who opposed the plan.  He said it was an overreaction to remove all hunters’ records from the public record due to harassment from some wolf hunters.

The legislation now heads to the governor for his consideration.

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