“Actually, most all of the laws protecting wildlife are currently misdemeanors and SB 52 would make them infraction violations. Infractions are not jailable offenses nor do they carry any criminal penalties. Infractions are the lowest level citations, and there is no court appearance required. If they do not respond to the summons the court can suspend there drivers licenses. Many of the violators we encounter in natural resource law enforcement do not have drivers license and would not be concerned receiving a citation for an infraction.
“They have also added the words ‘Knowingly’ and ‘Intentionally,’ this could be a huge burden of proof that is not required for any other infraction or most misdemeanors. This is also of concern.”
Indiana has come a long way in our state’s natural resource protection. Now we are seeing a reversal of what has been achieved in 100 years of wildlife enforcement. Initially, it was the strict fines and risk of hard jail time persuading poachers of bygone years to respect and comply with the emerging wildlife laws and regulations. Now, by decreasing the severity of punishment for resource laws, we are creating an atmosphere to diminish the law’s respect by violators, and in turn, we will see an increase in violations.
Urban Deer Guide
The impact of white-tailed deer within urban communities is a growing problem nationwide, including several Indiana communities. City leaders soon find managing the problem can become controversial. In order to help local communities better understand deer and available management options, the DNR Division of Fish & Wildlife has put together an online booklet — the Urban Deer Technical Guide.
“The Urban Deer guide was developed to support communities that struggle with urban deer conflicts,” Chad Stewart, DNR’s deer management biologist, said. “Very few topics can be as polarizing as dealing with white-tailed deer in an urban setting. How to resolve these conflicts can cause elected officials many sleepless nights.”