ICA Action Alert The non-resident landowner deer hunting bill (SF219/HF327 – same bill both chambers, both in Natural Resource subcommittees) has taken an interesting turn. NRA now appears to be supporting the bill, with some horse-trading on gun issues the probable reason. The bill is also favored by the DNR Director and is rumored to be supported by the Governor’s Office. This issue is not going to die easily, and it will be important to educate all legislators and members of the key committees about the difficulties with the bill. Even if these bills are not voted out of committees, the issue will resurface later in the session (likely as an amendment to an appropriations bill). Here is a link to the Senate bill Senate File 219 which mirrors HF 327. Hold down on your Control Key and click the link to be taken to the legislation in your browser. In our teleconference of Sunday 2/20/2011, the Conservation Alliance voted overwhelmingly to oppose SF219/HF327. These bills provide a guarantee that Non-Resident Landowners with 80 or more acres may obtain an any-sex deer permit (and an accompanying antlerless tag) upon payment of a higher fee of $1000 (this is more than other NR’s pay--more than double the current NR fee structure). Please provide the following information to your members and ask them to contact their personal state legislators (both House and Senate). Contact information follows at the end of the email. Here’s the impact of SF219 and HF 327 on Iowans, and on non-residents that do not own land -- important points to bring forward when talking with legislators: 1. These bills establish a deer licensing system that discriminates between Non-Resident (NR) landowners and NR deer hunters that do not own land. Preference is given to NR landowners at the expense of others, placing unfair advantage in the hands of one group vying for a limited number of permits. NR landowners are charged more ($1000 vs $420) for guaranteed drawing preference (1 anysex / 1 antlerless permit). This is also unfair to those unable to buy these special privileges. These bills give privileges to Non-Resident landowners that other NR deer hunters are not afforded, and that are not even granted to Iowa residents! Under these bills, a non-resident landowner would be allowed to hunt all of the Iowa deer seasons until their tag is filled. Early muzzleloader, bow, 1st gun season, 2nd gun, late muzzleloader--everything. Even Iowa resident hunters are not allowed these luxuries. 3. These bills do not ask for additional any-sex permits now, however, they guarantee increased future demand. The legislation encourages increased land purchase by Non-Residents (because of the guaranteed license). This exerts pressure for additional permits from other NR’s that lose out to NR landowners. 4. These bills are unconstitutional! The legislation suggests that some of the license money generated will be directed to REAP for land acquisition. Iowa has a constitutional amendment that protects where license dollar are directed (they must go to the Fish & Wildlife Trust Fund) and how those dollars are spent. A misdirection of these funds risks the loss of matching Federal Pittman/Robinson funding. In any case, the funds generated by the bill will purchase very little public land, particularly when compared to the loss of access that is likely on private lands. <LI style="COLOR: black; mso-margin-top-alt: auto; mso-margin-bottom-alt: auto; mso-list: l0 level1 lfo2" class=MsoNormal>SF219 and HF 327 will quickly diminish hunting access for resident Iowans. This legislation guarantees the sale of many 80 acre tracts to non-resident deer hunters. Few Iowans will ever set foot on these areas again. It will also fuel resident purchases of recreational hunting lands. Access is an issue in Iowa! Iowa is not like Wisconsin, Illinois, Minnesota, and Missouri--all of which have national forests and many more public areas. This legislation will result in a net loss of access to private lands for resident Iowa hunters. Legislators should not be tampering with Trust Fund revenue, or with REAP allocations and where those dollars come from. Iowa Legislators and the DNR should be working to create expanded outdoor opportunities for Iowans - not on legislation favoring non-resident landowners. Please have your members contact their Senators (http://www.legis.iowa.gov/Legislators/senate.aspx) or Representatives ( http://www.legis.iowa.gov/Legislators/house.aspx) by typing in their town). Legislators may be contacted by phone or email. However, the best way to contact legislators is in person. Most of them have periodic forums at home in their districts that offer the opportunity for those concerned to visit with them in person. · Contact Legislators through the weekend at home at political forums (listening posts, Eggs and Issues Breakfasts, etc). · Call them at home over the weekend (phone #’s are available for many legislators via the links above). · Call or email early next week when Legislators return to Des Moines and the Legislature is in session (Iowa House 515-281-3221 / Iowa Senate 515-281-3371) Importantly, the members of both the House Natural Resource Committee http://www.legis.iowa.gov/Schedules/committee.aspx?GA=84&CID=28 and the Senate Natural Resources and Environment Committee http://www.legis.iowa.gov/Schedules/committee.aspx?GA=84&CID=10 should also be contacted. Many are freshman legislators, and may not be aware of the importance of the issue to resident Iowa hunters.