Here's what I wrote my House rep (D):
Hi my name is _________, I live in Newton.
I'm writing to ask that you consider voting against HF 666. This bill calls for the natural resource commission to establish a "buffer zone" on public land in Iowa open to hunting where persons are not allowed to hang tree stands (for deer hunting).
Reasons to consider voting against this bill:
1. People hunting the private/public boundary on the private side set their stands right on the boundary ALL THE TIME. The #1 reason for this is deer frequent edge habitat which is commonly created between property lines. If you can't hunt this border on the public side from a tree stand, you may be missing out on 50% or better of the excellent deer hunting locations on a public parcel, even if the area of the "stand-free" buffer zone is just consists of just 5% of the total area of the parcel. Persons hunting private land don't want to share this prime stand location, so they want to legislate away the public land hunter from being able to set his/her stand there. This rule would favor wealthier hunters, who are more likely to own private land and have access to hunt on private land than persons of lower economic means. It also discriminates against persons of color, immigrants, more recent arrivals to IA, and most religious minorities, as all of those demographic groups are more likely to hunt public land than on private land than their counterparts.
2. IA has the lowest percentage of public land of any state in the union. Further restricting tree stand use shrinks the usable portion of our already small public lands in respect to tree stand use.
3. I personally hang tree stands on public land near boundaries with private lands. I do not trespass on private land I don't have permission to be on, I do not shoot animals standing on private land, and I obey all other applicable laws. My stands are usually 10-50 yards off the private land boundary, depending on the topography, vegetation, and deer travel corridors. This is a good distance to bow hunt and intercept deer traversing the boundary on the public side.
4. Persons hunting on the private side of the boundary already have a major advantage, as they can shoot animals on both sides of the boundary. Even more significantly, they get first dibs on hanging their stands along the boundary, as they can hang their stand any day of the year. Stands on the public side cannot be hung until 7 days prior to the opening day of deer season, and have to be removed 7 days after the season is over. In practice, persons hunting the private side of the boundary stake out all the best spots first, and the public land hunter comes later and gets whatever is left over.
Thanks for your time and consideration.