An anti-hunting group has filed a law suit in Wisconsin to try and persuade a judge that the states hunter harassment law is unconstitutional. Three people associated with the group Wolf patrol say the statute violates his first amendment rights.
According to Courthouse News, Joseph Brown, Louis Weisberg and Stephanie Losse are challenging Wisconsin Statute § 29.083. The statute was established in 1990, and amended in 2016 to
provide greater protection of hunter privacy on public lands.
Joseph Brown, a documentarian and assistant professor of digital media and performing arts at Marquette University, has been documenting the work of Wolf Patrol, a conservation movement to support the recovery of gray wolves and promote co-existence with wolves and other predators, according to the suit.
Brown wants to continue filming Wolf Patrol’s work and has a continued interest in documenting hunter activity on public land. Wolf Patrol searches for hunters violating hunting laws and documents hunting activity. Now he says he chooses not to because of his fear of civil and criminal liability under the statute.
The new law imposes criminal and civil penalties against anyone found “interfer[ing] or attempt[ing] to interfere with lawful hunting, fishing or trapping,” according to the complaint. The
activists say the law suppresses the speech and expression of ideas of those opposed to hunting.
“Persons approaching a hunter, photographing or videotaping a hunter, or even ‘maintaining a visual or physical proximity’ to a hunter are all subject to criminal prosecution and civil liability. This statute is facially overbroad, vague, and violates the First and Fourteenth Amendments of the U.S. Constitution on its face and as applied to the plaintiffs,” they say in their complaint.
If this law is over turned it could have huge implications on hunters just not in Wisconsin but all over the nation. If anti-hunters are granted the right to film hunters it would open a whole can of
worms. Theoretically, any anti-hunter could legally disrupt hunters as long as they carry a video camera or even a smart phone.
Hopefully the judge has common sense and chooses to protect the rights of hunters to hunt in peace.
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