Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Know Deer Laws.. and Your Rights

         My weekly newspaper column goes to about 35 newspapers.  Most of them use it as I write it, but a few editors who are great admirers of the Missouri Department of Conservation (and receive direct benefits from them at no charge) will not. Not many, but a few.  The larger the newspaper, the ones owned by big companies far from the reader, the worse it gets.

         One editor even told me that his readers are sick of hearing my occasional criticism of the MDC.  In his town, there are more than 40 residents who have formed a group trying to do something about the corruption of that agency.  My advice to him is to use nothing but material sent by the MDC, as the Gannett newspaper in Springfield does.

         When my column is omitted or heavily edited, you may read it in its entirety here, and it will be the truth.  There is much about this one the MDC doesn’t want you to know, and there are a few editors who have forgotten what journalism is about… the attempt to give a side that is hidden from the people. 

         Read this column, which tells you how to avoid being an innocent victim of an increasingly corrupt state conservation department, and ask yourself why any newspaper would refuse to print this. Why would any paper want their readers to be in the dark about this? 

Larry Dablemont 


Does this deer have the seven points to make him legal in two-thirds of Missouri.  Photo taken at 60 yards and who can tell how many points he has?

Looks like a six pointer but the left antler actually has four points.


This is an eight point buck, therefore legal in all Missouri counties but his antlers are not close to trophy size.  He is also very sick, about to die, from who knows what disease. The MDC was called to examine him but no one came.  


          The lady seemed amused by it all.  “He came to my door several days after I killed a deer with a bow. I called it in the way I am suppose to,” she told me.  “He said he wanted me to show him my bow, and prove I could really shoot it.  Can you imagine that, at the beginning of the deer season and all he’s got to do is come and see if I can shoot my bow?”

         She took her bow and drilled the target behind her home.  She said he walked away disappointed, while not uttering a single word! No one has to show an agent where they hunt or if they can shoot, no one is required by law to go out after they report a legal kill and show an agent where they killed and cleaned their deer, no one is required to open a freezer for an agent or show him antlers unless he has a search warrant.

         As a deer hunter in the upcoming season, you need to know EXACTLY what the law requires you to do, and if a conservation agent comes to your door asking you to leave your home to help him drum up some kind of evidence against you, you can close the door and refuse to leave your home.  I am quick to point out that there are plenty of agents who do their job right and do not abuse their power.  But there are also those agents who violate the constitutional rights of those who hunt and fish, and they are accustomed to getting away with it.  I have talked with older agents who say it is a result of an entirely different way of training than they saw in an earlier day.  Whatever the cause, innocent people are often targeted, mostly because they don’t know their rights or the game and fish laws.

         If any agent threatens to arrest you if you do not consent to letting him search your property or enter your home, he is violating your constitutional rights.  They have done so in many instances and they get away with such a tactic. The two who came into a ladies home a couple of years ago, took her pet raccoon out and killed it, gained entry to her home by threatening to take her to jail if she refused them entry. If it happens to you, close and lock your door and call the highway patrol or the sheriff’s office and tell them what is happening.

         Last year I had two sets of conservation agents come to my place and spend about 3 hours each time, trying to figure out how to arrest me for things I had written.
         I had written about shooting a buck in their “four point” region, where a buck must have four points of one inch or longer in order to be legal.  I truthfully said that when I shot him, I had no idea how many points he had and I didn’t care. I have no interest in “trophies”.  One antler was very deformed and the other had a broken tine, which would have been three or four inches long. 
         You couldn’t possibly see and measure that tine at the 90 or 100 yards distance at which I shot him.  I wrote as much.  That broken tine measured about 15-16ths of an inch measured one way, 17/16ths of an inch measured another way. The two MDC agents called me out on my porch and demanded that I show them the antlers of that deer I had killed ten days before. 
         At that point I could have told them that I had discarded the antlers or I could have told them they were in the shed and they could see them with a search warrant. That would have been the end of it.

         But I told them the truth.  The antlers, an odd set because of the deformed side, had been given to a taxidermist friend in Joplin Missouri.  So at their insistence, two of the agents from the Joplin area went to the taxidermist to photograph the antlers, and spent a couple of more wasted hours. Those agents told the supervisor that the whole thing was a waste of time.

         Know your rights… know the laws.  And don’t knuckle under to a conservation agent that is trying to bully you.  No agent can enter your home, car or outbuildings without a search warrant unless there is knowledge of impending danger to someone inside.

         That comes from Chief of Enforcement for the Missouri Department of Conservation, Larry Yamnitz, who probably has never disciplined or fired an agent for anything.  Three agents in Northwest Missouri illegally searched a barn and home of someone who was not at home at the time, without a search warrant. They were reported and the incident cost the MDC one million dollars in a lawsuit.  NONE OF THE THREE WAS FIRED… ONE WAS PROMOTED!!!

         The upcoming deer season is complicated by one set of rules for one county and a different set for another.  You have to know what all the laws are, so study them.  I have determined that the MDC cannot fine you for calling in the wrong number of points on a set of deer antlers, unless they can see them.

         If you call in a seven-point set of antlers that is actually nine-points or eight, you technically have violated no laws.  Anyone can say they have simply made a mistake. So I have urged the creation of a “seven point club” where all hunters no matter where they live, call in and check all bucks as seven points.  If you do so on a deer which there is any question about, simply get rid of the antlers. I have never intentionally violated any law, especially game laws, but this is akin to some ancestors of ours throwing tea in the Boston Harbor a long time ago.

         Agents very seldom get out in the woods now, especially during deer season.  Two years ago, a young man had to use his kids Christmas money to pay a 200 dollar fine because a pair of agents came to his house at 8 p.m. and demanded he show them where he killed a doe he had legally called in on a landowners permit TWO WEEKS BEFORE.  He complied and was cited for killing the deer within the property of a neighbor, though he vehemently protested he had not.  He was railroaded because he only owned five acres, and didn’t have the money to pay a lawyer.  He broke no laws whatsoever, he simply was targeted.

         He should never have cooperated with those agents because they were violating his constitutional rights, simply drumming up charges they could not prove, without any evidence whatsoever.  Know your rights!!   Know when to say ‘no thank you’ and close your door. 
         And by all means, study the deer hunting rules, as diverse and complicated as they have become.  It is likely they will change often now, as it has recently, due to the progress of the chronic wasting disease.  That awful disease could have been prevented by the Missouri Department of Conservation, whose lax treatment of those trying to make a fortune from penned deer, accounted for the introduction of sick deer, and the spread to wild deer in those areas.  There is no way to know exactly where it exists because all regions of the Ozarks have those shameless “trophy buck growers”, and in many counties, no wild deer have been tested.

         Learn about that disease.  It is known as “mad deer disease” but it is Jacob Cruetzfeldt disease when it spreads to humans.  Deer hunters anywhere from North Missouri to North Arkansas need to know the truth about it, because you have the potential to kill and eat a diseased deer if you are not knowledgeable about those “prions” which cause it and where they are found in the body of a deer. 

         There’s not enough space here to say all I would like to say about this subject.  



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