Legislators fear deer bills – no way to win

I couldn’t help but laugh at the reaction of House members when speaker Billy McCoy called up the controversial deer season bill for debate on Thursday.

Even on the Web cast I could clearly hear catcalls, whistles and even feet shuffling.

I could feel the anxiety over the Internet.

Nothing, not even balancing the budget, is more dreaded in the legislature than taking up hunting bills.

Only wildlife committee members ever want to talk about them, and not many want to publicly.

Few legislators understand the complexities of hunting and fishing issues, but they all know how passionate their constituents are about outdoor sports. And they know that no matter which way a vote goes, there are going to be unhappy voters back home.

A former Senator once told me that the hunting public would be scared to learn how few legislators “know squat” about outdoors.

Makes sense, and isn’t meant as a jab at legislators.

In the general public, less than 15 percent hunt and less than 25 percent fish on a regular basis beyond dunking a few crickets or worms with a cane pole in a small pond. I figure the same percentages exist at the Capitol.

Clarion-Ledger
2/7/10