Trappers have filed a lawsuit against the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, stating that the department’s restrictions on trapping are unconstitutional. The group behind the lawsuit has distributed a press release detailing the reasons they’re pursuing the case. The full release is below.
FUR TRAPPERS SUE DNR OVER NONRESIDENT TRAPPING BAN
Five fur trappers from other states have recently filed a lawsuit to require the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources to allow them to trap beaver, muskrats and other fur bearers on the same terms and conditions as Minnesota residents.
The Minnesota law prohibits non-Minnesotans from engaging in trapping except on land owned by the trapper.
“We just want to be treated like any other trapper – whether he is from Minnesota or any other state,” said Robert Waddell, a plaintiff in the case. “It isn’t fair that only Minnesota residents should be able to trap.”
“The Minnesota law is doubly unconstitutional,” said Bill Peterson, a Bloomington attorney who has successfully challenged unconstitutional DNR law in the past. “The statute requires nonresidents to trap only on land they own and bars nonresidents who don’t own land from trapping. The law does not have a property ownership requirement for Minnesota trappers.”
The case has been filed in Ramsey County District Court in St. Paul. It is a declaratory judgment lawsuit which means that the trappers are asking the judge to find the law unconstitutional and void.
In addition, there are several Minnesota trappers who are plaintiffs who allege that because of the Minnesota law, they have not been allowed to trap in neighboring states including South Dakota and Iowa.
In the lawsuit, the plaintiffs claim that the Minnesota law is an unlawful restriction of interstate commerce, that the law denies them the privileges and immunities of citizens of the United States and that the law denies them equal protection of the law.
“Our lawsuit does not dispute the right of Minnesota or any other state to reasonably manage their wildlife resources,” says Waddell. “Our argument is that trappers from other states should not be treated differently from Minnesota trappers.”
Attorney Peterson expects a court decision on the constitutional challenge later this year or in 2013.
Donations are accepted. Please send to Bob Moctinski, P.O. Box 536, Winsted, MN 55395. Make checks payable to Peterson Law Office, LLC.