Posted by Kerry Grissett on June 28, 2003 at 21:59:28:
I just wanted to stop and say something about the flaming of Troy Jens that has been going on on the BFHP.
Although Troy and I don't agree on everything, I am in total agreement with him concerning the FLW/Martens incident.
One thing I have not seen from Troy is the same concern that the Alabama game warden did not follow the law clearly written in the code of Alabama. I know Troy has the same feelings about poachers as I do, but the problems with the state of Alabama's enforcement of our laws is much larger problem than the lack of ethics in FLW tournament rules, although the FLW is a disgrace to all fishermen, amateur and pro alike when they award $200,000 to a poacher.
However, the FLW doesn't work for us, the citizens of Alabama, to protect our natural resources. And it is becoming apparent that neither do our enforcement officers. That is something I really hate to say because I know several of the local game wardens and like them. However, like or not, friends or not, there is a real problem with Alabama's enforcement of our game and fish laws. The fact that this type of behavior by officers is common place should not be something to praise. It is a disgrace. Not only do we not have enough officers in the field, apparently the "norm" is to look the other way.
Some folks will never be convinced that this debate really does NOT have anything to do with Tim Horton and the fact that he is a local fisherman and would have won 1st place if Martens was DQ'd. Those folks will never get it.
The real issue, above and beyond the FLW tournaments rules, is that the state of Alabama does not enforce the laws that are already on the books and that sets a dangerous precedent. And in this case, the officer involved (note: I have met Chris Champion and like the guy, but he screwed up big time here) even stated to Huntsville Times reporter that there was "no Alabama law" requiring that he confiscate the illegally taken fish.
Not that poachers don't already know that Alabama is wide open for poaching, but now with a poacher recognized as the winner of a nationally sponsored tournament, well... you do the math.
For those of you who missed it in one of my recent posts, here is the link and text of the code of Alabama that deals with illegally taken fish:
Game fish to be transported openly; confiscation, etc., of game fish taken or transported illegally.
All game fish taken in this state must at all times be carried or transported openly, and failure to do
so shall constitute a
misdemeanor punishable by a fine of not less than $10.00 nor more than $25.00. All game fish
carried or transported in an illegal
manner or taken or killed illegally shall be confiscated and disposed of under regulations promulgated
by the Commissioner of
Conservation and Natural Resources.
(Acts 1935, No. 383, p. 813, § 24; Code 1940, T. 8, §64.)
For any Clinton fans, the word "shall", in legal terms, means "must".
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