Anglers’ and hunters’ license fees directly support Georgia Department of Natural Resources (DNR) law enforcement. Yet sportsmen where not invited to participate in DNR’s stakeholder process considering a major reorganization of DNR law enforcement. The DNR, DNR Board, Governor’s Office, legislators, law enforcement and the media were all participants in a stakeholder process to determine how anglers’ and hunters’ license fees would be spent.
This reorganization will unequivocally be the single greatest change in how DNR delivers conservation services since the department was created in 1972. A total of eighty six commissioned law enforcement officials will be removed from patrolling trout streams, game areas and lakes. Many DNR wildlife technicians as well as state park supervisors have a dual responsibility that includes law enforcement. They can issue citations and make arrests enforcing Georgia’s conservation laws and keeping the peace. Under the reorganization, they will lose their commissions and have to call for assistance when infractions are observed or reported instead of taking immediate action.
Instead of multiple hearings held throughout the state during non-business hours, DNR is holding a single public hearing on a weekday morning in Atlanta. Most of Georgia’s sportsmen will not have the opportunity to attend this meeting to express their views and concerns. As in the stakeholder process, Georgia’s sportsmen are again being ignored by the public officials paid to serve them!
Take action by sending Gov. Deal and DNR an email insisting that Georgia’s sportsmen should be heard. It is easy to do with a few clicks of your mouse using a Camo Coalition Alert sponsored by the Georgia Wildlife Federation and Georgia Trout Unlimited. Help protect Georgia’s trout streams. Click here.
The hearing is scheduled for 10:00 a.m. on June 4, 2013 in Atlanta at the DNR Boardroom, 2 Martin Luther King Jr. Drive S.E., Suite 1252 East, Atlanta, Georgia 30334. Attend if you are able.
- DNR announcement of proposed rulemaking
- Georgia hunters in fight about game wardens – Macon Telegraph
- Joint GA Wildlife federation/Georgia Trout Unlimited Op-Ed – SavannahNow
- DNR wants to create law enforcement division – Statesboro Herald
- DNR changes proposed – Rockdale News
See you on the stream.
Kevin McGrath is Georgia Trout Unlimited’s Advocacy Chairman.