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graffitigreg

Might Be Cold Next Winter ??

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graffitigreg

Greetings...

Did you all see this article in the Mpls. paper on Wednesday June 5th? I reckon Larsen's attorney doesn't ice fish or he wouldn't be discussing a ban on houses, a ban on doors, or by extension requiring that they be made from see-through material.

We better hope the members of the Supreme Court are ardent ice fisherpersons and find a decision we can live with! Personally I've never had a problem with CO's unannounced visits to my shelter. Those random visits sure beat fishing outside or fishing in a house without doors! (Can you imagine the propane bills or trying to keep your holes ice free?) Come on guys and gals keep it legal and let the CO's in! I'll give up my right to privacy on the ice in exchange for my right to stay warm.

Come on Supreme Court this(IMHO)is what you do: (1.) Let the CO's do their job, (2.)Find Larsen Guilty, and (3.) Disbar Sam McCloud!

Minnesota Supreme Court ponders privacy on ice
Doug Smith
Star Tribune

Published Jun 5, 2002
Do Minnesota anglers have the same right to privacy in ice-fishing houses as they do in their homes? Or can state conservation officers enter shacks without permission to check for fishing violations, as they have for decades?

That's the crux of the issue that was argued Tuesday before the Minnesota Supreme Court.

The court's decision, expected sometime before the state's 125,000 fish houses are pulled onto frozen lakes next winter, will affect hundreds of thousands of anglers and the 150 conservation officers charged with protecting the state's natural resources.

Last winter, for the first time, conservation officers had to seek permission to enter the houses. Many anglers granted permission, but others refused. Officers said it became virtually impossible to enforce fishing laws.

Attorneys representing the state said that if recent lower-court rulings declaring the inspections unconstitutional are upheld, conservation officers might not be able to prevent the state's fisheries from being damaged.

Both sides acknowledge that the case has broad implications and that the Legislature could become involved.

"It's an important issue for the whole state," said Rice County Attorney Paul Beaumaster, who brought the case to the Supreme Court.

The case involves a Rice County angler, Marvin R. Larsen, who was fishing on Circle Lake on Jan. 31, 2001. Conservation officer Scott Fritz of the Department of Natural Resources was conducting a routine check of ice-fishing houses on the lake. He knocked on Larsen's door, identified himself as a conservation officer, then immediately opened the door without waiting for a response -- a common practice.

Larsen was cited for having three lines in the water, one more than the law allows, and for having a small amount of marijuana.

But a district judge dismissed the charges, saying Fritz had violated Larsen's constitutional right to privacy. The state Court of Appeals upheld the ruling. Beaumaster then appealed to the Supreme Court.

He and Assistant County Attorney Nate Reitz told the justices that a state law gives conservation officers the authority to enter and inspect a fish house without obtaining a search warrant, authority they acknowledged that other law enforcement officers don't have.

They also said anglers can't expect the same right to privacy in a fish house as they would in a home because fishing is a highly regulated activity that occurs on public waters.

"Anglers enjoy no right to take our resources on the honor system," Beaumaster and Reitz argued.

But Justice Edward Stringer pointed out another section of the law that says conservation officers have no more power than other peace officers, and he and Justice Paul Anderson questioned why conservation officers have the unique power to inspect ice fishing houses without a warrant.

The Rice County attorneys also pointed out in their brief that the state has been regulating activities in ice-fishing houses for 100 years and that anglers know they can be checked at any time, just as if they were in a fishing boat.

But attorney Sam McCloud, who represents Larsen, said the long-standing practice has always been illegal.

"Because you wrongly took away my rights 50 years ago doesn't mean you can ratify it now," he argued.

He said the state took two laws -- one that says conservation officers can inspect ice-fishing houses and another that requires the houses to be unlocked -- and concluded that officers can enter without a warrant.

"The bottom line is we don't expect people to barge in. Mr. Larsen obviously didn't expect it; he was sitting there with three lines in the water and smoking a marijuana cigarette," McCloud said.

Under questioning from justices, McCloud said the state could ban the use of the houses, prohibit them from having doors or otherwise ensure that conservation officers could observe what was happening inside.

But, under current law, they can't just walk into one of the houses without permission, he said.

"Conservation officers aren't afforded any more rights than other police officers," McCloud said. "The lower courts were right in how they interpreted this."

The Supreme Court generally issues its rulings three to five months after hearing a case.

-- Doug Smith is at dsmith@startribune.com .

[This message has been edited by graffitigreg (edited 06-06-2002).]

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Guest

Good topic Greg,
I would guess, and thats all I can do, but if a CO can Inspect an enclosed boat on the water what would be the difference? After all we don't own the water like its land. Or Even a tent on a public campground, can a gamewarden check our cooler while we are on public property? You hear people say that they have the power to check certain areas of our possesions like our car on the road if its unlocked but not if its locked. So what does the law state about the difference between a locked fishhouse and one that can be readily opened? And who's at fault for not locking their door if they don't want their privacy violated? I would think they should draw a line somewhere, but if we are using the state's goods, the state should have every right to dictate/state/declare how those resoures are handled, at least by popular/educated opinion.

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swamptiger

I suspect the whole issue of the "entering the fishouse without permission" is not really much of an issue at all, unless you are breaking the law to begin with - like the guy with the marajuana cigarette and the three lines in the water...

I also suspect that his attorney was just using this as an issue to get him off the hook for his other offenses - for which he really probably should have been prosecuted...

Just one man's opinion.

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Guest

I have to say I'm quite surprised this hasn't become an issue long before now. Banning fish houses, to me, is out of the question. I really don't understand why it should be such a big deal to allow CO's unrestricted access to the inner workings of a shack because it is placed on PUBLIC waters. Plus, if you're chosen spot to indulge in a little pot-smoking is in frigid temperatures, you may want to have your head examined. I'm not saying that I support giving government agencies more control over what we're doing, but we're the ones who have elected the officials that institute these laws and regulations, and if you're not obeying the laws set forth, then suffering the consequences of these actions is a risk that only you can decide if you're comfortable in dealing with. But what the heck do I know...........?

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Guest

Graffittigreg,

Well put! I don't think there are any "true sportsmen" out there that wouldn't agree with your opinions. It's pretty sad to think that one dumb a** could have this much affect on our sport. It just goes back the old "one person wrecking it for everyone " thing. I also totally agree with swamptiger' opinoin of this guys lawyer. I think it's a perfect example of why our judical system is so screwed up, this should be a no brainer but instead it's that protect the guilty and stick it to the innocent philosophy that we seemed to have adopted.

Thanks for the posting.

gill tee

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Polar Bear

Couple points:

1) There is ablsolutely no way the DNR would accept, or ask for, a ban on fish houses simply because of the revenue that the shelter licenses provide their agency every year.

2) Many of you have expressed support for your local CO stating how helpful and polite they are. Lucky for you. My experience has been different. While I have never knowingly broken a game or fish law, one of my local COs is the most arrogant, rude jerk ever to wear a badge. Because of his behavior in the past I will never allow him in any of my houses as long as I have that option.

3) Finally, I'm always amazed at just how quickly people are to voluntarily give up some of their constitutionally guaranteed rights. You've got to remember, its not whether you or I agree with the law... its how the courts interpret said law.

4) In a nutshell... I will always err on the side of individual liberty and I hope our courts will too. History is full of examples of the state running roughshod on the rights of its citizens in the name of the "greater public good".

Polar Bear

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MrMuskie

MWchiefs, Seems to me you hit the nail right on the head. Great reply!!
Keep your lure wet shocked.gif

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upnorth

The only thing that I can really think of is that if you have a sleeper and you have a guest of the opposite sex in there. I don't think I would appreciate an unanounced barge in by anyone, if you see where this is going. grin.gif

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graffitigreg

(Reply to POLAR BEAR)

1)There is ablsolutely no way the DNR would accept, or ask for, a ban on fish houses simply because of the revenue that the shelter licenses provide their agency every year.

--> Well I think you are probably correct because it will be incredibly unpopular and political suicide. A ban on fish houses won’t happen. But what if they only ban doors, or if they require windows of so many cubits by so many cubits on each side and require houses be lit to so many candlepower. Or a myriad of choices allowing them to view the activities (including the co-ed ones mentioned in an earlier post) in a fish house? Don’t forget when talking about revenue that they’ve closed the deer season – A couple of times!!

2) Many of you have expressed support for your local CO stating how helpful and polite they are. Lucky for you. My experience has been different. While I have never knowingly broken a game or fish law, one of my local COs is the most arrogant, rude jerk ever to wear a badge. Because of his behavior in the past I will never allow him in any of my houses as long as I have that option.

--> I understand. There have been some jerks cross the threshold of my blind, boat, and fish house in the past too. But by and large my experience, and the experiences of countless others has been unabrasive. They are doing their job and it’s not a popularity contest. Most of them given the hostility they experience do a darn good job at public relations. I think a positive image is a goal of the DNR? Report the offending CO to the State if he or she is abrasive and we may all be spared the opportunity to meet them.

3) Finally, I'm always amazed at just how quickly people are to voluntarily give up some of their constitutionally guaranteed rights. You've got to remember, its not whether you or I agree with the law... its how the courts interpret said law.

--> I value my civil liberties as much as the next person. I don’t think the law should be able to enter my home because I own it and the land it sits on. A fish house – on public waters – does not, in my opinion, grant me the same constitutional protection. If someone is breaking the fish and game laws and they get caught it was their choice. It seems there are too many violators – all you have to do is look at the results of roadside checks to confirm this. The DNR needs a way to make sure the majority of people comply with the laws. To do that they are going to have to make some checks, some searches, some busts.

4) In a nutshell... I will always err on the side of individual liberty and I hope our courts will too. History is full of examples of the state running roughshod on the rights of its citizens in the name of the "greater public good".

--> That’s true but the other side of the coin is we have an attorney general interested in repealing some gun laws and interested in returning states rights (not all of his opinions are popular I acknowledge!). We have a Governor interested in many of the same things. The political machine is a slow and plodding machine, it makes mistakes slowly and it makes corrections slowly. There are examples of the state running roughshod, as there are examples of the state respecting the constitutional rights of its people.
I don’t like to fish outdoors in the winter – I want my shelter, my heat, my ice free holes, and my 12 volt lights. I don’t think it’s unreasonable to say that for that privilege, and for other privileges granted me as a sportsman, that I will also agree to unannounced visits from the CO’s. They can check; my lines, my hooks, my catch, the steel in my shotgun shells, the plug in my pump or automatic, my life preservers, the lights on my boat, the ducks in my car, or the deer in my trailer.

I don’t think being unable to drive my ATV at all hours during deer season, or shoot from it during the grouse season, is an inconvenience – I think it adds to the quality of my hunt. I don’t think in the sense that lead is toxic that shooting steel is an infringement on my rights. I don’t think on some lakes restricting the speed of boats – or the hours of their operation - is an unreasonable compromise for the greater good of the majority when the evidence supports it. I don’t think that restrictions on big game calibers keeping people from using their .22 on deer are stomping on my rights. My car will go 100 I don’t think speed limits are wrong (just too low smile.gif ).

There are many examples of restrictions or inconveniences we encounter every day for the greater good of the sport or greater good of the citizens of this fine country. Stop for a minute and read some of the 8000 plus posts in the Red Lake forum - read the ones complaining about trash on the ice, over-limits, perch bashing, theft, and so on. Not everyone out there is nice – we need the CO’s and we need them to be as effective as possible at getting compliance from the majority.

I don't lock my fish house doors and I say, "come on in!"

Just my opinion.

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huskminn

It seems to me that the laws (as usual) have been poorly written. I am surprised that they have not previoulsy been challenged in such a manner.

Granted, this Larsen guy is a moron, but the fact remains that all laws must answer to the Constitution.

Prior to this lawsuit, it was deemed legal for a CO (state law enforcement) to enter an ice house (privately owned place of shelter, licensed by the state) sitting on a frozen lake (state-owned real estate) without permission from the occupant and without a warrant.

If that activity is legal and within the constitutional powers of the state, then the following also would be. A state law enforcement officer would be able to enter your 5th wheel trailer (privately owned place of shelter, licensed by the state) without a warrant if you are parked in a state park campground (state owned real estate). Keep in mind that, under the same laws on the books now for ice houses, you wouldn't be able to lock that trailer as long as you were inside. The parralels are legally similar.....even if you're thinking that fishing is a state regulated activity and that gives the CO the right to come in unannounced, then let's just say that you are drinking a beer in your trailer. The consumption of alcohol is a state regulated activity.

Just because it makes the CO's job more difficult to catch the bad guy, doesn't mean we should so quickly give them the right to infringe upon our constitutional rights.

And, if you are sitting there thinking that only those who are breaking the law have anything to worry about, then you need to think outside the box a little more than that. It is a slippery slope.

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Guest

OK, let's go the next step. Possession limits in Minnesota are generally the same as daily limits. We KNOW anglers abuse that law. Since we know many anglers keep more than a daily limit in possession, let's get their addresses from DNR license data and go search the freezers and refrigerators in their houses.

Afterall, this would only enable COs to do their jobs better.

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graffitigreg

HUSKMINN – As far as I know there is no limit to the number of beers you can legally drink, or a limit on the number you can legally possess, or a limit on the number you can legally have open at once, or regulations on the size of your can cooler or number of bottle openers. Fishing is different. Sure there are some scary scenarios that “almost” mirror the fish house argument but they are different. I believe legally you could stay by yourself and drink alcoholic beverages and as long as; you are 21, don’t bother anyone, drive, or impact anyone else’s quality of life. If you meet the age and other criteria you are permitted to drink yourself to death – if that is your choice. Hell, if search warrants were a dime a dozen we may have been able to stop what happened on 9/11. Fact is they are not – A man’s home is still his castle. Step out of the castle and the rules change.

CLAYTON – They already can and they already do. Fortunately, it’s not something they can do on Thursday afternoons if it’s raining. They operate on tips. If you are a game hog and someone doesn’t like you or doesn’t like “over-harvesting”, you’ll likely be hearing the knock on the door. It’s a pretty lame law in most instances so I reckon it’s selectively enforced to only target serious violations. But… Ten Crappies are ten Crappies. And again… Search Warrants are serious stuff! Law enforcement must have probable cause.

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swamptiger

I have been fishing in fish houses since the late 1950's or early 1960's, and I can recall being checked several times over the years, but I don't ever remember thinking that I had my constitutional rights violated in the process. Why has this become such an issue at this late date - after all this time and water has "run under the bridge" - so to speak?

By the way, I do a lot of my thinking "inside the box", and that box happens to be my fish house... smile.gif

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jigglestick

boy, that graffiti greg is sure a long winded drink of water smile.gif i'm gonna have to get a bigger computer screen!

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huskminn

Graffiti.....

Actually, you kind of proved my point. I'm still confused, though, because you state twice that law enforcement needs probable cause, which is kind of what my arguement is. Law enforcement needs probable cause--and a warrant--before they can enter a 5th wheel trailer to search the occupants and their belongings. Or do they?

Alcohol consumption is regulated by the state, just like angling. Your statements are admittedly based on the assumption that all of this drinking activity is okay as long as one is of legal age.

The state patrol has no idea whether or not you are of legal drinking age and therefore must have an ability to determine, without warrant or probable cause, that you are of legal drinking age. For that reason, they need unfettered access to your trailer--without warrant, or announcement. Does that sound good to you?

The logical elements of the argument are the same. The alcohol thing was uneccesary to include, but I figured that I might add it just for the sake of example.

If you don't like it, just insert any other state regulated activity. The principle is the same. And, after all, it is only the principle that can be addressed in this issue. Otherwise, we would have to write a law for absolutely every individual scenario that could occur in which one could commit a crime.

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Guest

Have you noticed that the only time we see this stuff is when someone has broken the law? He was fishing with three lines!! Once again it's the lawbreakers that are causing us to possibly lose some more of our rights.

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NINETOE

Lets all consider the fact that the 4th amendment is there to protect us from illegal search and seizure. The expectation of privacy and the degree of intrusion are the measurements the courts use to determine weather a search is in violation of the constitution. I have been told this fight was long over do in the courts. I believe that the fact that some people actually live in thier ice houses for periods over the winter is whats granting the new 4th amendment protection , thus, "expectation of privacy". I think it would be "intrusive" for a C.O. to enter a fishhouse and find a person sitting on the portable toilet , or maybe some other nocturnal activities!
Im all for enforcement of laws, however, I believe in the spirit of the law and the spirit of the constitution , which in my oppinion is to limit the power and the role of government. 0.02

------------------
...Hail The Flashlight King....

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graffitigreg

Huskminn - If your point was that law enforcement can do anything they want I don’t see how I helped prove it? Can they enter your 5th wheel without a warrant? I don’t know – Does anyone out there have chapter and verse on this? I’m guessing if they have probable cause they can. The fact is, they are not running around state parks throwing open doors and trampling on our civil rights unless the behavior of the individual or complaints from the neighbors indicate intervention is prudent.

But this thread is ONLY about ice fishing. More specifically it is ONLY about ice fishing in a shelter. It’s not about all the million other scenarios where one could come afoul of the law. It’s about allowing the CO’s (Game Wardens when I was younger too.) to enforce the fishing regulations.

I’m not so sure that a CO should be able to bust a guy for smokin’ a little weed? I think if he sees it and it bothers him/her he or she ought to call a real law enforcement officer (police, sheriff, etc.) and let them make the bust. The CO’s should stick to fish and game violations – perhaps that is the way this will play out in the courts? Perhaps they will let them keep coming in but restrict their citations to fish and game violations? That would make me happy.

But, I do think your fish house is not your castle. If you want to fish in one play by the rules, prepare yourself for unannounced company, and post a guard when you twist one up grin.gif.

Perhaps those who “Hail The Flashlight King” can shed a little light on when a law enforcement officer is permitted - without warrant - in your 5th wheel?

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graffitigreg

NINETOE - You must have ESP! I just posted and when the screen "took me back" your post was up!

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SpikeRoberts

OK, I must have passed through some political wormhole into bizarro-land because I find myself agreeing with Polarbear, Ninetoe, and Huskminn. wink.gif Must be something like the ends are closer to each other than the center??? shocked.gif

Graffiti, I think you've missed huskminn's point on the 5th wheeeler -- he's saying that if COs are granted the power to enter your ice-house w/o permission and w/o probable cause then, by legal analogy, other enforcement officers could very easily be granted the same power to enter your 5th wheeler in the state park (where BTW alcohol possession/consumption is illegal) -- not that they already do. You may protest that this decision is ONLY about ice fishing, but in all reality it is not; in that any legal decision may be used as a legal argument in the future, very few legal decisions remain that narrow in scope. As such, huskminn's point is well taken, even Clayton's point about entry in to your home is precient if you are basing your argument on the ability to enforce fish and game laws.

I agree with almost all of the other restrictions that you listed in your 1:45pm post from 6-10-02 -- I don't find them at all objectionable because they are not Constitutionally guaranteed civil liberties that are necessary for participation in self-government -- the security of one's privacy is necessary for that role, even it is in a fish house. If we start to erode on that right, we could find ourselves in a place that we really aren't very comfortable with. I don't break the laws AND I don't want to be gratuitously intruded upon while I'm not breaking the law.

And, quite the contrary to those that are blaming the "lawbreaker" for causing us to lose our rights, it is the lawbreaker that, in this case and historically, has forced the examination and clarification of the Constitutionality of the laws. You may not always agree with their actions, but lawbreakers have been extremely important in the legal defense of our liberties.

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huskminn

Grafitti...

Let me first say that I really enjoy discourse like this, so sometimes I tend to get carried away with proving points and such.

The point of my original post was to provide an analogy where the same legal principles apply. I felt that you had helped to "prove my point" by bringing up the fact that one has to be of legal drinking age. Your point was that fishing is not like alcohol consumption, but, for the sake of my argument, they are alike in the respect that the state enforces the laws surrounding both activities. Like you, I don't think the state patrol is running around our state parks throwing the doors on 5th wheels open to see what laws are in the process of being broken. However, if the state has a right to throw open the door of your ice house, it only follows that they could do the same on a 5th wheel in the scenario I previously described.

Many times the courts interpret the laws on the books based legal precedence...that is, what has been previously ruled and what has withstood Supreme Court scrutiny. The ice house thing will set legal precedence for all other scenarios that are similar....like my trailer analogy.

Like, Nintoes and others here, I think the courts should be careful about how they rule on this and the legislature should be equally careful in what laws they pass.

I don't know if that helps or hurts the discussion, but.....I'm up to at least a dime's worth now.

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NINETOE

Greg , Always use the expectation of privacy test to answer your questions. A 5th wheel is a mobile abode . It warrants the same protection as your house. An officer may enter your 5th wheel or a private residence with out a warrant under very specific conditions as stated by the courts.

1)Persuit
2)Exigent circumstances
3)Consent

( Sorry the rest of the post got cyber snatched, I cant remember all the lies I wrote smile.gif

[This message has been edited by NINETOE (edited 06-14-2002).]

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halad

Hey Greg just start telling one of your jokes and the CO will leave.

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graffitigreg

So…. (1.) I agree we need to watch that our civil liberties are not eroded. (2.) My jokes are not that bad! (3) I agree that those who live on the edge are most likely to challenge and overturn laws that don’t pass constitutional muster. (4) I thank NINETOE for his learned dissertation. (5) I also enjoy the discourse.

And (6) I don’t think I’m missing the point. According to NINETOE’s post a 5th wheel has constitutional protection and, unless there is cause, it’s treated as if it were your house. Lot’s of things illegal can take place in a 5th wheel; underage drinking, sodomy, consumption of illegal substances, and more (I’m workin’ my way down the list smile.gif). But in the confines of your “abode” the law is shackled with probable cause and unless there is screaming, people passed out on the lawn, or gunshots you’ll likely be unmolested by the law.

I just personally feel that the CO’s, in order to do their job and in order to elicit compliance from the masses, need the advantage. Maybe I just have too much respect for our finned, furred, and feathered friends. I think they need to be protected from the slob. Don’t get me wrong here – I’m not a tree hugger and I love to hunt and fish.

I just think rules are rules and because the CO’s can’t see through walls (like they can through your boat or blind) they need to be able to open your fish house door. I don’t for a moment believe that compromise will result in wholesale degradation of our civil liberties. And, I believe it won’t happen because of the opinions of the people posting to this thread and the countless thousands of others keeping an eye on the Bill Of Rights – We won’t stand still for it!

Who was it that spoke eloquently about ethics in the field and said something about it being each man’s responsibility to behave ethically because there was no one around to observe them? It’s a challenge for some folks to pass up a shot, go home after their limit, or fish with two lines. The fear of being caught, in my opinion, keeps their challenge manageable.

Sorry for another long post.

[This message has been edited by graffitigreg (edited 06-12-2002).]

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Polar Bear

SpikeRoberts, Its not a worm hole, its just the light of reason shining through !!!

(...stick with me kid and I'll have you voting straight ticket Republican by November) wink.gif

Sincerely, your mentor,
Polar Bear

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      Idiots   I am heading up Friday I will be walking out don't have to go far for good fishing this early
    • ZachD
      If I remember right you used to have to get a license a while ago before they changed it to the if you occupied it rule. I don't think 14.33 a year is going to break anyones bank. Hopefully they use the extra money for stocking purposes
    • Fishing Frenzy
      Yeah looks like the 2nd weekend in December if we're lucky before you can ice fish this area. Going to be another late year on the ice.
    • PRO-V
      Next year you will have to buy one for wearing long underwear or pac boots.
    • fish_hunt_guy
      Love the reports Smuts. Looks like another great season. Keep it going!
    • slammer
      It just never ends in this state.  Tax, tax, tax.  Where does this money go?  Whats next?   A tag for your vehicle to drive on the ice?
    • leech~~
      Fun for some folks that went exploring early ice from a few years ago. 
    • tfin
      Hi Cookie,  a buddy and I are going up this weekend.  Will they bite much after dark or is the water too mucky this early.  I appreciate any info.  Thanks