A Department of Natural Resources guy, who shall remain nameless, finally called me back with an answer about what would happen to someone refusing, repeatedly, to get a license to fish and who was caught multiple times within a couple of months.

Three violations triggers, at the DNR’s discretion, repeat offender designation. This allows them to move the offense from a civil to criminal status. If they bring a case against you and a prosecutor convicts you the judge has discretion to sentence you up to six months in jail, and or, impose up to a $10,000.00 fine.

After a dozen offenses in a month or two I can practically guarantee that they’d make an example of you for every angler far and wide to see. And you’d most certainly have your picture, and an extremely unflattering story, on the front page of multiple weekly newspapers across the northwoods of Wisconsin.

And everyone who read the story would shake their head sadly and assume you were either a rogue tourist or maybe just plain crazy. Why?

Because everyone up here knows you need a license to fish.

 

 

 

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13 Responses to A License to Fish Redux

  1. Paul says:

    I am not really sure how it relates to anything with the Solidarity Singers. I haven’t seen anything enumerated in the Bill of Rights about the “Right to Fish”. It has been awhile since Con Law though so I may be wrong…

    I understand you didn’t start this metaphor, but can’t you be intellectually honest enough to critique it as a bad metaphor rather than trying to run with it when it obviously is not a comparable situation?

  2. Paul,

    I think that’s the nicest thing you’ve ever said to me, and I appreciate it.

  3. RRRRRRRR says:

    You present a false equivalency! Please cite the sections of the U.S. and Wisconsin Constitutions that protect the right to fish? The right to assemble and free speech are protected by very strong and clear language in the Wisconsin Constitution: “The right of the people peaceably to assemble, to consult for the common good, and to petition the government, or any department thereof, shall never be abridged.’ and “…no laws shall be passed to restrain or abridge the liberty of speech or of the press…”

    When the right to fish is protected by words like “NEVER abridged” THEN your example will make sense.

    • Article 1, Section 26 of the Wisconsin Constitution.

      You’re welcome.

      • RRRRRRRR says:

        Like I said…false equivalency; and now, misleading and disingenuous too!

        I capped the part that makes the right to fish very different from the right of assembly and free speech…just in case you missed it: “The people have the right to fish, hunt, trap, and take game subject only to reasonable RESTRICTIONS AS PRESCRIBED BY LAW.” “NEVER ABRIDGED” and “NO LAW” is very different from “subject only to reasonable restrictions as prescribed by law.”

        You’re welcome!

        • Many R’s,

          This was not my comparison. Lisa Subeck wrote a piece for the Cap Times asking us to imagine the outrage if the news featured a man and his son being arrested for fishing without a license. Turns out multiple violations of fishing without a license can get you arrested, heavily fined and even jailed, and no one would be outraged. That’s what this post, and a previous post of close to the same title, was all about.

        • Your words: “Please cite the sections of the U.S. and Wisconsin Constitutions that protect the right to fish?” The right to fish is very definitely protected in the Wisconsin Constitution, and as I noted in another comment, the right to free speech is not absolute.

          Having said that, I believe the folks in the Capitol are well within their rights, because I don’t see how any reasonable person could think what the participants in the Solidarity Sing Along are doing is illegal.

    • Actually RRRRRRR, courts have long held that there are reasonable limits to what constitutes protected speech. For instance, yelling, “FIRE!” in a crowded theater is NOT protected free speech. Slander and libel? Neither are protected free speech, just as “fighting words” aren’t protected.

      If you’re interested, here’s a great resource from the folks at the Freedom Forum on what the limits are to free speech.

      • Paul says:

        The issue is there needs to be a compelling public interest to legitimately limit free speech and assembly. In the case of the Solidarity Singers I do not see a compelling public interest and I haven’t heard anyone make such an argument. The arguments I hear are focused on the fact that they are annoying and musically less than gifted or based in absolute falsehoods from the right. Others want to limit them because their tactics are considered ineffective or distracting from the greater narrative. Finding them annoying or ineffective is not a compelling public interest.

        • I’m not saying I think there’s a compelling public interest to chill the free speech going on at the Capitol; I simply wanted to make the point that there are limits to what constitutes protected free speech.

      • gnarlytrombone says:

        “yelling, ‘FIRE!’ in a crowded theater is NOT protected free speech.”

        Yes it is, actually. The actual line by Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes is “The most stringent protection of free speech would not protect a man falsely shouting fire in a theater and causing a panic.” But that wasn’t what the court was ruling on. Holmes used it as a metaphor for speaking out against the draft during World War I, a ruling that was overturned in Brandenburg v. Ohio.

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