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S.F. No. 2758 - Game and Fish (Second Engrossment)
Author: Senator Matt Schmit
Prepared By: Greg Knopff, Senate Analyst (651/296-9399)
Stephanie James, Senate Counsel (651/296-0103)
Date: March 31, 2016


Section 1 [Unmanned aircraft systems] defines “unmanned aircraft systems” and prohibits their use to take, harm, or harass a wild animal.

Section 2 [Duty of peace officers] removes requirements that county attorneys enforce game and fish laws.

Section 3 [Prosecuting authority] provides that the county attorney is the prosecuting authority for game and fish and natural resource management violations such as wetlands and aquatic plant management, water appropriation, and other environment related violations.  The authority would clarify that prosecution includes civil forfeiture actions for associated property, but does not include any new property authorities.

Section 4 [Consistent misdemeanor penalty for game and fish law violations] specifies that it is a misdemeanor to knowingly make a false statement related to an affidavit regarding a requirement under the game and fish laws.

Section 5 [Gross overlimits of wild animals; penalty] requires more than one threatened or endangered wild animal to be taken, possessed, or transported in violation of game and fish laws to elevate the penalty to a gross misdemeanor.

Section 6 [Seizure] lowers the threshold for restitution value of wild animals taken, transported, or possessed that results in seizures of all game and fish licenses, from $5,000 to $1,000.

Section 7 [License revocation after conviction] raises a license prohibition from five years to ten years after a conviction of unlawfully taking wild animals that have a restitution value of $2,000 or more.  Lowers the threshold from $5,000 to between $1,000 and $2,000 for the restitution value of wild animals for an existing five-year license prohibition for a conviction of unlawfully taking wild animals.  This section limits the application of license revocation related to taking endangered or threatened animals to taking more than one animal.

Section 8 [Nonresident under age 16 attending camps; fishing] simplifies the requirement for nonresident youth at a camp to fish without a license.  Current statute requires a document prescribed by the commissioner.  This change will allow persons in charge of the camp to provide the documentation. 

Section 9 [Hunting with bows released by mechanical devices] clarifies using a crossbow is legal for persons age 60 or over.

Section 10 [Crow season] modifies the dates for the season on crows.

Section 11 [Restrictions on certain motorized decoys] removes the restriction on motorized decoys during the first eight days of the duck season.  The restricted use will still apply on Wildlife Management Areas.

Section 12 [Beaver season] allows the commissioner to close the beaver season in southern Minnesota earlier than May 15 in the event of an early thaw.  Beaver pelts taken under these conditions are less marketable due to damaged guard hairs and dull coloration.  In a 2014 survey, 76 percent of southern Minnesota trappers were either supportive or neutral regarding an April 30 beaver season closure.

Section 13 [Placing traps or snares on private land; written permission] requires written permission to place traps or snares on private land of another person, unless the land is subject to an agreement to be open to the public.  

Section 14 [Limits] removes the northern pike size limit prohibiting a person from having more than one northern pike greater than 30 inches.  Under the proposed new regulations, each zone will have size limits customized to meet specific management objectives for that zone.

Section 15 [Rulemaking; northern pike] This provision would allow the commissioner to use the good cause exempt rulemaking procedure to adopt changes to northern pike regulations described in this section.  The new regulations are designed to improve the size structure of pike populations in each zone.  The provision also requires DNR to report to the legislature within ten years the effects of the new regulations and recommendations for keeping or changing the regulations.

Section 16 [Fish hooking mortality report] requires the DNR to report to the Legislature by January 15, 2018, on fish hooking mortality.


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