When Alaskan Congressmen Attack

Rep. Dan Young (R-Alaska) lost his temper during a debate with Rep. Jim Moran (D-Virginia) over a bill that Moran introduced that would have banned the baiting of bears on federal lands.

Young said to Moran,

I wish I had my native people in here right no. You’d walk out of here with no head on.

Young has a history with Moran — back in 1998 during debate over a bill that woudl have restricted the kinds of trapst that could be used on federal lands, Young made an obscene hand gesture at Moran.

An animal rights activist who posted an account of thi latest exchange to an animal rights mailing list noted,

If an animal rights activist said what Young said, she’d be charged with making a “terrorist threat.”

Of course your average animal rights activist wouldn’t be speaking on the floor of the House as a member of that body where she would have a great deal of legal protection thanks to the Speech & Debate Clause. But the observation is spot on — this sort of behavior would not be tolerated if it came from Ingrid Newkirk, and it shouldn’t be tolerated from Young either.

Moran later withdrew his bill when it became apparent it would not make it out of committee.


Lawmakers tussle over bear baiting. TheDenverChannel.Com, June 13, 2003.

Toward a more polite Don Young. The Juneau Empire, July 22, 1999.

Congressman Pulls Bill Restricting Bear Hunting. Robert B. Bluey, CNSNews, July 11, 2003.

Alaskan congressman envisions Moran ‘with no head on’. Associated Press, June 13, 2003.

Bill to reform baiting laws introduced in the House of Representatives

Rep. Don Young (R-Alaska) introduced
much-needed legislation in the House of Representatives to reform so-called
baiting laws that make it illegal for hunters to Hunt in areas baited
to attract animals. Over 4,200 people have been charged with hunting in
a baited area over the last 5 years; all but 300 of those cases end in
guilty pleas or convictions.

Rep. Young’s bill would not overturn
the baiting prohibition, but instead remove the strict liability requirement
of the law and replace it with a lower liability standard.

The strict liability provision
currently means that in most parts of the country a hunter can be prosecuted
for being in a baited area even if he was completely unaware that the
area was baited. Former Minnesota Vikings coach Bud Grant was charged
in March, for example, for hunting in a baited area in Nebraska on a trip
that had been arranged by that state’s tourism office. Grant claimed he
did not know that there was some corn in a field where the guide took
his party. Under the strict liability requirement such a defense is irrelevant.

Three states — Texas, Louisiana
and Mississippi — already operate under the lower liability standard,
which requires officials to prove that hunters knew they were hunting
in a baited area, after a federal appeals court overturned the strict
liability portion of the anti-baiting law in those states.

The Fish and Wildlife Service,
which is expected to oppose the bill, argues hunters regularly claim they
do not know an area was baited. As Kevin Adams, chief law enforcement
agent for the Fish and Wildlife Service said, “It’s very common for
hunters to say they didn’t know (the bait) was there, when in fact they
either did know or more often than not they took no steps at all to determine
whether it was baited or not.”

This may or may not be true, but
it should be the burden of the state, as in any criminal investigation,
to prove wrongdoing rather than just assume it.


Philip Brasher “Bill Would make it tougher to prosecute ‘baiting’ hunters”
Associated Press April 30, 1998.