When Burt Rico was caught using a deer feeder equipped with lights while hunting in Louisiana, he was slapped with a $1,051 fine and sentenced to 60 days in jail. He was cited for hunting without a big-game license, failing to wear hunter orange and hunting deer with an artificial light.When the law defies clear definition and extends in complexity to places no human mind can reasonably comprehend, ignorance of it damned well ought to be an excuse.
Until he was cited, he didn’t know he had done anything wrong, he claims.
Rico’s case isn’t an isolated one. According to a new report by the Texas Public Policy Foundation, thousands of people are being prosecuted for environmental crimes every day they didn’t know were even on the books. They’ve been threatened, fined and thrown in jail. The trend is especially prominent along the Gulf Coast, but is becoming a national issue.
In Texas, there are 11 felonies relating to harvesting oysters that can land a person in prison for a decade. In the Carolinas, government officials have cracked down on fishermen -- both commercial and sport -- and in some cases cut off their ability to make a living.
“There isn’t a day I go out where a rule, law or regulation is not broken,” Capt. Terrell Gould told FoxNews.com.
CWCID: Glenn Reynolds.