Minnesota appealing N.D. hunting lawsuit dismissal
Dale Wetzel, Associated Press
July 13, 2005 HUNT0713
BISMARCK, N.D. -- Minnesota is appealing a judge's dismissal of a lawsuit against some North Dakota hunting regulations, and Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem hopes a ruling in another case will help sink its chances.
"I hope that Minnesota will look at whether they want to waste any further valuable resources on pursuing an appeal that is doomed,'' Stenehjem said Tuesday.
Last month, U.S. District Judge Daniel Hovland dismissed the lawsuit, which was filed by Attorney General Mike Hatch, Rep. Collin Peterson, D-Minn., and two Minnesotans who are former North Dakota residents, Starkey Grove and Charles Orvik.
Hatch argued that some North Dakota rules, which restrict when and where out-of-state hunters may go after some types of game, are unconstitutional restrictions on business between states.
Hovland concluded that Minnesota hunters come to North Dakota in "pursuit of a purely recreational activity,'' and are not engaged in interstate commerce. Michael Vanselow, a Minnesota deputy attorney general, and Harry Sieben Jr., a lawyer for Peterson, Grove and Orvik, filed the appeal last week.
Separately, the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Monday used a newly approved federal law to dismiss similar claims that Wyoming laws favoring resident hunters were unconstitutional restrictions on cross-border business.
The law, approved by Congress in May, says states may set their own hunting and fishing rules, and that hunting is not interstate commerce.
Leslie Sandberg, a spokeswoman for Hatch, said she did not believe the Monday appeals ruling would affect Minnesota's chances. Hovland, in his decision, did not use the federal law in drawing his own conclusions, she said.
Both North Dakota and Minnesota are part of the 8th Circuit, a separate federal appeals court territory. However, the new ruling could influence the 8th Circuit, Stenehjem believes.
"The 10th Circuit ruling, which is well reasoned, together with the congressional enactment, just make it pointless for Minnesota to proceed any further ... These two things just harpoon (Minnesota's) whole appeal,'' Stenehjem said Tuesday.