Originally posted on September 30, 2012.  View the original post here.

A new national election-year poll confirmed what previous surveys have shown: the vast majority of sportsmen of both political parties believe protecting fish and wildlife habitat should be given priority even if it means limiting energy production on those public lands.

The poll conducted by Chesapeake Beach Consulting for the national Wildlife Federation shows threats to America’s conservation heritage are priority issues for sportsmen, on par with gun rights.

Among key findings:

– Given a choice between protecting America’s public lands and prioritizing the production of oil, gas and coal, 49 percent want to protect public lands and just 35 percent chose fossil fuel production.

Conservation is just as important as gun rights, according to nearly half (47 percent) of sportsmen polled. Another 13 percent believe conservation issues are even more important than gun rights.

Supermajorities say Congress should update the 1872 Mining Law to ensure public lands are protected and royalties generated are used to clean up abandoned mines (82 percent favor) and restore Clean Water Act protections to wetlands and waterways, including smaller creeks and streams, to protect our health and important fish and wildlife habitat (79 percent favor).

Two in three sportsmen polled (66 percent) believe we have a moral responsibility to confront global warming to protect our children’s future. Additionally, 69 percent agree the United States should reduce its carbon emissions that contribute to global warming and threaten fish and wildlife habitat.

Sportsmen strongly believe BP should be held accountable and fined the maximum amount allowed for the 2010 Gulf oil disaster (81 percent) and that those funds should be used exclusively to restore the fish and wildlife habitat of the Gulf of Mexico and its fishing and hunting heritage and not for infrastructure projects such as roads, bridges, ports and convention centers (87 percent).

Just a little over the limit

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) Enforcement Division agents cited three men in Lafitte recently for allegedly having 62 red drum – 47 over the limit, some of which were under-sized, agents said.

Cited were Rickie Thomas, 57, of Westwego, Leon Firven, 56, and Willie Langford, 80, both of Avondale, for taking or possessing over the limit of red drum and possessing undersized red drum. Additionally Firven was cited for angling without basic and saltwater licenses.

Taking or possessing over the limit red drum is elevated to a Class Four violation, which carries a penalty of $400 to $950 in fines and up to 120 days in jail or both plus court cost and revocation of fishing licenses. Taking or possessing undersized red drum carries a penalty of $100 to $350 in fines and up to 60 days in jail or both plus court costs. Angling without a basic license and saltwater license both bring penalties of $50 in fines and up to 15 days in jail or both plus court costs.

In addition to the fines, the men will be charged a civil restitution for the value of the illegally taken fish in the amount of $1,315.60.