Letter to the Editor:

Dear Editor,

Reading the article in the Rapid City Journal about the Foland/ Game Fish & Parks dispute has just put me over the edge. And so I’m taking advantage of our right to freedom of speech, and appreciate this Letter to the Editor section.

Being a previous resident of Haakon County. I understand the different way of life and mentality that comes with living in a rural setting. I have lived in the “big city” for over 10 years now and feel I have an unique perspective: I know both rural and urban lifestyles. Both have their pros and cons.

What absolutely infuriates me is what seems to be the underlying attitude of that area – that you are above the law. There are two separate acts here: how the kids got the game in the first place and how they transported it. It is clear that they transported the game illegally. They got caught. They got a ticket. End of story. It doesn’t matter who they saw or talked to the night before: whether it be George W. or some Game Fish and Parks guy. They still broke the law the next day.

Let’s compare it to getting stopped for speeding. If I’m speeding and I get pulled over, I will get a ticket or a warning. Ultimately, the officer has the power to decide. If I tell him it was an “ honest mistake” – that I wasn’t paying attention to the posted speed limit and he gives me a ticket, it is still my responsibility. I broke the law. If I knew the speed limit and sped anyway and he gives me a ticket, then yes, it is again my responsibility. Either way, I broke the law. And in either situation, the power remains with the officer/GF&P officer. Which is where it should be. If the kid truly didn’t know how to transport the game – that it was an “honest mistake” – then it is his fault for not knowing the rules and his responsibility for getting the ticket. He still broke the law. End of story. Being young is not an excuse. If you are not equipped with the knowledge of hunting and how to transport the game, then you shouldn’t be doing it in the first place.

“These are young kids. They are our future,” Foland says. Then why doesn’t he take the time to make sure his kid is educated about the rules of hunting? “They made these kids mad,” Foland says. If he knew anything about personal responsibility, he would know that one cannot “make” anyone else feel/do/say anything. Those kids are mad at the GF&P and have “no use for the GF&P anymore.” Are these kids forgetting that they were there with a headless antelope and no tags? The way I see it, they should be mad at themselves for not seeking out and knowing the law and for transporting game illegally. I think the GF&P did their job and am thankful to them for it. They didn’t “make” anybody feel/do/say anything. They just did their job. They would have done the same thing in the Black Hills, or anywhere else in the state.

Young Foland deserves an apology? Who do you think you are? Sounds to me like young Foland needs to write a thank-you note to the GF&P for letting him off with a lesser fine!

Kudos to the Game, Fish & Parks staff!

/s/ Cathy Thrash

Cathy (Schofield) Thrash

Rapid City, SD