The Living (Mountain) Man convicted of eating without a license

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tertelgteAnd you thought the Obamacare individual mandate to buy government-prescribed health insurance was oppression.

Technically, Ernie Wayne Tertelgte of Manhattan, Montana, self-identified as “The Living Man” governed by “natural law”, was convicted by a jury and fined $150 for charges related to fishing without a license. His arrest and first court appearance earlier this month (covered by JoeForAmerica here)  caused an outpouring of support from Americans for a common man frustrated, in his natural right to work and feed himself, by government license requirements.

The defendant, affectionately called the “Mountain Man” by supporters, attempted in vain to represent himself at his trial last Friday and was removed from the courtroom after violating courtroom decorum rules and instructions from the presiding trial judge (video at the end of this column):

Tertelgte, 52, represented himself against misdemeanor charges of obstructing a peace officer and resisting arrest. Before the jury was even selected, Tertelgte objected to the proceedings several times, and he was taken from the courtroom in handcuffs after Judge Wanda Drusch had deputies remove him. Tertelgte then watched the court proceedings from a nearby room via video.

The charges stem from an August 31 incident in which a game warden attempted to cite Tertelgte for fishing without a license. After the warden could not get Tertelgte to identify himself so he could issue a fishing citation, he called in a [City of] Three Forks (Gallatin County, MT) police officer for help. Police informed Tertelgte that he would be arrested for obstructing a peace officer. Tertelgte reportedly went limp and was uncooperative.

In court on Friday, FWP warden Adam Pankratz said Tertelgte refused to give him his name when asked, and told the court that he and the police officer repeatedly tried to stop the situation from escalating, but Tertelgte refused to comply. Tertelgte did not get a chance to cross-examine witnesses.

Clearly, this case cried out for a competent criminal defense attorney so that the very real obstructions to liberty that are state licensing requirements could be fully aired. Of course, we want to protect wildlife, forests, lakes and streams from abuse; but in the Land of the Free where, life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness are paramount, shouldn’t a man’s right to use his physical labor to feed himself trump bureaucratic government-run monitoring of natural man’s pursuit of happiness via life-sustaining food?

Even the law of God in Scripture recognizes the right of the poor to glean excess crops of others for sustenance:

And it came to pass, that he [Jesus]  went through the corn fields on the sabbath day; and his disciples began, as they went, to pluck the ears of corn. And the Pharisees said unto him, Behold, why do they on the sabbath day that which is not lawful? And he said unto them, Have ye never read what David did, when he had need, and was an hungred, he, and they that were with him? How he went into the house of God in the days of Abiathar the high priest, and did eat the shewbread, which is not lawful to eat but for the priests, and gave also to them which were with him? And he said unto them, The sabbath was made for man, and not man for the sabbath:

Therefore the Son of man is Lord also of the sabbath. – Mark 2:23-28

The right to glean and forage was allowed by Jewish law on all days but the Sabbath. But Christ amended that law to allow it seven days a week.

How much more so should man have the right to fish and forage on public lands owned by the state, even if he hasn’t paid the state for a right that is God-given.

Are non-humans the only animals allowed to hunt, fish and forage without a license?

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