This topic is on another board and getting some mixed responses so i wanted to post it here and see what people think. The question is what is the legality of hiking through a hunt area that you do not have a tag for to acces a hunt area where you do have a tag. Also if successful transporting that animal back through the hunt area for which you did not have a tag.
I personally think it should not be an issue as long as your weapon on choice is unloaded and stowed. And as long as the warden does not have reason to believe that you pursued game in the area that which you do not have a tag.
I'll be doing just that this October. The 2nd Amendment gives you the right to walk just about anywhere with a loaded weapon and without any hunting license. If you're hiking with it unloaded I doubt you'll have a problem.
In Alaska that is common. For example, on the Dalton Highway north of the Yukon river hunting is closed, except for archery, for five miles on either side of the road. Rifle hunters often make the hike to get beyond the five miles to hunt caribou. (If you want to do it, come prepared because it's way harder than you would think!)
It's no problem carrying a firearm through the closed area, even loaded. The problem comes when guys get tired and are walking by good bulls and are tempted to shoot them before going five miles. As a warden, I checked many of these guys (and gals, Jen) and I always worked hard to verify where they killed the animal. Without trying to hassle the hunters I needed to get a fairly precise location of their killsite. Those that couldn't give me a good location GENERALLY were the guys who did it wrong. They were certainly checked more thoroughly. The other guys were proud of their accomplishment, rightfully.
I always appreciated the guys who provided G.P.S. coordinates and some even had photos. It saved me and them a lot of extra checking. I generally did a killsite verification using a G.P.S. equipped Supercub and a low level look at the gutpile.
A polite and cooperative mannerism on my part and theirs always went a long ways towards assuring a good experience for everyone concerned. Any legal hunter wants the wardens to do their jobs well. Every good warden wants the hunters to be legal.
I can only speak to Alaska, your state laws may be different, so be sure to check first.
Completely legal. Two years ago my brother drew a Wyoming area 20 moose tag. We camped in Idaho on the border and hiked about a mile over to hunt Wyoming. Carried rifle unloaded until we made it to the Wyoming border. We marked kill location with GPS to avoid any question had we been checked.
There was another hunter doing the exact same thing that year next to us and is a common practice to hunt west side of that unit.
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I'll most likely be doing that this fall as well. So good thread and thanks!!
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I have done it several times on some of my archery hunts.......I always let the local game warden know what I'm doing. Never been an issue and 100% legal.
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If you think about it, many of us drive through numerous hunt units with weapons to get to our hunts. As WB said we have a right to carry a loaded firearm whether we have a tag or not.
Back in the 1980's Oregon was ticketing guys for having their rifle during elk season when they did not have an elk tag. They seem to have backed off that position. I have no idea how they got away with issuing citations until a game law was actually violated, like shooting at elk without a license.
I had this discussion with a guy this year. He had found an area to hunt elk that required boating a river, then carrying an unloaded firearm through a federal park area to access his hunt unit. He said the park ranger said that was legal. I would personally want to check that one out before doing it, and a BOHNTR said let the game warden know what I would be doing.
Last edited by Umpqua Hunter; 06-18-2014 at 08:31 AM.
I would definitely check local laws and talk to local authorities.
Probably not the best example, since I live in Illinois, but here it is anyway. If you have a concealed carry permit, you can generally carry in the woods, including when hunting most things, however, the deer and turkey regs say (or are interpreted to say) that you can only possess a legal weapon for the species you are hunting. So if you are bow hunting, you can't carry a firearm period under the fish and game laws (Unconstitutional?? Probably. However, you probably have to go to court to win that argument.). It wouldn't surprise me if other states have quirky laws (hopefully, after concealed carry is on the books here for a while, they'll address such inconsistencies). Better to figure it out in advance than pay a lawyer to figure it out later.
In Oregon you are allowed to "carry," but you are not allowed to "hunt" if certain seasons are in progress. This sets everyone up for a very subjective debate on the definition of "hunt." The definition in the regs says "to take or attempt to take," but then it says something like anyone taking substantial steps toward taking game is considered to be hunting. So if the officer considers hiking with a rifle to be a substantial step, you could potentially be cited. Very poorly defined, but since party hunting is illegal but common in Oregon, they had to have some kind of leverage. I also figure being honest and civil with the officer will go a long ways toward resolving any questions.