What’s your take on these hunting laws?
If you’re an experienced hunter, you’ve been around long enough to know the laws regarding hunting can be dynamic and complex.
Wanton waste, poaching, trespassing, and bag limits are all hot button issues every hunter has to deal with at some point. When that happens, the question arises as the validity and usefulness of current hunting laws. Which ones work? Which ones don’t? Which ones should we have that aren’t in effect?
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Ask five hunters from different states those questions and you’ll get five different answers. Personal experiences and state laws vary so much that it is hard to get a consensus across the board as to where current laws are lacking.
How do you feel about the laws in your state? Do they work or are they less than efficient? Which ones would you change if you could? Or, do you think every law on the book is as good as it can be?
One of the most under-utilized laws in hunting is wanton waste. While some states have strict laws and regulations regarding wasteful treatment of game animals and their carcasses, other states turn a blind eye to the problem.
For some states, as long as the animal is tagged and counted in their yearly statistics, wasteful treatment of game meat is left up to the ethical behavior of hunters. Sadly, hunters are like every other subset – when left to their own devices, some fall short. It is far too common to see wasteful disregard of wild game and the laws for this kind of behavior should be revisited and revised. Using what we kill, in as many ways as possible, is important to the conservation of our heritage.
High Fence Hunting
Another hot issue for ethical hunters is the use of high fence ranches or game preserves as hunting areas. Is it ethical to hunt game in an enclosure (no matter how large)?
Everyone has an opinion and the laws vary from state to state. Places like Texas allow high fence hunting, and often hunting shows on TV are filmed at high fence preserves or ranches without really pointing that out.
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From an ethical and moral standpoint, this is one law that has room to be debated.
Poaching Laws and Penalties
Poachers are everywhere. You won’t find a hunter or Game Warden in any state or county that hasn’t had a run-in with a poacher at one point or another.
There are laws in place to deal with poachers, but are they stiff enough? Is loss of hunting privileges and forfeiture of guns or vehicles enough to deter future poaching activity?
Maybe it is, but then again – maybe not. Once they’ve been caught and released, will a slap on the wrist and a fine be enough to change a poacher’s ways? It’s debatable.
Trespassers are not unlike poachers. They are determined to push their way into situations where they aren’t welcome and take animals they shouldn’t have the privilege to shoot.
How do you stop them? Do you create harsher penalties? Is there a way to penalize trespassers based on the intent behind their crime? Trespassing can be a gray area that catching and prosecuting offenders can be tricky. There is definitely room for improvement when it comes to trespassing laws.
Killing Does and Antler-less Deer
Doe hunts are common in most states, and some states require hunters to take a doe before they can kill a buck. From the standpoint of population control, it is easy to understand why there is a need for some does to be taken.
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However, states like Tennessee take the practice to extremes. Last season, hunters were allowed to take three does every day for the entirety of the season. What is the happy medium?
There are a ton of questions that need to be asked regarding current hunting laws. Some laws work and others fall short. The question remains as to how to address and fix the problem laws – after you define which laws do not work as they should.
There are no easy fixes and no quick solutions. Most of the time it is left up to the individual hunting to be an ethical conservationist and follow the laws of the court and the laws of his or her own morals as well.
If everyone who steps foot into the hunting woods will do that, then ineffective laws won’t matter.
What’s your take? Where do hunting laws perform well, and where do they fall short?