Hunting Legalities

Most hunters are aware from the time they take up this hobby or profession that they must get a license to hunt specific types of animals at specific times of year. The hunting legalities are somewhat overlooked in some cases, with many people thinking that hunting of pest animals such as coyotes is permissible everywhere and that isn’t at all the cast.

In some parts of the country these licenses are limited to a certain number of individuals annually to keep from over-hunting specific creatures. Besides this hunters also know they must have the appropriate license and training for their chosen firearms. These two points are stressed in nearly every ethical hunting group or club.

What some people do not know is that they may unwittingly break other laws that have to do with protected lands and animals. For example, some lands are posted and restricted due to the sensitivity of a plant or animal in that eco-system. If you miss the posting – that’s considered Poaching (the illegal harvesting of animals). This is not the only instance in which a hunter could find himself or herself in legal trouble.

Hunting without a license or using the wrong weapon on a specific animal is also considered poaching. If you ever sell the animal parts for a profit without the appropriate business licensure – yep, that’s poaching too. Additionally, hunting during “off season” or beyond legal hours or using illegal means of capturing the animal are all Poaching offenses. The time frames within which hunting various animals exist to keep from over-harvesting. And, of course animals on the Endangered Species act may not be hunted or gathered in any way. The legal aspects of hunting are one very important part of the overall sport that should always be studied for any area in which you will be hunting to prevent yourself from being party to some illegal act that might cost you your future hunting privileges.

One should know that even gathering found animal parts can be tricky. Consider the eagle as an example. Only Native Americans can legally possess eagle feathers, and they must get a permit and prove their ancestry. The application can take up to three years to process being that there are currently over 4,000 people on the waiting list! So while that feather you found might be pretty, it might also be a very expensive mistake.

Why so much caution? The current estimates on poaching in the US put it at about 10 Billion dollars worth of illegal trafficking. While it’s certainly possible that a hunter might over-extend his or her hunting hours, or accidentally harm something that’s not in season or protected, it’s much simpler and wiser to just learn the rules before you go. Make sure that you know the legalities of hunting in your area.

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