Deer hunters nailed most often for baiting, illegal party hunts, loaded guns during transport

Tony Kennedy, Star Tribune (Minneapolis) on

Published in Outdoors

Those zones surround two CWD-tainted deer farms in Crow Wing and Meeker counties along with territory in and around Fillmore County's CWD management zone where the DNR is trying to contain a CWD outbreak first detected last fall in wild deer.

-- Transporting a loaded firearm

Last year, 131 deer hunters were ticketed and another 38 were warned for carrying a loaded firearm in a motor vehicle, Holt said. The law applies to travel in all modes of motorized transportation, including four-wheelers, snowmobiles, motorcycles, tractors, cars or trucks. When taken in any sort of vehicle, a firearm must be unloaded and should be kept in its case. One exception for not casing your gun applies to hunters if they are going to or coming from that day's hunting grounds. This exception was designed for hunters who travel long distances on foot during deer drives and receive transportation to or from meeting places. Fines for violators range up to $275.

-- Illegal party hunting

Denz said cases of illegal party hunting often include a mixed bag of violations -- including failure to validate a harvested deer with a timely, properly notched tag. Other rules trampled during illegal party-hunting schemes include improper lending or borrowing of deer tags, over-limit of deer, hunting without a license and failure to register a deer within 48 hours of harvest.

Denz said the scams center on stockpiling licenses in the names of people who aren't hunting. A hunter will illegally use the fronted tags before using his or her own tag in order to stay in the field with an unfilled tag. Scofflaws of this sort are found most often in deer permit areas where hunters can harvest only one deer.

Party hunting is OK when one hunter tags a deer shot by a companion, as long as the two actively are hunting together. When someone fails to tag a deer or register one in a timely fashion, it's a red flag of "a bigger picture of illegal party hunting," Denz said.

"Most people are doing it right, but the guys who are doing it wrong, of course, we all want to catch them," he said.

According to DNR statistics, 844 citations and warnings were issued to hunters last year in the oft-related areas of no license, untagged deer, illegal possession of deer, illegal lending and borrowing of licenses, failure to validate a harvested deer with a tag and failure to register a deer within 48 hours of harvest.

Holt of the DNR said the two other most common violations enforced last year by game wardens were private land trespass by hunters and failure to comply with high-visibility clothing requirements. More warnings than citations were given out last year in each of those categories.

This year's Minnesota firearms deer season opens Nov. 4.

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