The following is a video transcript.
Deer season is close at hand and hunters can sometimes make mistakes that get them in trouble with the law. Here is an example of what might go wrong. Jim Bob, a hunter new to the sport, buys a .22 Magnum rim-fire rifle, some bullets, and a scope. He knows a friend who allows him to hunt on his deer lease for free. Being new to the sport, he thinks that sometime around November is the start of deer season, so he buys a hunting license and doe/antler-less deer tags, because he doesn’t think he will get a shot at a buck. Not having time to scout the area, he is confident he can get to the deer lease in the dark with his phone GPS. The “new hunter” shopping lists did not include an orange vest or hat.
Jim Bob made three easily avoidable mistakes that are commonly made by new hunters while deer hunting:
- Hunting with a rifle that is not legally used to hunt deer;
- Hunting deer out of season or having the wrong hunting license; and
- Hunting without wearing the required orange color.
An Oklahoma hunting license allows you to hunt during specific times of the year. A hunter cannot hunt deer during squirrel season or at any time outside of the specific dates and times listed.
The methods of taking a deer are also limited by regulation. Only specific deer can to be hunted or taken according to the license held by the hunter. Specifically, a hunter cannot hunt a buck/antlered deer if he only has an antler-less/doe tag. In our scenario, Jim Bob will get in trouble if he hunts outside of deer rifle season. Regular deer rifle season runs from November 23rd, 2019 to December 8th, 2019. Jim Bob cannot hunt deer with his rifle at any other time unless it is a holiday antler-less deer hunted between December 20th, 2019 and December 29th, 2019.
Jim Bob will also get into trouble with his .22 Magnum rim-fire rifle, because it is illegal to hunt deer with a rim-fire rifle. The rifles permitted for deer hunting are limited to center-fire rifles firing at least a 55 grain soft nose or hollow point bullet. Thus, the .22 Magnum rim-fire is illegal for hunting deer.
As a new hunter, Jim Bob probably didn’t know he was required to wear hunter orange during the rifle season. If he hunts without the hunter orange, he will be fined by the game warden. If Jim Bob ends up shooting a buck, he would find himself in trouble and without the proper tag allowing him to legally hunt the buck. If a game warden discovers Jim Bob is in possession of a buck without a buck tag, then Jim Bob would be fined for hunting without a tag. It is always important to have the proper license or tags to hunt. Know the law.
Not knowing the law is not an excuse, it won’t get you out of a fine, and charges can add up very quickly. Not only can you be fined, but you could lose possession of your firearm or your ability to hunt. If you have questions about hunting laws and regulations, please call U.S. LawShield and ask to speak to your Independent Program Attorney.