Contributors to this thread:
After reading the "scenario" thread, I'm wondering how many of us have been involved with similar situations?
Several years ago 2 of our group were at camp mid-day when a father and son came driving up and were all excited. This was their first time elk hunting and his son shot a bull. *the son appeared to be about 14 years old*.
The guys could see a tine sticking up or of the truck bed - so of course they had to have a look. When they told them that the spike they shot was illegal, and this was a 4 point, or 5 inch brow tine, or antlerless area, both the father and son went white. The father even got physically sick. They promptly left.
We were an hour and a half from town and no cell service. The 4 of us talked about it that evening and although we agreed there was no excuse for the father NOT to know the laws, decided not to do anything and hoped the father would "do right" by his young son.
made a similar decision on my own property when I caught an old man and his grandson dragging a deer out of the woods. the young man got a pat on the back and a congratulations on his first deer. The grandfather and I stepped out of earshot of the boy, and he got an earful about trespassing and a free pass due to the fact it was the kids first deer. He left there with a clear idea what would happen next time I caught him on my land. Then once again congrats to the young hunter trying to make his experience as good as possible, so he will continue to hunt.
To me if it is obvious they new they were breaking the law I would turn them in. If I felt it was an honest mistake they would get a pass. Shawn
Anyone can make a mistake! Be careful out there gents!
I would tell them what they need to do and hope they do it.
Call the GW and let them do some explaining. We all need to follow the law , not just the older folks. Knowing the game laws and the restrictions on an area are all part of being a legal and ethical hunter. The kid would not have been blamed, the adult would and sounds like he needed a talk from the GW. Mistakes do happen, this was not one. If it was a mistaken shot then the GW would have recourse for them.
That's a tough one. But reality is, the game wardens cannot be everywhere all the time. And I personally believe it's our obligation as ethical hunters to provide tips to 'check on'. If it turned out to be a mistake, than its just that. If it turns out it was done with purpose then that's another story. I guess I look at it from the eyes of a father, I would want my child to see me do the right thing and be held accountable rather than send the message that it's ok to break the law as long as it was a 'mistake'. The other side to this is I don't want to do anything that jeopardizes our rights as hunters and if it was ever discovered that game was being taken illegally, it would be more ammunition for anti hunting groups.
Why does everyone think they need to be a LEO....I didn`t realize we have some many in the ranks with this attitude towards other hunters....shameful.
I think you did exactly as I would do....it would be up to the father to be the adult and do the right thing. A excellant opprotunity to show his son a valuable life lesson that he could use for the rest of his life.
Franklin, I agree with you. But I also think that being ethical is just focused on your behavior. But if you as a citizen see someone do something that is illegal do you just let it go? This could be applied to any crime. But let's keep it hunter focused. Would you call on a poacher? If you ran into another 'hunter' in the woods and he didn't have a valid license for the unit he was hunting, would you be ok with that? Its not about being a snitch but doing our best as hunters to protect what we value so much.
Shawn answered it pretty well for me
Think I am going to start calling in everyone that passes me going over the speed limit. I have turned in a couple people to a game warden. Both were blatantly breaking the law and did not care. Short of that I tend to mind by own business.
To me I don't think it was a mistake. Most intelligent hunters would read the regulations and know the laws before going out to hunt a area not known to them. The father failed terrible in teaching his son ethics.
Whether willful or not, ignorance is not a great excuse, and 14-year-old is plenty old enough to read the regulations and understand ethics. The antler point restrictions are spelled out very clearly on the first page of the elk regs. I don't think making a 3-hour round trip drive just to make a phone call was needed, from the sounds of it they recognized a screwup occurred. Hopefully the father took the opportunity to make the correct decision to teach his son how to be an ethical hunter and turned in the elk...
I don`t think any good can come from saddling a 14 year old with a severe game law infraction. Especially if they appear to have made a mistake. I take no pleasure in others misfortunes.
If I was aware of a vast criminal enterprise....maybe, but this certainly doesn`t rise to that level. If I didn`t witness it and didn`t have a feel for what was in their hearts I would error on the side of caution. If anything I would pow wow with the father and figure a way to get junior out of trouble. That`s just me though....not saying anyone else should.
From what you’re saying it sounded like an honest mistake. Hope the father and son learned a lesson and enjoyed the meat. I would of done what you did Bob
I would have to be there to make the call on whether to turn them in.
I actually have never called LE to report a crime in my life that I recall.
Maybe would, maybe not. Likely not as the kid is not in a position to be 100% responsible when an adult is also on the hunt. Likely not as the adult threw up as processed the situation. Change the scenario to two adults and they show no remorse then I am prone to make the call as I would if the guy was slurring his words while behind the wheel of his vehicle. I am not my brother's keeper but I dang sure care about wildlife poaching and safety on the roadway.
Back here in NY, a person must complete hunter safety training for firearms and archery if you want a bow stamp. In the course, we touch on hunting regs, including legal harvest restrictions with the advice that we aren't enforcement officers, so everyone should read the regulations front to back. While there there should be no excuse for not recognizing legal game, it appears from the fact they approached another group, I'd have to agree they failed to be familiar with the regs. I guess the right thing to do in that case would be a judgement call.
This is a tough one. I exercise discretion all the time when deciding whether to issue a citation and fine vs. a discussion and warning, especially when kids-parents are involved and they are sincere. Most LEOs are the same way unless public safety is involved.
If they turned themselves in, likely the elk would be confiscated and a warning issued. I've seen that exact thing happen here in CO with a spike. However, if they didn't and you guys took a cell phone photo of the vehicle and plate and reported it, somebody would've been in big trouble. If they took it across the state line it's a Lacey Act violation, a pretty big deal. I was directly involved with one of those once with a spike, the guys got caught back home in Utah, one of them turned, and the guy who shot it got in real big trouble.
Interesting responses here. We don't know which state the violation occurred, but most states require youth hunters to take hunter education. Or hunt with a responsible adult. Or both.
If it was a violation, I can't come up with any other circumstance than, 1) they didn't check the regulations, or 2) they did check and didn't understand the regs, forgot them, or choose to ignore them.
Which of the above do you want to minimize and condone by giving them a pass?
If every citizen was as concerned and involved as if they were a LEO, it would certainly be a major deterrent to violations.
I probably would have done the same, because I would be remembering a young man who shot a spike right at dark with a shotgun slug only to find no antlers at all when he walked up to the deer. The spike had walked out of the brush minutes earlier, walked back in then came back out, only he didn't, his sister did. Crap happens.....
Up here, you turn someone into the warden and people find out, you might as well move. We are a small village and if the meat is needed and used, people shut up. Before moose permits were allowed and there were so many around that driving was extremely dangerous, everyone ate moose. As far as trespassing, all land up here is open because we have current use. We get a 90% tax break for letting others on our land. If you do shoot a deer and it goes on posted land, the landowner has no right to that deer. If he won’t let you retrieve it, the warden will get it for you. If the landowner has tagged or moved that deer he is charged and loses his license for 1-3 years because he didn’t shoot it. As a landowner, I can’t own deer on my property, they are a public resource. If you post your land as no hunting, you can’t hunt it either. Finally, if land is posted “ no trespassing for any reason,” you as the landowner can hunt it alone, but we as a volunteer fire dept will not risk arrest. We are what a lot of your states were 50 years ago before an urban mentality took over. Up here we support one another and depend on our neighbors. You get sick here and everyone brings you casseroles and goodies. My neighbor dropped off muffins an hour ago because I shoveled her out. Newfoundland is just like here with their attitudes. That is why I spend so much time up there. Different culture up here, thankfully. I guess it’s what you grew up with.
I am an LEO and can tell you any decent officer will use discretion and have the ability to understand the nature of the infraction and the intent. The ones that don't get the most complaints filed against them, and oddly enough, are usually the ones I enjoy working with the least.
Franklin What was wrong in the scenario thread with letting them know that they were in the wrong unit???? I could have walked up to the officer and ratted them out but I opted not to. Sincerely the real Leo
First off -
Big Ozzie for President!
I hope that father took the opportunity to teach his son an important lesson; chances are that he did, given the puking incident. Hope so, and I won’t go elsewhere with that.
This is one area where I have to respectfully disagree with Lawdy; not because I think I’ll change his mind, but simply because I’m prepared to allow him to exercise his own discretion. I want Lou to have that option, so Lawdy gets it, too.
But Personally, I hold to the idea that Wildlife is a Common Interest.
I don’t subscribe to the idea that people have an excuse for breaking the law just because cash is tight or whatever. There are both formal and informal support services for that; just about everybody who works for a living pays in, and when they need to pull something back out, well, that’s what it’s there for.
In principle, there’s no difference between poaching a deer and ripping off a TV from a store because hey, the store has insurance, so it’s not really hurting anyone (Change TV to food if it makes it easier for you). Or maybe you’d agree with the example of cutting a Christmas tree in a city park?
And if Principle doesn’t matter to you, then you don’t know what’s important.
GF, people up here, the old locals, would rather die than seek government help. Poaching is not rampant among locals because most of our families are gone to seek employment other than working in the woods. Plus, we don’t have many deer to poach. Our school only has 16 kids in it. With an average age of 55 and the feds grabbing land, we are fighting to survive. The town just across the Maine border just voted to give up their town charter. They are down to 13 residents. The village next to us is down to 12. The poachers we have now are from away, mostly illegal baiting, a pile of grain behind their camp and an open back window. Within 50 years, Northern Maine, NH, Vermont, and NY will be heavily federalized in order to create a national park. Our county is slated for total resettlement. Hunting won’t be an issue as it is banned in national parks. When the electric grid goes down due to terrorism, experts predict total chaos as supply chains get disrupted. Watch the poaching then.
I would have done the same as you Inshart.
Interesting...... in a great many states, or even areas within states, a spike elk is legal game. Unethical? For what? Shooting the spike or not ratting someone out for a mistake?
IMO..... shooting the spike was not "unethical" because there is nothing unethical about shooting spikes per se...... It was technically a violation because the hunters didn't read up on all the specific regs in the book. I know several folks like that, they assume all the basic hunting rules are pretty much the same everywhere and don't realize there are more rules than the basic ones in some places. They likely had licenses, tags, etc. and felt they were following all the laws. They didn't know all the regs..... yes it was their responsibility to know them, but they messed up. Made a mistake. IMO there is a big difference between an honest mistake and a criminal knowingly breaking the law.
I think the OP handled it as I would have. Mention to them that in that area it was a violation. Up to them from there to do what they will, or if they get caught. I really wouldn't have much issue if they just butchered it an made good use of it, the elk is dead. Be more aware next time or you might be in trouble.
I poached once in my life. My wife and I had two kids with another on the way. I was a teacher in our village with a yearly contract of $4500/year. I was paid monthly and we only had $15 for food that week. I swallowed my pride and went to see about food stamps to get us through the month. The lady looked at my income and said we qualified for full payment. She then asked if I owned a home. I said yes and we had a hunting camp we had bought several years back worth $1500. She informed me that we were not eligible unless we sold either our house or the camp. I got back to the car and told my wife to buy the bare essentials and I went into the woods and shot a deer. I never told anyone, but somehow the warden found out. I got a knock on the door and he had a huge buck in the back of his pickup that was hit by a car. He told me, “you leave those deer alone in the Grant, and I will bring you one when they get hit.” I thanked him and left those deer alone. Easy to judge when you don’t walk in another’s shoes. In my mind, taking a deer when destitute in order to eat, is a far cry from stealing a TV for watching crap. I have never been an angel my whole life, and unless it was something very serious, I would not be a rat or a judge. I will leave that for the pure in heart.