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Tips to stay lawful while hunting

Daily Staff Report
Vail CO, Colorado
Special to the DailyKeep your eyes peeled and be attentive when hunting.
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THE LEGAL SIDE

Twenty tips to help keep your hunting trip on the right side of the law

* It is unlawful to have a loaded (having a round in the chamber) rifle or shotgun in or on a motor vehicle. (‘Motor vehicle’ includes motorcycles and ATVs.) Similarly, muzzleloading rifles cannot be primed (cannot have a percussion cap on the nipple or powder in the flashpan) while in or on a motor vehicle.

* It is unlawful to carry firearms (except handguns) on an off-highway vehicle (OHV) during deer, elk, pronghorn, and bear seasons unless they are unloaded in the chamber and magazine. Firearms (except handguns) and bows carried on an OHV must be fully enclosed in a hard or soft case. Scabbards or cases with open ends or sides are prohibited. This regulation does not apply to landowners or their agents carrying a firearm on an OHV for the purpose of taking depredating wildlife on property owned or leased by them.

* It is unlawful to hunt white-tail deer on the Colorado plains, hunt carelessly or discharge a firearm or release an arrow in a manner disregarding human life or property.

* It is unlawful on to operate or ride a snowmobile with a firearm unless it’s completely unloaded and cased; bows must be unstrung or cased. Compound bows must be cased, not unstrung.

* It is unlawful to shoot from or use a motor vehicle, motorcycle, all-terrain vehicle, snowmobile, or aircraft to hunt, harass, or drive wildlife.

* It is unlawful to use aircraft to hunt, to direct hunters on the ground, or to hunt the same day or day after a flight was made to locate wildlife.

* It is unlawful to hunt under the influence of alcohol or controlled substance.

* It is unlawful to use artificial light to hunt wildlife. (Having a firearm with cartridges in the chamber or magazine, or loaded with powder or a ball, or a strung, uncased bow while trying to project artificial light into an area where wildlife can be found is prima facie evidence of a violation.)

* It is unlawful to use dogs or bait to hunt bears, deer, elk, pronghorn, or moose. (Bait means to put, expose, deposit, distribute, or scatter salt, minerals, grain, animal parts, or other food so as to constitute a lure, attraction, or enticement for big game on or over any area where hunters are attempting to take big game.

* It is unlawful to use poison, drugs, or explosives to hunt or harass wildlife.

* It is unlawful to leave an unattended fire that is not completely extinguished.

* It is unlawful to not make a reasonable attempt to track and kill an animal you wounded. If the animal goes on private property, you must contact the landowner or person in charge before pursuing it.

* It is unlawful to not wear at least 500 square inches of solid daylight fluorescent orange material above the waist on an outer garment while hunting deer, elk, pronghorn, bear, or moose during a muzzleloading or rifle season. Part of the fluorescent orange must be a hat or head covering visible from all directions. Camouflage orange does not meet this requirement. Mesh garments are legal but not recommended. Bowhunters are not required to wear fluorescent orange during archery seasons. (The DOW strongly recommends wearing daylight fluorescent orange clothes in the field even if you’re not hunting.)

* It is unlawful to fail to use wildlife meat for human consumption. Internal organs are not considered edible portions.

* It is unlawful to shoot from, across, or on a public road with a firearm, bow, or crossbow. People firing a bow, rifle, handgun, or shotgun having a single slug must be at least 50 feet from the centerline of the road.

* It is unlawful to party hunt, which means to kill someone else’s game or allow someone to kill your game.

* It is unlawful to interfere with hunters. That includes, but is not limited to, alarming, distracting, or frightening prey; causing prey to flee by using light or noise; chasing prey on foot or by vehicle; throwing objects; making movements; harassing hunters by using threats or actions; erecting barriers to deny access to hunting areas; and intentionally injecting yourself into the line of fire. Violators face criminal prosecution and may have to pay damages to the victim, as well as court costs. Learn more on this topic by reading the Hunter Harassment page.

Violations Can Be Felony Offenses

* Killing and abandoning big game wildlife. Taking big game, removing only the hide, antlers, or other trophy parts and leaving the carcass in the field.

* Selling, purchasing, or offering to sell or purchase big game.

* Soliciting someone to illegally take big game for commercial gain or providing outfitting services without required registration.

If convicted of these violations, you may face a life-time hunting license suspension in Colorado.


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