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Question by Ontario Honker .... Uploaded on December 20, 2012
It's a tough one, and I really don't know I would do in that circumstance. You are breaking the law either way. Illegal hen vs. wanton waste.
I had a buddy who had his dog bring back a hen mallard that put him over the limit. He didn't shoot the duck at all, and apparently the dog just ran across somebody else's lost cripple (it was public land). Sticky situation for sure.
Sarge, what are your thoughts in this situation?
My guess is that the proper answer involves a lot of trouble and red tape, but the truth of the matter is that with most of the hunters I know, if the hunter was close to home, he would probably put the hen in his game bag. But if he had to travel to get home, he would toss it.
The game warden would believe a hunter who sought him out, but not a hunter he stopped with the bird in his bag.
Easy answer...kick your dogs butt.
I was trying to be funny, but in Eastern, WA many years back I had a pointer point a hen, it flushed and flew straight over a long equipment shed that was some distance away...almost flew over it. It slammed into the back of the roof that was galvinized steel, and the flight was into the sun so I believe the hen must have been blinded...down it comes dead. I bagged it, and then had to go looking for my dog. The dog was again on point back in the same ditch, same area, and an instant replay.. another hen slammed dead into the back of the same roof. I kept both hens, and never fired a shot. I quit for the day.
I like to think i would call a game warden in that situation, and ask him/her what my proper course of action should be. Never been in that situation. Also i'm aware of instances where trying to do the right thing results in redicules consequences. Glad this is a hypothetical situatioin.
Well, you can either break the law in an unethical way, or you can break the law in an ethical way. Just call the game warden and ask him what to do. It will be harder to explain if you don't call him and he catches you. Still count it as one of your daily limit.
Count it as part of your limit. I would talk to a warden about it though as soon as you could though. Like others have been saying it would be hard to explain if one came upon you with it in the field.
I wish it was hypothetical. My younger lab was nabbing pheasants left and right this fall. Never seen anything like it. She has a very keen nose for a lab but I don't think that explains it. Just lucky I guess. The first one, a rooster, inexplicably decided to land almost as soon as it got up. If I could have safely got off a shot I would have had him dead to rights, I think. No doubt about him going in the bag when he hit the field though! Opal piled into him hard enough to go end over end. Another plus for dogs that break on shot. :-) Anyway, during five weeks she picked up eight birds that I didn't shoot. One hen was okay to let go. The worst scenario: I already had a full bag of roosters and was just letting the dogs work for possible huns or sharpies. Pup nailed down a bird in an olive jackpot. Sent Opal in to kick it up and she came out with a dead hen. I took that bird home. It was my mistake for sending her in and I deserved to get busted if it came to it. That one went in the pan that night. Learned a valuable lesson. Even old Pearl nabbed a fine rooster the day before we left. It was so damned cold and blustery that day I think that poor guy probably just wanted to die and get it over with.
Last year on the way in to one of my favorite pheasant areas I found a swan laying dead in the road. It had hit the high tension power lines overhead during the night and broke its neck. I threw it in the rig and called the authorities that night. After being referred to about everyone except the Secty of Agriculture, a very nice law enforcement gal at a far away federal refuge called me back and told me I was technically in violation of the law in possession of the thing, no matter if it had been shot or not. She advised me to take it back out and leave it where I found it. Okay. The coyotes ate it that night ... I guess. My understanding is it wasn't much of a feast for them. Swans are bony and taste like crap. Or so everyone tells me. ;-)
I'm not pleased that Opal is killing the birds. But I guess I can understand it. One rooster slashed my left thumb clean to the bone before I could wring his neck. She's not hard on dead birds. It's obviously the ones that struggle that she clamps down on. I'll trap some pigeons this summer and see if I can work this problem out.
I say it was my mistake for sending Opal in because I knew no hun or sharpie would hold tight in that kind of junk. I knew it would be a pheasant. Was just letting the dogs have fun.
what can you do? put it in your game bag, take it home and eat it. i dont think its really worth all the trouble to be calling up game wardens and wasting your time over one hen pheasant. even if you do get caught what is it a small fine? a different scenario would be if you had a doe tag and accidentally shot a buck, those are situations when you would call a game warden. you get caught there thats serious trouble.
I think, down deep, we all want to do the "legal, moral, ethical "thing.
If you didn't "shoot" the bird:
1. You don't have a legal "right" to the bird.
2. You aren't morally, ethically "responsible" for the bird.
3. Okay! You have "some" responsibility for your dogs actions, but there is a limit to that also! A dog has brain and makes it's own decisions at times, regardless of training!
4. It's literally up to each of us just what kind of chance we're willing to take in "said" situation.
OHH - picking up a dead swan off the road? Not a real intelligent move, amigo! Calling local authorities with it's location would have been safer!
Sorry, I should have clarified. Not really a public type road. Access across a farmer's wheat fields.
It doesn't matter "where" OHH! Leave it lay!
Just like the lady told you! Mere possession is "illegal"!
If you found a dead body, would you pick IT up?
NO! You ""compromise" the "crime scene"!
Well, I have seen some pretty petty offenses turn into ridiculous fines and infractions. I would have bagged the bird and fried her up. But I probably would have stuck her in a separate bag from the roosters. I'm not for poaching at all, don't get me wrong, but I'm not going to be a whistle blower or let the thing go to waste. It's all too often that game wardens get to make a write up because someone calls and reports their own accident!
Steve..jumping ahead to your post, and not knowing if someone else covered it...NO, you have to leave it there by the law. Think about it. Somebody gets stopped, and checked, and they come up with the story of what happened. Game guy can't buy it. I remember a guy asking a game warden if he could net a steelhead dying from being released, or getting off, and keeping it. Game Warden just smiled, and told him NO..he would get a ticket.
Game wardens are "people" too!
The job my dad worked took him into and out of some pretty rough areas in Houston, Texas. He approached an officer that worked in the area and asked, "Can I get a license to carry a handgun?" (no CHL's in Texas in the 70's!)
The officer told him, "No, but I suggest you carry one!"
An officer is NOT going to "tell" you anything that will come back to bite him/her! But they are also human. Most of 'em are intelligent enough to know if it's a stupid mistake or an intended violation.
As an experienced outdoorsman, you would have cooking gear in your Get Home Bag.
After the feast, call your friendly, local Game Warden and ask the hypothetical question: What if..........???
Think most of this "human" element attributed to Game Wardens is talking very low percentage of every happening. Game Wardens are taught to go by the book, and not make exceptions for one, and then fining another. I got a ticket for calling a Game Warden back out of his truck after checking me for a fishing license. I yelled at him that "but I did shoot a duck!" He proceeds to check my waterfowl stamp after telling him that, and starts writing me a ticket! What for?!..didn't sign my stamp. I went to court on it taking a day off of work I was so mad. I lost. Since then I have asked other game wardens regarding the ticket I got...no sympathy, and they explained why the letter of the law was followed. If you are depending on Mr. Nice Guy Game Warden, I would bet you will not find one to say it is OK to bag the hen pheasant. That becomes coyote, skunk, or fox food in his mind.
You will never catch me carrying a hen pheasant out of a field. I've seen too many game wardens who throw the book at you based on the evidence of the bird in hand or hidden by you regardless of your story. I saw a poor guy in Florida who caught a sea trout that was a half inch too small. Said it floated up dead after he released it and he just didn't want to waste it. They hauled him away in handcuffs.
Since we are beating up on game wardens, I'll pile on too.
A hunter is leaving the woods and walking toward his truck parked beside the roadway. His rifle is still loaded, and he plans to unload it alongside his truck.
All perfectly legal to this point.
A game warden comes by and asks to see his hunting license. The hunter leans his rifle against the truck and takes out his license.
The game warden writes him a ticket for having a loaded firearm IN OR ON a motor vehicle. The rifle was deemed to be ON the vehicle because it was leaning against it.
This never would have happened if the game warden had not been there.
It didn't happen to me but I've heard the story several times from others. Real chicken manure.
We owned 160 acres Of primarily wooded property near Alpina, Michigan. It had a small cabin on it that we stayed in. We hunted deer, and "Pats" on the property.
You had to wear a visible license on your back to hunt then in Michigan so a Game Warden could see it from a distance. My dad came out onto the gravel road having finished hunting on a very hot opener. He dropped down his hunting coat, and fixed it around his waisted as he walked back to the cabin. "How's huntin been? And where is your visible license?" My dad pulled up his coat while the Game Warden wrote out the ticket for the license not being visible. Going outside the stated law in the book, ain't gonna get it with those guys. And I sure would not take the chance as stated above. In my story of keeping the two hens. I took the law into my hands. I knew I would not get away with it if stopped.
If that story is true, that Game Warden made a serious mistake by not asking the hunter (who leaned his gun against his truck) to unload his rifle before asking to see his license...!!
Yep, Game Wardens do ask you to unload the firearm..very first thing.
Yes, you NEVER want to call a game warden. As the nice lady at the refuge so clearly (though not specifically) indicated, they'd rather not know about it. If I got caught, I got caught. No sense in forcing them to catch me.
For me, the worst thing about leaving a bird in the field is that the landowner might find out I was shooting hens and leaving them lay. Shooting hens is not what should be done but it occasionally happens to the best of us. A landowner can probably understand that. He probably doesn't like it, but he can understand it. Leaving a mistake in the field just to save one's skin? That's making another mistake, in my opinion. And it likely would be in the landowner's eyes too. For me, it means more what others think of my ethical behavior than what a game warden can do to me if he "catches" me.
Of course, I didn't shoot the hens, my dog caught them. But if I leave them in the field the appearance would be that I shot them and left them lay. Landowner or other hunters in the area would not be inspecting the bird with a metal detector before making that call.
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