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10 Most Common Big Game Violations Part 7 – Unlawful Means of Take / Take Out of Season
Idaho is one of the more restrictive states when it comes to weapons. For instance, in 2022 Idaho House Bill 507 finally allowed Idaho hunters to use mechanical broadheads and lighted nocks. Idaho was the last state to allow the use of those accessories. Idaho has a 16-pound weight limit on rifles and that includes the scope, sling, magazine, bipod cheek riser or anything other attachment to the rifle. Idaho muzzleloaders are restricted heavily as well. They must be open/peep sights, loose black powder, and must not use a Sabot style projectile. There are too many more restrictions to list so follow the link below to check them out for yourself.
https://adminrules.idaho.gov/rules/current/13/130108.pdfTake Out of Season Misdemeanor: Up to $1,000 fine, 0-6 months in jail, 0-3 years license revocation Mandatory 1 year license revocation Processing Fee: $75 Deer, $250 Elk, Civil Penalty: $400 Deer, $2,000 Trophy Deer (Mule Deer over 150” B&C and Whitetail over 130” B&C), $750 Elk, $5,000 Trophy Elk (300” B&C),410,000 sheep, goat and moose. Idaho Code 36-409(c) states “The appropriate tag must be had for the hunting or taking of each and every one of the aforementioned wildlife…i.e. moose, bighorn sheep, mountain goat, elk, deer, antelope, mountain lion, black bear, grizzly bear, wolf, sandhill crane, swan, sage grouse, or turkey” Idaho Code 36-1101(a) states “It is unlawful, except as may be otherwise provided by Idaho law, including this title or commission rules or proclamations promulgated pursuant thereto, for any person to take any of the game animals, birds or fur bearing animals of this state.”
This law seems straight forward but it can get more complicated when you look at how it’s unusually violated. Most people see the “take out of season” and envision a poacher who is shooting deer in February, but that’s not the case. Most of these violations come from people not knowing the species and sex regulations in the area they are hunting.
Take Unit-5 for example. In Unit-5 with a “General Deer Tag” you can hunt antlered whitetail deer from October 10 to Dec 1. There is also antlered mule deer open from November 1-14. If it is November 20th and you shoot a mule deer buck not knowing it closed on the 14th that will qualify you for this code. This also happens in areas where there is a “Two-Point” restriction and where the antlerless take is for youth only.
People also can get in a bind with this when a “target of opportunity” presents itself. Most of the time people will have tags for wolves, bears or mountain lions in their possession when deer hunting. Non-residents can also downgrade a deer or elk tag to a wolf, bear or mountain lion but only if that species is open in that unit where it was taken.
For the example above in Unit-5, fall bear season ends on Oct 31. If you are a non-resident hunter and you see a bear on November 3rd and want to use your deer tag, that would be a no go. Although your deer tag is still valid until Dec 1, the bear season isn’t open on November 3rd and that would be “take out of season”. I almost had this happen to me while spring bear hunting. The two times I’ve seen a mountain lion while hunting have been during spring bear season. Unfortunately for me, mountain lion season ends on March 31 and remains closed until August 30 in the unit I was hunting, so I had to let those lions walk.
My best advice is to pay very close attention to the seasons in the area that you hunt. I will make cheat sheets for the area and time that I am hunting and write down every species that is in season and if I have the appropriate tag for that species (if required).
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