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post #1 of (permalink) Old 11-18-2002, 09:48 AM Thread Starter
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ATTN HUNTERS: I NEED YOUR HELP!

i am sorry that this is long, but i need your help. please read this and post it on every hunting site that you can. i think that you all need to be aware of what could happen to you. here is my story:

Friday evening I shot my first deer ever in archery season. It was nice little 6-pt. at about 25 yards. However after finding the deer, I discovered that it was actually only a 4-pt and I had made a mistake. (for those of you that don't know, it is a new law this year in Pa, that any antlered deer must have at least 3-pts on one side) so I went ahead and tagged and dressed the deer and since I was already late to help a friend move, I just hung it up for the night. So the next morning I called the game commission and told them I wanted to report a 'mistake kill'(which requires a $25 restitution fee). They sent a person from the game commission out to where I was. I gave him a written account of what happened and took the officer to my stand so he could investigate my story. After about a half hour of taking pictures and measuring distances, the officer says 'We have 2 problems here'The problems were 1) I had waited until morning to call instead of calling immediately. 2) In his opinion, at the measured 27 yards, I should have been able to verify that the deer did have a legal rack. As a result I am being charged with 'negligence'with the result being loss of deer(and tag), a minimum $500 fine and he said I would likely lose my license for at least 1 year.

Despite trying to reason with him that this was excessive considering that I called him and that it was an honest mistake, he assured me that this was his duty under the law.

It just seems very wrong to me that I am going to be punished the same as some outlaw who knowingly kills and illegal deer and gets caught trying to sneak this deer home in the trunk of his car. Or if upon realizing that it was not a legal 6-pt, I would have just walked away from the deer and left it there to rot while I continued hunting. If I were to be caught doing that, my punishment would be the same. Does that seem right to you?

I admit that I did make a mistake in verifying that it was a legal deer, but obviously I thought it was legal or I would not have shot the deer. And also the law does state that you are to call within 12 hours and I waited about 17. (From one night, until the next morning) But the fact remains that I DID call and I did not try to cover it up.

here is what the Pa Game Commission has posted about this on its official website:

HUNTERS GIVEN DIRECTION ON HOW TO HANDLE MISTAKE BUCK KILL
With new antler restrictions in place for the 2002-2003 deer seasons, the Pennsylvania Board of Game Commissioners today gave final approval to a measure clarifying - and hopefully easing hunters' concerns - how hunters who mistakenly kill a buck that doesn't meet the antler point requirement should handle the situation.

Under the new regulation, hunters are required to complete and attach their deer harvest tag to the deer immediately after killing it and before moving it. The mistake kill must be reported as soon as possible, but no later than 12 hours after the time of kill, to the region office serving the county in which the deer was harvested. While the hunter will be required to pay a $25 restitution fee and surrender the antlers, the hunter will be permitted to keep the carcass to make use of the venison.


I have an appointment to go talk to the regional supervisor this afternoon and i am hoping that he will see that this is not right and only encourages people who make an honest mistake to try be dishonest.

i will keep you all posted, thanks for all the help!

shawn
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post #2 of (permalink) Old 11-18-2002, 10:47 AM
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Re: ATTN HUNTERS: I NEED YOUR HELP!

Sounds like you got the game ranger that has an attitude. He should have given you some slack for being so honest, Instead of going off on a power trip. You are right, they are encuraging people to be dishonest. I would have taken the deer home cut it up myself and kept my mouth shut. Sounds like that is what you will do next time. It would be nice to work with the rangers for the good of wildlife and hunting, but if you can't trust them you have to avoid them, what a shame!
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post #3 of (permalink) Old 11-18-2002, 11:41 AM
 
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Re: ATTN HUNTERS: I NEED YOUR HELP!

that really sucks, if you dont get some lee-way there your gonna have some top dollar venison.

maybe the regional guy your going to will have some mercy on you.

BUT the rule did say 12 hours, and you waited 17, so if they really want to hurt your pocket book then they can.

did you know you only had 12 hours to call? ( before you waited 17)
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post #4 of (permalink) Old 11-18-2002, 11:44 AM
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Re: ATTN HUNTERS: I NEED YOUR HELP!

I've noticed that the new wardens are getting worse every year. Turning into a bunch of tree-huggers.
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post #5 of (permalink) Old 11-18-2002, 12:25 PM
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Re: ATTN HUNTERS: I NEED YOUR HELP!

It does sound like you got a bad deal. I don't like the classification for a buck either. Here in IL you can use an antlered permit on anything with more than 3 inches of antler. So there is no mistaking a buck to a doe (button buck discluded). Hope for the best.
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post #6 of (permalink) Old 11-18-2002, 05:45 PM
 
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Re: ATTN HUNTERS: I NEED YOUR HELP!

I don't think you have a leg to stand on. Game wardens never did put up with much and they take even less nowadays. All badged people take less BS. Remember when they used to just pour out your beer?? That is our zero tolernace instead of common sense approach to life anymore. The lawyers are in charge and you waited too long. I would try to get it reduced but basically I think you are SOL. Good luck. By the way, we in Iowa are a 7 inch and below is antlerless. Makes more sense to me. What if the buck has its head down or is straight sideways. Pretty tough to count. Pay your dues now, I do believe that this will improve the big buck hunting greatly.
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post #7 of (permalink) Old 11-18-2002, 06:02 PM
 
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Re: ATTN HUNTERS: I NEED YOUR HELP!

Is the call in 12 hours printed in the regs book? if not you have something. Also 27 yards is over 75 feet, who is to say you cant tell the diffrence at that distance? But then who is to say you should be hunting if you cant? I hope you can talk the regional fish cop out of the ticket, but I am not sure you will have much luck.

A few buddies and my self were hunting ducks near a federal wildlife refuge last weekend and had a encounter with the local warden. He heard us shooting and thought that we were shooting sprig out of the refuge. He snuck up on us and hid in the bushes, when were walking back to the trucks he busted out of behind a shrub about 10 feet away from us yelling for us to drop or guns and back away, it was something else. He completly searched us, and accused us of shooting in the refuge and shooting sprig, which he told us were out of season. He found nothing illegal and no sprig. He let us go saying htat he could not cite us because he didn't see us in the refuge, probably because we were about 500 yards away from the damn refuge. I checked the regs when I got home and found that the guy was full of [bleep], sprig season had been open for a week! What a hassle. They definetly over abuse their power.

Good Luck.
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post #8 of (permalink) Old 11-18-2002, 06:18 PM
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Re: ATTN HUNTERS: I NEED YOUR HELP!

Man it sounds like you got the raw end of the deal. I DO beleive your story. Why? Because you called them to let them know what happened. If you were trying to "steal" the deer, you would have never made that call. I would stress that along with other things you mentioned. I can also understand the "pissy" ranger thing too. I get along with almost all my local law enforcement. They are for the most part good guys and good people. My rangers are not. I swear that 99% do the goose step to bed. [img]images/graemlins/mad.gif[/img] I have been frisked and all but stripped of clothing in 10 deg. temps just to show that I had nothing illegal on me while hunting.(duck hunting........they were looking for lead shotgun shells) Thats BS. And I did take it WAYYYYYYY over their heads. Needless to say someone got an a$$ ripping with me there to watch. I had witnesses and no probabal cause. I also made sure that they knew I'd persue it farther.
Good luck and keep heading towards the top. Also console a lawer (free??) if you can. May still be cheaper.
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post #9 of (permalink) Old 11-18-2002, 08:28 PM
 
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Re: ATTN HUNTERS: I NEED YOUR HELP!

I wish you luck. I had a boss who shot a small buck,that was running beside a doe,the buck was shot,all he had was a doe tag and he was like you,tell the truth,I think thay took the deer and his hunting licsens for a few years and a $1500 fine. I would grab a rock and bust the horns off next time and tag it as an anterless deer if you get the big fine.
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post #10 of (permalink) Old 11-19-2002, 12:26 PM Thread Starter
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Re: ATTN HUNTERS: I NEED YOUR HELP!

well i talked to the region supervisor. i went in and asked him to please explain this law to me. he smiled and said that in his 27 years on the job, he had only had maybe 2 or 3 people that he charged with 'negligence' and that it is very hard for the officer to prove it, so i should not worry about it. so i told him what had happened and he said that i must have let something out or the officer had seen something else b/c there was no reason that i should have been charged with negligence from that. he also said that he would not get invovled in another officers case, and i can understand that. but i was hoping that maybe he would pull the guy aside in private and talk to him. but i did ask him to send the officer an email asking him to call me so that maybe we could still clear this up before court. his recommendation to me was that if it were him, he would take it to court, and if i would happen to be found guilty, then get a lawyer and appeal. so that is the plan. the sad thing is that i have no doubt that if it had been a guy like the supervisor who had come out to begin with, this all would have been avioded.

thanks all
shawn
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