First Blood


New member
Jun 8, 2003
New Hampshire
Does anyone have any stories regarding "First Blood" or "Hunter Ethics" I am involved in a moose case with Fish and Game and I need some help! A hunter wounded a Cow moose during our moose season. I didn't realize it was wounded when I saw it and fired a clean shot and kill. Soon after I reached the Moose the other hunter who was hot on a fresh blood trail approached. I turned the animal over to him and he tagged it. It was what I was always brought up to do. Later that day I harvested my own moose and have been prosecuted for shooting two moose. I would not ever want to tag an moose or any other wild creature that had been already shot by another. Does anyone have any stories or am I just wrong about this? Please Help.

In CO the animal belongs to the person who kills it, not the person who wounds it. It sounds as if you killed two moose. If that's what they're charging you with, they're probably right. Good luck...

WOW that sucks.....
Here in AZ I know a guy who shot and killed and elk but game and fish saw the other guys shoot it. my buddy tagged the elk even though he killed it game and fish said the other guys killed it(he ws watching them) the game and fish guy took the tag off and gave it back to my friends dad and said go shoot yourself a good bull and if you have any tag problems tell them what happened (he made a note and left)

my question is who turned you in? Cause the way I see it no one knew but you 2...

Bluejay, Welcome to Hunttalk..

I guess I'm more inclined toward conspiritorial thinking than the other guys.. Why are you being charged? Did game and squish watch you shoot both moose or did someone turn you in??


<FONT COLOR="#800080" SIZE="1">[ 06-09-2003 12:34: Message edited by: danr55 ]</font>
We told them what happened because it was never an issue before with any animal shot that I know of. If one hunter wounds an animal and is tracking that animal while it happens to go by someone else why shouldn't the guy who wounded it, get the animal. I just don't understand why they are charging me. We both had valid Moose tags, both moose were registered and shot in season during the appropriate time. 3 years this has been going on. I am just looking for a case record someplace that might show the origal shooter getting award possesion of the animal. Just seems Ethical to me to give it to the first hunter who wounded it.

Thanks for your replys. Have a great day.
Four years ago here in the Black Hills a local guy shot a decent bull elk. But he did not tag it nor gut it. Instead, he headed back down the mountain to get his camera. When he returned, his bull was gutted and tagged! Three guys stood there and one guy claimed he shot it.

The alarmed elk hunter called the warden on his cell phone. Couple hours later, warden arrived and questioned everyone separately. Warden said no evidence existed to prove the guy who tagged it was lying. The tag stayed in place.

Moral of the story: tag your animal. If you will leave, cut a small incision in the leg and place a business card, quarter, nickel, whatever. This can prove ownership if a quarrel arises.

I feel badly for the hunter who was wronged, but at the same time I comprehend the other guy's temptation of finding a freshly shot bull with no hunter in sight. The other guy probably assumed someone shot it and never followed up on the shot. He figured it was finders-keepers. Perhaps he made up an interesting lie about the shot for his friends.

But he should've fessed up. Perhaps he would've had to admit lying about the great kill shot he just made and embarrass himself in front of friends. I can see both sides of this situation. Warden probably did too.

Possession is still 90% of the law.
Welcome to Hunt Talk Bluejay. I also would be interested in knwing who turned you in. As far as I know, the animal goes to the person who kills it out here.
Let me take a guess on who turned him in.........the other guy who shot the moose first?????did he also "offer" the moose to you?
I think, if I am reading his second post correctly, Bluejay himself told F&G about it, so no one turned him in - he turned himself in, basically? IN that case, it really sucks.
I read that Bluejay and the other hunter reported the incident together or Bluejay and his hunting partners told G&F. The important thing is that there was not a third party involved. That being the case, I would have to guess that the call was left to the officer on the scene. My read is that that guy is a jerk. I'm not sure how the statute reads where this happened, but in Arizona, discretion is left to the officer on scene. I'm sure in this case, he would have reasoned that as long as BOTH hunters shot the first Moose and it was legally tagged and the second moose was legally taken by one hunter that did not claim the first moose, that both moose were taken legally and there was no infraction. Perhaps the statute law reads differently in New Hampshire. I would check statute for a determination. If no specific ruling was found, I would plead my case to the judge.

One more thing.. Did you and the other shooter know each other?


<FONT COLOR="#800080" SIZE="1">[ 06-12-2003 20:39: Message edited by: danr55 ]</font>
"If one hunter wounds an animal and is tracking that animal while it happens to go by someone else why shouldn't the guy who wounded it, get the animal. I just don't understand why they are charging me. We both had valid Moose tags, both moose were registered and shot in season during the appropriate time. 3 years this has been going on. I am just looking for a case record someplace that might show the origal shooter getting award possesion of the animal. Just seems Ethical to me to give it to the first hunter who wounded it."

Some questions and thoughts I have,
Did the hunter that wounded it want to tag it ,or did you tell him he had to?
In Idaho it's the person who kills it that it belongs to.
But I thought if two people both had a tag,one hunter wounded it and it runs past the other hunter and he then shoots & kills it and wants to give it up to the hunter that wounded it ( and that hunter wanted it ),that would be OK? As long as they both had valid tags?
The tricky part comes in because ,if you go by the first blood rule it gives people the opening to shoot another hunters wounded game OR give's them the excuse of saying I was only HELPING the wife or kids kill there animal.

The old saying "it was getting away and I only put it down for them"
Sticking to (you kill it you tag it),you dont have those hunters that always seem to be in the right spot at the right time to HELP someone else kill there game and get away with taking more then one animal.
Lets face it,for most people it's the killing of it that you go hunting for not just notching your tag.
So I guess it all depends on what your intention was when you shot the moose?
1.Shoot it because you didnt know anyone else was tracking it? I think that fair.
2.Shoot it to put it down because you saw the other hunter had only wounded it and wanted to be the nice guy? I see that as being wrong.
UPDATED INFO!!! My Wife was 6 months along with our second child during the season and she had pulled the permit. In NH the permit holder is allowed to name one Sub permit holder to hunt with. She choose me to hunt with her. We were in the truck driving on a Dirt class 6 road when my wife spotted the Cow Moose running toward the road. We stopped the truck, moved up a logging road and took a shot at about 200 yards. The Moose ran off it was the last day of the 10 day season. We went to look where we fired and picked up the track in the leaves. We didn't see hair or blood at that time. We followed the track about 40 yards and noticed a second track come into the picture but it was dry ground so it was hard to tell with the thick cover but we noticed blood and then more blood. We tracked both sets of tracks thinking my shot had hit the moose. After about 5 or 10 more minutes we noticed the moose standing about 50 yards away. My wife wanted me to take the shot to make sure we got the animal to go down without running as time was counting down. I fired at the animal which presented the most lithal shot. The animal went right down and the other moose ran off. We slowly moved over toward the moose. When we got there the moose was thrashing a little on the ground so I fired one more shot just behind the ear. We talked for a minute or two and then began to get tag information ready. We then heard a yell. We replied back. The second hunter in the area approached (We didn't know he was even around, no car or truck in the area) He advised that he had wounded that animal and that is why it was bleeding and was running toward the road and that we had cut him off on his track. We apoligized he confirmed the shot location which after some examination could not have been my shot. It was with a 338 Mag and I was using a 30-06. He was very clear that he wanted the animal and that it was an ethical thing for us turn it over to him since he had drawn first blood. My family has always done this because it reduces the amount of my animal, no my animal arguments. It was always first bullet in the animal with blood and proof takes the animal. So we turned it over. We later tracked and killed the second moose that was in the pack, which had not wondered off to far since it was a younger moose. Both moose were legally tagged and registered. F&G charged the other hunter with tagging a Moose he did not shoot. False statement on a Registration form. His charges were thrown out of court by a judge. My case of over limit on Moose is June 24-25 and I hope I win, I love to hunt and never intended to do anything against the law! The entire Twist in the case is that the second hunter was my Father! This is what has caused so much of a contraversy but it shouldn't change the facts. I would and have done the same thing for other hunters and have had it done for me. It is like a Hunter Ethics thing out here in the East. One man doesn't take another man's food! My father had walked 4.8 miles that day in the woods from another road. He had shot the moose while my wife and I were eating Breakfast that is why we didn't hear a shot. It seems odd but if someone wounded a huge Mule Deer or Whitetail buck. World Class and it ran by you and you shot at it without knowing it was wounded and killed it! Then that hunter approached a short time after. Would your gradification of hanging that deer on the wall be the same or was that deers senses tarnished by the bullet already inside his body. I don't want someone elses wounded animal and that should be the right of the person who finished off and didn't know it was wounded to turn it over to the original shooter.

My Opinion. Please let me know your thoughts

New Hampshire Guide
That is the pit's.
I would think you did the right thing.
Both shooters had a tag and shot the same animal not knowing the first person had hit it.
The first shooter wanted it ,you gave it up.
He tagged it ,you still had your tag left.
If this werent your father it still would be the safe thing to do ,I sure wouldnt argue over any animal with other people with firearms.
The only problem I have is the first blood thing.
I know guy's that hunt this way and it seems like they never get good clean shots because all they had to do was wound it and there buddys would finish it off for them.
I think ,from my view it create's poor shot placement.
(Not saying you or your father did that )only how I view it.
Tough call,I think around here it would be up to the judge to decide,because it is the person that kills it's animal.
Like I said if I killed one and someone came up and told me they had wounded it and now wanted it,I would step away and give it to them.
Good Luck,it would really suck to have that happen when it's was all a mistake .
Different folks see things differently.

One group claims that the first blood gets to tag the animal.

Next group says the hunter who made the kill shot gets the animal.

I'm not aware of any "official" ruling on this subject. South Dakota law says the hunter who killed the animal must tag it. But I'm sure there are exceptions.

In my opinion, the criminal line is crossed when the killing takes place outside the license zone or season date limit. I feel that the issue of who actually places the legal tag during lawful shooting hours should not be treated as a criminal offense.
my guess is that your case would be thrown out also.......court cost and any other fee's should be taken out of the game wardens pay-check(fuggin numb nut)....JB
OK, now it makes more sense. The Gamey probably figures that since you didn't have a tag at all, you violated the ordnance by shooting your Father's Moose and your wife's moose. In Arizona that's called gang shooting and it is very illegal. Let us know how this comes out...

Welcome to Hunttalk Bluejay...
This is a dandy way to start your debute on a new board, I sure hope every thing goes in your favor..Please keep us posted...
But DANR55 I had the right to shot being the sub-permit holder. It was fully legal for me to shot the moose as long as my Wife the permit holder was within sight and hearing. And as far as Maine goes, I hunt there every year for a couple weeks and a leathal hit isn't always easy to agree on. Two years ago my uncle shot a 168 lb 8 point buck with a Gonic Muzzleloader 465 grain hunk of lead at an angle right through the neck down through the opposite shoulder blade. The deer in the snow travel less than 100 yard and was shot by another hunter. The deer while following the trail had dropped to the ground 4 different times and belly walked about 25 feet three other times. The Warder awarded the deer to the last shooter and advised our hunting party that the shot my uncle made was not considered a leathal hit. So now the wardens are medical examiners. When will it stop. It was a much worse situation with the deer because the other hunter was so not willing to give it up. I hope he has it mounted on his wall right now and every time he looks at it... I hope he thinks about condition of that animal when he fired. It wouldn't surprise me at all if the deer was flat dead already on the ground. The trial is in two weeks. I will post a message letting everyone know how it goes. I just wish I could get some type of legal support for may case from another state. Oh well

Later Jay
Jay, Look at it through the Warden's eyes... Three people in the field.. An older man, his son, and the son's wife, a pregnant woman. Now the son doesn't have a tag. He shoots one moose and doesn't tag it, but gives it to his father. Then shoots another moose and tags it. That's what the warden saw, heard, or was told... What does that sound like to you? I know I'm being a jerk, but I'm just playing devil's advocate. Be sure you point out to the judge that your father shot the first moose before you did... and you didn't know the moose was wounded... He may believe you.


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