im ebarrased to be a hunter in montana(RANT)

rjthehunter

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I don't know if education is the answer. Who doesn't know trespassing and shooting animals from the road is illegal?

I feel like harsher fines and penalties would definitely deter more people from doing it. A $200 fine is nothing. Smack them with $1,000 fine, and I bet they stop.
 

Ben Lamb

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I don't know if education is the answer. Who doesn't know trespassing and shooting animals from the road is illegal?

I feel like harsher fines and penalties would definitely deter more people from doing it. A $200 fine is nothing. Smack them with $1,000 fine, and I bet they stop.

Talking with some friends who are judges, their take was if you made revocation of hunting & fishing privilege's a first offence punishment, that does more than any monetary fine.

The fines are generally set on a range by the legislature, with the judge being the one to decide based upon circumstances what that fine should be.

If revocation becomes part of the first offense punishment, I bet more people would think twice.
 

JEL

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Helena, MT
Our farm is near a big MT state wildlife area. Since that became public we have hunters all over the place. They think the whole country is WMA I guess. Private land really doesn’t deter many of them. Especially if they see something they can shoot off the county roads. As for wardens they are run ragged during hunting season. No way they can respond to every call with the square miles they are covering.
 
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rjthehunter

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Talking with some friends who are judges, their take was if you made revocation of hunting & fishing privilege's a first offence punishment, that does more than any monetary fine.

The fines are generally set on a range by the legislature, with the judge being the one to decide based upon circumstances what that fine should be.

If revocation becomes part of the first offense punishment, I bet more people would think twice.
Agreed 100%. My only fear is there will end up being a few people who honestly don't know they were trespassing then get blasted with revocation of rights. I would be totally in to some type of escalation penalty. 1k first offence, 3k second offense, then revocation after that.

It has to hurt them financially, escalation will hurt so much worse. Imagine being hit with a $3k fine for trespassing.
Our farm is near a big MT state wildlife area. Since that became public we have hunters all over the place. They think the whole country is WMA I guess. Private land really doesn’t deter many of them. Especially if the see something they can shoot of the county roads. As for wardens they are run ragged during hunting season. No way they can respond to every call with the square miles they are covering.
It's a common theme to be understaffed in terms of wardens throughout the country. I spend a lot of time in the woods during hunting season, public and private, and an immense amount of time on the water in the summer and winter. I've been checked by a warden 1 time. Fishing on a private lake where the warden had to get permission from one of the 3 landowners around the lake to get access to the lake. The state of MN could hire 200 more wardens and still not have a huge presence.
 

Ben Lamb

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Agreed 100%. My only fear is there will end up being a few people who honestly don't know they were trespassing then get blasted with revocation of rights. I would be totally in to some type of escalation penalty. 1k first offence, 3k second offense, then revocation after that.

It has to hurt them financially, escalation will hurt so much worse. Imagine being hit with a $3k fine for trespassing.

Judicial discretion comes into play here.

Think about it like this too: If someone is out poaching for food & trespasses unintentionally and they get hit with a $3K fine they can't pay, you've not only taken money away that they need for necessities, but you've made them subject to jail time (up to 6 months of lost wages & possible loss of housing), loss of driving license, etc.

I'd rather someone lose the privilege to hunt for a couple of years than have massive life-changing trauma for trespass. And judges need to exercise due discretion based on the circumstances of the case, which 99.9% of the time they do.
 

Sytes

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Montana
What about some sort of CE (continuing education) requirement? Like every 5 years, hunters are required to take a short online course on Hunter ethics and pass a short test to buy a license. Might not make much of a difference, but every little bit counts.
I like the idea though wonder how that would hold considering MT State Constitution's, Right to hunt.
Is it a "Right" if a Montanan had to pass a CE course test every five years to lawfully hunt? Not saying this as if I know the answer. It catches me a bit as it would counter the State citizen's right.

were does it end,, were do people become so entitled they feel they can do whatever they want
IMO, a hunter is raised with, or adopts due to a significant incident, quality or crappy ethics. Is there grey? Meh, maybe? Myself, it's a black/white issue.
 

RealMuddyboots

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The violation penalties for hunting trespass such are far too light IMO. Monetary needs to be significantly increased but more importantly loss of equipment plus loss of hunting license needs to be at least 1 year first offense, possibly multiplier for subsequent offense with Interstate Violator Compact so no hunting period. If the violations are slap on wrist versus serious kick in the ass, it will continue.
 

Jim Anderson

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Meeker, CO
I spend so much time studying maps, reading regs, understanding walk-in rules, understanding access issues, etc., etc., and I’m still always triple-checking everything and being 100% that I’m legal.

But damn, there have been soooo many times when I talk to or see people who don’t know jack shit and just go out blasting.

I also have never encountered a warden in the field, or seen any evidence that any of the idiots will ever get caught.

I’d do it anyway, because I have to look myself in the mirror, but it sure doesn’t seem like I’m ever saving myself a ticket or anything. If I had shitty character, there would be nothing stopping me from doing pretty much whatever the hell I wanted in the field. Frustrating.
 

Gravelyctry

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Holy Cross, IA
I’ve always wondered why there isn’t or can’t be a volunteer force Of game wardens, similar to volunteer fire departments. This could substantially increase the number of ‘officers’ reporting and documenting prosecutable offenses.
 

huntin24/7

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Eastern Montana
by far the biggest law breakers for bird hunters are non residents in the areas i see, and blatantly so,,,and numerous guys,,, mainly shooting from county roads and shooting in the no shooting zones of block management,
2 landowners in block , have hundreds of phesants in there tree rows next to there homes, grain bins, barns, horses ect,

they both run numerous people off , almost daily, very few are residents of montana, and they both call tip mont. when the guys are nasty about leaving ,,
Agreed. Growing up in North Dakota and having lived in ne MT for the last 15 years, bird hunting violators we’re almost always non res and big game violators almost always local residents. I’ve seen this almost without fail over the years in both locations.
 

Wind Gypsy

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Sodak’s ditch parrot laws must make everyone think it’s ok to just hunt ditches..

Recently heard of a (prior) warden who couldn’t follow the rules either in south central MT and had trespassing issues himself.
 

BZNHNTR

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What I have seen the most over the last couple years is disregard for ethical shots. Technically not illegal to empty your gun at a running elk that is 400 yds away or see if after reloading twice you can hit that confused antelope 600 yds away but that isn’t and shouldn’t be hunting. No surprise wound loss is so high.
 

220yotekiller

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What I have seen the most over the last couple years is disregard for ethical shots. Technically not illegal to empty your gun at a running elk that is 400 yds away or see if after reloading twice you can hit that confused antelope 600 yds away but that isn’t and shouldn’t be hunting. No surprise wound loss is so high.
this is why l wont hunt with a semi auto.
 

F250

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Vermont
Judicial discretion comes into play here.

Think about it like this too: If someone is out poaching for food & trespasses unintentionally and they get hit with a $3K fine they can't pay, you've not only taken money away that they need for necessities, but you've made them subject to jail time (up to 6 months of lost wages & possible loss of housing), loss of driving license, etc.

I'd rather someone lose the privilege to hunt for a couple of years than have massive life-changing trauma for trespass. And judges need to exercise due discretion based on the circumstances of the case, which 99.9% of the time they do.
With all the family help programs available today from charities, local, state, and federal government, the old excuse of" poaching to feed the family" is out. During the early and mid 1900's, it was a different story. I found that the money guys spent on a night out jacking deer (beer, gas, marijuana, cigarettes), they could have feed their families for a week.

Many states have a point system for Fish and Wildlife offences. Points for a particular offense are increased with severity of the action. In Vermont, accumulation of points increases the revocation period for licenses (10 VSA 4502). 10 points accumulated during a five year period - one year revocation of all Fish and Game Licenses, 15 points is two years, 20 points is three years. For example : fishing without a license is 5 points. Hunting on legally posted property is 10 points. Shooting from the road is 10 points. Big Game offenses are 20 points.
 

CPAjeff

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Beneath these Western Skies . . .
I’ve seen the disregard and disrespect for people, places, and laws run rampant the last few years - it’s a societal issue.

I called a landowner in preparation for an antelope tag in 2023. For years and years this landowner has opened up his “irrigated” property for hunters to come in and kill some does. In 2022, he had a group of guys come in and shoot the heck out of his pivots just for fun (wheels and lines all had bullet holes).

When questioned, the jokers said they had filled all their tags first thing that morning and since they had the entire day to burn, they decided to stay out there are find other stuff to shoot.

This property is no longer open for access in 2023 …

In the technology-filled world we live in, there’s no excuse for trespassing or destruction of public/private land. Stiffer penalties should exist.
 

Bambistew

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Chugiak, AK
Many Montanans don't value the wildlife they hunt.

Ever witness a shootout along the highway/road? People loose their minds if there are elk to shoot. Gota get them elk!

Go to a transfer station this time of the year. You'll see carcass after carcass and piles of waste "trim" or dried up jerky meat. Skin it and let it age for 2-3 weeks then toss what's left in the trash. Many Montanans hunt to kill, sure they eat a bit of it, but many don't value it. Really do you think a guy that shoots 2 elk a few deer, an antelope or two, etc. really eats it all? (que the food-bank heroes). Take what you need, not what the state allows you. Blaming someone else for your gluttony is also funny. The F&G gives us tags so lets fill em!

Take any equipment used in any hunting infraction, including rifle/bow, ATV, pickup, backpacks, airplanes, etc. It works in AK. There was a D3 bulldozer and a Sherp confiscated a this last season. $250k worth of gear for 3 moose racks and half the meat packed out.

Montana has a culture image that won't change. Success is measured in how many animals you can shoot in a season.
 

TheTone

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Go to a transfer station this time of the year. You'll see carcass after carcass and piles of waste "trim" or dried up jerky meat. Skin it and let it age for 2-3 weeks then toss what's left in the trash. Many Montanans hunt to kill, sure they eat a bit of it, but many don't value it. Really do you think a guy that shoots 2 elk a few deer, an antelope or two, etc. really eats it all? (que the food-bank heroes).
100%

I know a guy that food banks piles of stocker trout every year. What a generous guy! The simple truth of it is that he likes to brag about catching limits and he feels likes he doing some big favor donating them
 

BWALKER77

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I have seen a a bunch of guys driving trucks on state sections which includes a guy from Florida that parked almost a 1/2 mile in behind a marked gate. Also seen four wheelers driving in Wilderness study areas.
That and two guys about to shoot across the hood of their truck of a county road. One from Missoula and the other Washington.
 
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