Deer Hunting In Montana

Revised Spring 2008 Joern

The Activity of Hunting
Hunting is one of the activities in Montana that is both loved and hated by many. Some people primarily hunt for food, while many others simply hunt for sport. For some, it is a cheaper way to put food on the table. On the other hand, many hunters are looking to get the biggest deer to boost their ego. For some, I suppose, it could be the reminder of why we are at the top of the food chain. Hunting used to be left up to the males of the family. Today more and more females are being introduced to the activity. The idea is to lure animals in order to kill them. Deer hunting is only allowed for a short time out of the year. Legally, you can hunt deer in Montana from mid September to late November, outside of city limits. First, one needs to find a piece of land in which they are permitted to hunt. A hunter also must have a weapon to use to kill the animal. The most popular kind of weapon used to kill a deer is a rifle. There are other weapons that are generally harder to hunt with such as compound bows or cross bows. Along with the proper apparel, a hunter should never hunt alone. It is not required that hunters have another person, but it is a big help when it comes to lifting a 250 pound animal, as well as for safety reasons. A hunter also needs to have knowledge of the area they are hunting. He or she needs to know, for example, whether it is permitted for them to hunt on one side of a fence or the other. They also need to have knowledge of hunter’s safety laws and regulations.
The Juridical Laws
There are many laws and regulations hunters have to abide by. A person is not allowed to go out in the wilderness and shoot a deer at any time. Deer hunting season starts on September first, and until the fourteenth, a hunter can only shoot a mule deer buck, and either sex whitetail deer only with a bow. Rifle season for deer starts October 21st for either sex whitetail deer or either sex mule deer. Whitetail rifle season ends on November 4th, and mule deer rifle season ends on the 25th of November. Hunters under the age of 18 are required to go through a hunter’s safety course to begin. A person may not take a hunters safety class until they are at least twelve years old. Once a person has passed the hunters safety class, or is an adult, they need to purchase a tag for the animal in which they wish to hunt. Along with the tag, hunters have to purchase a conservation license from the state, but hunters between the ages of 12 to 14 are not required to have one. In order to hunt in special areas of the state hunters have to pay to get put into drawings, because the state only hands out a certain amount of tags for that area each year. There are also restrictions on how many tags one person can have. There are also many laws that pertain to the safety of the hunters, such as a hunter is not allowed to shoot from any county roads, and are not allowed to shoot from inside of any vehicles. Hunters, with the exception of bow hunters, are required to wear at least 400 square inches of hunters orange, a bright orange color, above the waist that can be seen from all sides. Deer cannot be shot after dusk or before dawn, and once a hunter shoots and kills an animal, they must fill out and attach a tag to the animal immediately. They may not use another person’s tag, and a person may not shoot an animal they are not going to tag. There are punishments for not following the laws and regulations of hunting in Montana. A person convicted of unlawfully killing, taking, or transporting a deer or any part of a deer may be fined between $300 and $1000, imprisoned in the county jail, or both. By doing so, that person also has to forfeit any current hunting, fishing, or trapping licenses they have been issued by this state for 24 months. A person convicted of unlawfully attempting to trap or hunt a game animal will be fined between $200 and $600, imprisoned in the county jail, or both. A person convicted of purposely, knowingly, or negligently taking, killing, trapping, possessing, transporting, shipping, labeling, or packaging a fur-bearing animal or pelt of a fur-bearing animal in violation of any provision of his title, shall be fined between $200 and $1000, imprisoned in the county jail, or both. This person also has to forfeit their privileges of hunting, fishing, or trapping in this state for 24 months. If a person is convicted of hunting, fishing, or trapping while the hunter’s license is forfeited, they are imprisoned in the county jail, and fined between $500 and $2000.
Does this Frustrate Human Life?
Living in Montana, residents gain appreciation for the outdoors. Most hunters in Montana, I would say, find it a privilege to be able to hunt under these restrictions. The most burdensome thing, to me, when it comes to hunting, is the restrictions on the dates a hunter can shoot a deer. Deer season falls right around the holidays so many hunters find themselves hunting over their holiday vacations. Hunting, for most, is an all day activity, so a hunter cannot go out for an hour after work to hunt, usually. Some hunters find it unfair for the number of tags they can purchase. Also, it is becoming hard for low income families to find the money to hunt. Each person needs to go through hunter’s safety, which is not usually cheap, as well as purchasing a conservation license. The people that are most affected by the juridic loads of hunting are the “hardcore hunters”. These are the guys who pay thousands of dollars to get a deer mounted by a taxidermist and put it in their living room. These hunters are the most tempted to shoot a deer out of season because of the size of its antlers. For the most part, these controls do not frequently continue to frustrate human life. I talked to my father about this subject. He informed me that these regulations are mandatory to control the deer population and the safety of other hunters. He also said that it’s a great way to teach the youth responsibility. Growing up, I always went hunting with my dad and his friends. They always made it a priority to inform me of the rules they had to follow. If they came across a deer they couldn’t shoot they would always tell me why they couldn’t. I think that he was right in saying that the regulations are mandatory and necessary. Without any limits, there might not even be a deer population.
Alternatives to the Mainstream
Many people will never know the juridic load that is affecting our hunters. These laws may be avoided by taking part in another activity. If it is a certain state hunting regulation that one finds burdensome then the answer is simply moving to another state or country that has different rules and regulations that they are willing to abide by or accept.
http://data.opi.mt.gov/bills/billhtml/SB0381.htm
http://fwp.mt.gov.html

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