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Old March 3, 2013, 12:16 PM   #1
amusante
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Hypothetical: Getting hunting license just to target shoot in woods?

Hi Guys,

So the basic premise here is, I would get my hunting license, go to approved hunting areas when allowed, and just set up targets to shoot. I don't actually want to kill any animals, as I don't find it fun and wouldn't use the meat, but I want to get out of the restrictive nature of shooting ranges. Would this even be allowed? I am in CT if that makes any difference.
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Old March 3, 2013, 12:27 PM   #2
terzmo
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if using a long gun...shooting target,at least in NY, doesn't require anything except age restrictions for young shooters and all shooting in a safe lawful area. No hunting license required. If a handgun...then permited holders and My opinion, if at a range or on private property, a non permitted person can shoot as long as a permitted person is supervising directly.
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Old March 3, 2013, 12:36 PM   #3
Mike38
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You may “T-off” a few hunters if you’re blasting away during season. Also, be extra careful of your backstop. If during season, a hunter stalking game may wander into your line of fire.

As for legality, well, your state may vary, but here in Illinois if you are caught in the timber with a high powered rifle or a handgun during shotgun deer season, expect your gun to be confiscated, maybe your vehicle confiscated, and a fine.

Check your local and state laws before hand.
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Old March 3, 2013, 12:50 PM   #4
amusante
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The problem is I don't have any land to shoot on, so I'm not sure where I would go. It was just an idea, but probably not worth the unintended consequences.
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Old March 3, 2013, 01:12 PM   #5
sigcurious
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I suspect, that even with a permit, you would not be authorized to target shoot in an otherwise hunting only area.
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Old March 3, 2013, 01:28 PM   #6
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Its always appropriate to respect hunters in the field during the hunting season, but off season target practise in the woods is allowed (at least here, in Ca)
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Old March 3, 2013, 01:32 PM   #7
terzmo
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I'd like a dollar for every sighting in shot, fired from a shotgun the few days before shotgun opener but during archery season. (DEER SEASON)
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Old March 3, 2013, 02:52 PM   #8
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When I was younger, I was always told it was illegal for me (non-resident) to shoot on public property (other than a shooting range) in Idaho, without a hunting license.

To avoid any issues, we would simply jump the border into Utah or Wyoming.

I have never looked into that 'law' though. It may have just been a bunch of BS.


However...
Around here, it IS illegal to target shoot in some hunting areas, during big game seasons (and some other species). Licensed to hunt, or not, you aren't supposed to be popping off rounds for recreational purposes.

So, I would definitely dig a little deeper into CT law, before trying anything.
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Old March 3, 2013, 02:58 PM   #9
wally626
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This would not be allowed in VA on public land. No target practice except at approved ranges.
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Old March 3, 2013, 06:08 PM   #10
62coltnavy
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Federal restrictions on firearms on federal property have been significantly loosened in the last few years, but if you are in the woods during hunting season, I believe that there is a presumption that you are hunting; and without a license, the Warden has PC to seize your firearms. However, there are many designated target shooting areas on federal lands where there will be no hassle.
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Old March 3, 2013, 06:26 PM   #11
Ruger480
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Keep in mind that people post and check trail cams regularly as well as just go for a walk in the woods in public land hunting areas. Just because nothing is in season doesn't mean folks aren't out there. Be safe.
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Old March 3, 2013, 06:56 PM   #12
Dave P
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Um, are there not any shooting ranges nearby?
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Old March 3, 2013, 11:24 PM   #13
Vanya
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Amusante, if you're in CT, the short answer is -- no, you can't do that.

From the Hunting Laws and Regulations page of the DEEP website:
Trap or target shooting on any state property or public hunting area is prohibited unless the area is a designated shooting range.
There are four state owned public shooting ranges available for target shooting, patterning shotguns and sighting in rifles.
So unless you can get permission from a private landowner to shoot on his property, you'd be be breaking the law, license or no license.

That website is your best resource for answering such questions, or for finding out whom to ask.
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Last edited by Vanya; March 4, 2013 at 01:57 AM.
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Old March 3, 2013, 11:31 PM   #14
kilimanjaro
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Quite a few states will not let you carry a rifle or shotgun during hunting season without a hunting license on your person, except at a designated shooting site or facility. The reason is to cut down on poaching, I suppose.
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Old March 4, 2013, 02:41 PM   #15
amusante
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Thanks for the info guys. Does anyone know off hand how much land someone has to own to be able to shoot on it?
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Old March 4, 2013, 02:45 PM   #16
Tickling
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Quote:
Thanks for the info guys. Does anyone know off hand how much land someone has to own to be able to shoot on it?
I don't think it's the "how much" but the where.
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Old March 4, 2013, 02:48 PM   #17
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Quote:
I don't think it's the "how much" but the where.
Dallas and Tarrant counties in Texas require a minimum of 10 acres along with some other restrictions before you can hunt or shoot on your property.
Not including private and some public shooting ranges.
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Old March 4, 2013, 02:53 PM   #18
Tickling
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Quote:
Dallas and Tarrant counties in Texas require a minimum of 10 acres along with some other restrictions before you can hunt or shoot on your property.
Is that normal across the U.S.?
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Old March 4, 2013, 05:37 PM   #19
Aguila Blanca
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Quote:
Originally Posted by amusante
Thanks for the info guys. Does anyone know off hand how much land someone has to own to be able to shoot on it?
You're in Connecticut. Connecticut has 169 municipalities, 168 of which have their own zoning regulations. Many of them also have at least a few firearms ordinances, which may or may not be (but probably are) more restrictive than state law.

IIRC, CT state law doesn't allow you to discharge a firearm within 300 feet of any occupied structure or other person who is not a member of your party. This effectively means you have to be 300 feet away from any house or garage and 300 feet away from any street or property line.

An acre is 43,560 square feet, which in very round numbers is "a bit" more than 200 x 200. So to be 300 feet away from every side, if the parcel is a perfect square you'd need slightly more than 9 acres. Round it up to 10 acres as a starting point. (And then hope your municipality isn't one of the ones with more restrictive ordinances.)
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Old March 4, 2013, 06:53 PM   #20
RonR6
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I don't know about your state , but in Pennsylvania you are not allowed to shoot at random during the hunting seasons.
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Old March 4, 2013, 06:56 PM   #21
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Check your local laws. In MN and WI it is illegal to target shoot on public land.
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Old March 4, 2013, 07:56 PM   #22
Vanya
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aquila Blanca
Connecticut has 169 municipalities, 168 of which have their own zoning regulations. Many of them also have at least a few firearms ordinances, which may or may not be (but probably are) more restrictive than state law.
Indeed. And any municipality that's rural enough to allow the discharge of firearms at all probably has someone at the town hall who knows the zoning regulations and is willing to answer questions. When in doubt, ask -- it's a good way to stay legal.

And with that, I'm going to close this. The OP's question has been answered, and other states' laws aren't relevant to that question.
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