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Old October 30, 2005, 06:03 PM   #1
winder
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Woods etiquette question

I was recently at a wildlife management area in Southern Kentucky when I ran across a wildlife dept. officer who was asking me the usual questions about how I was doing and what I was doing. I told him that I was just in the woods that day to do some "plinking" at paper targets and tin cans with my .22 and to enjoy the beautiful weather. He kind of jumped down my throat and gave me some business about how it is archery season for deer and turkey and that there might be people in the area that I might be disturbing with my plinking. He also thought that it was unsafe. He thought that it was a bad idea and made me feel like crap. This is a 17,000 acre WMA and there wasn't a car within a half a mile so I didn't have a problem with it. I am a resident of the state of Ky, have a valid hunting license and practice safe gun handling and shooting. Where I live in Florence Kentucky there aren't many areas to shoot and only one crappy 4 station public range in all of northern Ky that makes you shoot through tubes. Does anyone have any thoughts about going into the woods just to have some fun shooting your/my guns? Isn't that one of the main reasons we buy and collect guns? I don't do alot of hunting except for the occasional squirrel or rabbit so I like to go out and have a good "safe" time.
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Old October 30, 2005, 06:17 PM   #2
steveno
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to a certain extent he might be right in that if a there is a hunting season in progress it wouldn't be good to be disturbing the bowhunters. however he didn't need to be such an as*hole about it. bowhunters probably go at least a half mile from their vehicles so there could have been bowhunters out there and since they are normally wearing camo it would be easy to not seem them. hopefully you were shooting into a safe background. just my opinion
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Old October 30, 2005, 06:56 PM   #3
Leif
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+1 on bowhunters being difficult to spot.
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Old October 30, 2005, 07:51 PM   #4
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I would research the game and fish laws regarding being in a wildlife management area during a regular season using a gun. It would be good to know precisely the rules. Sometimes the laws restrict use of any firearm during hunting season except while hunting. During bow season, typically no firearms allowed to be carried while bow hunting. For example, in one state I know, it is not "legal" to plink during gun deer season. But, I generally sympothize with you and might have done the same thing. As long as your safe, why should anyone care on public land?
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Old October 30, 2005, 09:12 PM   #5
siotwo
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Our Sam Houston National Forest has 'target shooting' areas. Maybe your forest does also. That would be the best place for plinking during hunting season.
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Old October 31, 2005, 08:16 AM   #6
mete
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NY has a policy of "multiple use" for state lands . That means hikers can wander through during hunting season but they have to put up with our bullets ! I , however , always try to avoid interfering with hunters so I do shooting before bow season.
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Old October 31, 2005, 12:37 PM   #7
Smokey Joe
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Ettiquette

Winder--Always a good idea to Know The Rules. In some states you could have been arrested for hunting with an illegal weapon. It's called prima facie evidence--the fact that you weren't really hunting doesn't matter, only the fact that you were carrying a .22 rimfire out in the woods during an archery-only season.

Certainly as the sun rises, going out and shooting is one of the big reasons to collect/have/reload/appreciate firearms, but it helps if we don't get ourselves in trouble with The Man in the process.

As to hurting yr feelings, there are officers and officers. Some are pro-RKBA, and/or tactful; others are antis and/or have all the tact and consideration of an M4 tank. In any case, behaving badly in that situation isn't going to do you or the firearms movement any good. You can't control the other person's actions or feelings; the only thing you can control is yr own reaction. If you decide to get upset and stay upset, the only one it'll injure is you. There'll be other days.
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Old November 1, 2005, 09:19 AM   #8
44-40
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I would see if there is any law against you target shooting in the woods during archery season, which I doubt,if you had a good backstop and clear view of your target I would have to of pulled down my pants and told him to kiss my $#@, I have zero tolerance for public servants who are anything but polite
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Old November 1, 2005, 12:14 PM   #9
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You have as much right to be there as any deer hunter. Don't they have squirrel and small game seasons that run co-current with deer archery seasons in KY? In the 3 states I've hunted, there are usually shots all over the woods during deer bow season,due to the prevalence of squirrel hunters,grouse hunters,etc.
Obviously it would be rude to hunt near a stand on purpose, but using a WMA for any lawful purpose is just fine. Deer hunters don't get special rights.
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Old November 1, 2005, 12:37 PM   #10
Loco Smith
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Public!

Sorry you had such a bad time. But if you look under most regs they say things like not practing on public lands or must use desinated ranges. Lands are for all but you have all year to mess around why would go into the woods during hunting unless you are hunting. The people hunting have the right to expect there use of the land also, seeing how most hunters pay the fees and taxes on products which allow the other people the right to mess around in the woods, without the hunters there wouldn't be woods or animals. In my state if you told our rangers that you were just messing around and shooting cans he would have given you a ticket. Think about it, the ranger is one of the people walking around while you're shooting, I'm sure every one had on orange. The woods are designated for hunting in the fall, there's a reason for that.

While I'm harping we have a public range on WMA where I live, people won't use this all summer, but when hunting starts they come from all around, people hunt behind this, I would think people would think of others when they take out a piece and go to the woods for practice. It should always be on your mind, I'm also a hunter, would not even think of going to the woods to mess around during season, just because others have rights too.
So use the outdoors and enjoy, but what you think isn't what others think and it may not be right. Remember it is a democracy but you don't always get it your way,, My $.02
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Old November 1, 2005, 11:06 PM   #11
winder
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Thanks for all of the information. FYI, it is also squirrel and crow season in Kentucky so I guess if I had just told the officer that I was squirrel hunting all would have been well. Is it even legal to carry a gun into the woods when it isn't hunting season under the premise of just plinking?
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Old November 1, 2005, 11:22 PM   #12
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Well it is generally assumed by rangers when

you have a weapon and in the woods you are hunting. Public lands are just that. Ranges are for shooting and plinking. I carry a pistol if I'm in the woods watching nature , but i have a CC Permit. If they can't see its legal, But there again if it is legal in you state you can if not don't get caught doing that either. Some rangers and police frown on that, but if they stop me I do have to show them the permit and tell them I'm carrying. Your better off to follow the rules and be hunting and have all the proper tags in place. Here you can't be in the woods durning deer season with a weapon without a tag, and proper clothing. Some states have tighter laws than others so check you state. Its a free country, We just have rules for the protection of all?? Loco
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Old November 2, 2005, 07:14 AM   #13
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I think the Game officer was spot on. In Florida, its not legal to have a firearm in the woods during bow season anyway. If its hunting season, then its NOT plinking season. Go to the gun range.
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Old November 2, 2005, 08:12 AM   #14
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The laws within the states all differ. The US Forest Service generally follows whatever the state laws are, when it concerns firearms. From that we get attitudes that are shaped by these laws.

For instance, it is legal in Idaho to open carry, just about anywhere. Concealed carry permits are required only within the boundaries of cities, logging camps, railroad camps and mining camps. Shooting is permitted anywhere it is safe to do so. This has engendered a rather lax attitude as regards firearms and target shooting (plinking).

About the only thing a Ranger or game warden will do is to tell you the area is not safe (and give you the reasons) and usually, point you to a safe location. Should you be an idiot and hassle the guy, he might decide to cite you for interferring with a hunt (a fairly recent law, put in place to keep the peta crowd at bay).

Etiquette however is different. It is the polite respect of others, and the use for which they are on the land. Some people do respect others and will not be plinking while a bow or muzzle shoot is going on. Some people do not respect others, and that is where conflict occurs.

For me, and the vast majority of Idahoans, etiquette demands that I not interrupt the hunt, by unnecessarily shooting in an active hunt area. I wouldn't like it if someone was to interrupt my hunt, so why would I interrupt the hunt of others?

It's more a matter of manners, not law. But I see that others states are more prohibitive, thus the differing attitudes I've read here. It's a shame that we have to have laws to invoke what used to be common decency and good manners.
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Old November 2, 2005, 04:39 PM   #15
Rob P.
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This brings up the plinking/carrying a gun during hunting season conflict between the laws.

If we are a free society with a RKBA then we have the right to be in the woods with a gun regardless of what hunting season it is. The argument of prima facia evidence of hunting just because you're carrying is a fallacy. People who have a right to carry arms have a right to carry them. Especially on public property. (yes, this defense could lead to a conviction of hunting w/o a license or during the wrong season but that's not the topic)

Woods ettiquette would sort of suggest that you find someplace where others go to shoot and shoot there. Usually those places are not frequented by hunters, have safe backdrops, and are well known as areas where plinking is done. Your wildlife officer should have pointed out to you where such a place nearby is/was.

Not because what you were doing is illegal, but rather because what you were doing could have been dangerous and could have been interfereing with the hunters in the area and with the officer being able to effectively monitor the area he was assigned to.
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Old November 3, 2005, 12:37 AM   #16
Art Eatman
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Rights-shmights. Common courtesy and politeness says that you don't mess up somebody's hunt. Simple as that.

Common sense oughta tell folks that messing up somebody's hunt can just real easily get the guy seriously put out. Why look for trouble you don't need? What's the point?

The Texas deer season for rifle hunters is about 60 days for whitetail; 16 for mule deer. That leaves over 300 days a year for the plinker-guy.

It doesn't really hurt to think about other people, instead of only about yourself.

An awful lot of this "rights" stuff reminds me of the story of a couple of folks in a conversation: "Enough about me. What about YOU? What do YOU think about me?"

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Old November 3, 2005, 01:53 AM   #17
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I would have been mighty upset IF I was hunting in bow season, IF you were wandering around deep in the woods, IF you were popping rounds off sort of indiscriminanyly.

If I was in a tree stand and you were by a parking area, shooting at cans and targets and generally not strolling around, but keeping in one space, I would blame myself for placing my stand too close to a car parking area.

Two years ago, my son was in his tree stand all camo'd up for bow season and two morons walked up under his tree and started to kick all the cover away to build a fire pit. both nearly died when son said if they made anymore noise he would ruin their day. They had no idea he was there. and they ruined completely his carefully scouted location for the season. just something to think about.


When fishing i get ****** off when the PWCs and the go fast boats fly by me..., give the harversters some space and you should not have any problems.
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Old November 3, 2005, 08:47 AM   #18
stevelyn
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Reading threads like this makes me even more thankful I chose to live in Alaska. I'm reminded of how much personal freedom we enjoy here.

Here we can carry guns and shoot out in the woods (unless otherwise posted) regardless of whether there's an open hunting season or not.

However if you happen to be in an area where there are other hunters, a little common courtesy and consideration would be in order.
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Old November 5, 2005, 10:21 AM   #19
rural12
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You were probably in the wrong.
I do not want to be in the woods bow hunting or gun hunting when someone is
target shooting.

Loco Smith,
We do not hunt with weapons....weapon is an instrument of offense or defense in combat.
We hunt with firearms or guns.
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Old November 5, 2005, 10:26 AM   #20
NB4ZOT
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Quote:
I do not want to be in the woods bow hunting or gun hunting when someone is
target shooting.
I agree. When hunting i may cap off about 5 rounds. When target shooting, about 300 rnds. That's a lot of lead in the air. Plus when target shooting you'll take crazy shots. When hunting I only take what I know I can hit. All those stray bullets inthe air can find a biped target easy.
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Old November 5, 2005, 06:53 PM   #21
Art Eatman
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But, stevelyn, if you can get there, so can somebody else.

, Art
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Old November 7, 2005, 09:54 PM   #22
O.S.O.K.132
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its public land you have every right to be there just like the bow hunters, im a bow hunter and though it might upset me a little i still know that it is public domain just do it safe and use good judgement dont worry bout that officer he's power tripping you were in the right\




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Old November 8, 2005, 10:17 AM   #23
Art Eatman
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O.S.O.K., I have rights, sure. But my choice as to exercising them has to do with courtesy and politeness: Who was where, before I got there? No way would I ever want to mess up somebody else's hunt.

The way I see it, mid-day traipsing through hunting country during hunting season means I'm probably going past folks who'd just as soon I'd stayed home.

I live in mule deer country, with a 16-day season. That means there are 349 days per year to goof off and plink. That oughta be enough for anybody.

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Old November 8, 2005, 10:31 AM   #24
NB4ZOT
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Its not against the law for me to go into a restaurant and fart up a storm either. But out of respect I don't and save it for under the covers(I'm surprised my dogs are still alive).
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Old November 8, 2005, 07:48 PM   #25
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You get caught here in Pa. during archery season with a weapon not suited for hunting that particular species you've got a problem.........we can hunt coyote and fox here at night but during gun and archery season we can't be specifically in the woods for them until dark when the deer hunters are out of the woods (after sunset). I'd personally not mess up anyone's hunt by plinking and making noise. you might want to check and see if your Game Commission has a range open for plinking and practicing...IMHO....

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