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Old November 11, 2012, 02:03 AM   #1
Deja vu
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help me understand a hunting law here in Idaho

I have been thinking about getting a Holographic sight for my Marlin 1895SBL I use this gun for hunting deer (on occasion) and given the short range nature of the 45-70 round the holographic sight seems perfect.

I was talking to a guy at the gun range a few days ago and he said that it may not be legal for hunting.

I called fish and game and they where less then helpful and ran me around in cercles for about 45 min untill I had to go to work.

I looked up there web page and found this:

(you may not hunt big game)
• With any electronic device attached to, or incorporated on, the
firearm or scope; Except scopes containing battery powered or
tritium lighted reticles are allowed.
so would a holographic sight be ok?

I then sent an e-mail to the idaho fish and game asking for clarification and they sent me this:
Rifle and Shotgun
In any hunt, including any-weapon seasons, it is unlawful to pursue or
kill big game animals:
• By any means other than approved firearms, muzzleloaders and
archery methods.
• With any electronic device attached to, or incorporated on, the
firearm or scope; Except scopes containing battery powered or
tritium lighted reticles are allowed.
• With any firearm that, in combination with a scope, sling and/or
any attachments, weighs more than 16 pounds.
• With any fully automatic firearm.
• With any shotgun using shot smaller than #00 buck.
• With any rimfire rifle, rimfire handgun, or muzzleloading
handgun, except for mountain lion.

thanks for the clarification

so I am very confused. Would I be able to use this sight for hunting? If not I don't want to buy it cause I don't think I would use it out side of hunting.

any help is appreciated...
Shot placement is everything! I would rather take a round of 50BMG to the foot than a 22short to the base of the skull.

all 26 of my guns are 45/70 govt, 357 mag, 22 or 12 ga... I believe in keeping it simple. Wish my wife did as well...

Last edited by Deja vu; November 11, 2012 at 02:08 AM.
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Old November 11, 2012, 07:20 AM   #2
Ole 5 hole group
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I would suggest calling a local game warden for peace of mind but I know of no State that prohibits the use of a holographic/reflex/heads-up display sight on firearms for hunting purposes. I’m sure someone from Idaho will chime in here advising that you’re good to go.

What is probably meant by electronic device is a laser or IF sender that project visible light toward the target or electronically amplifies visible or infrared light.

Have a great Idaho hunt.
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Old November 11, 2012, 09:50 AM   #3
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I read that as you being legal, you have a battery powered reticle in your scope.
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Old November 11, 2012, 10:30 AM   #4
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I agree with Ole and cornbush. Sounds legal to me, but call a warden. They write the tickets and they are usually much happier when you ask before they check you in the field.
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Old November 11, 2012, 11:47 AM   #5
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I too think it would be alright but when in doubt call the warden. To me it sounds like that law is making it ilegal to have a flashlight or a night vision enhancer.
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Old November 11, 2012, 12:14 PM   #6
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I agree with Ol' 5 hole. Call your local warden. His interpretation in the field will be the determining factor as to whether or not you get questioned. Getting his approval means even if he isn't the one that stops you in the field, his word that you asked first will probably get you a "have a nice day", instead of a misunderstanding.
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Old November 12, 2012, 03:48 PM   #7
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The only problem with asking a game warden is that each may interperet the law differently. The one you asked may not be the one that writes the ticket. If Idaho is like Georgia and most other states the legislature writes the laws and often word them in a confusing way that leaves those sworn to uphold the law shaking their heads. I know we have a few laws on the books here that are basically unenforceable because of how they were written. The intent of the law may be for a good reason, but the wording is all wrong. Most politicians are not hunters. They may have good intentions, but could word a law in such a way that they make things illegal that they never intended.

Every year there are changes to the laws, usually to clarify confusing articles in the law. It appears to me that you should be legal, but until someone goes to court over something like this and a legal ruling comes down no one will know for sure. Or if the law is re-written to take this into account.
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Old November 13, 2012, 10:11 AM   #8
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Look up the specs on the holo sight you're interested in. If it mentions anywhere "lighted reticle" by chance, use that in defense. Their intent, like stated, is to prevent IR or light assisted hunting. A holo sight really is a "lighted reticle" which by the wording is legal. Sure, contact the local GW, but again, one might have a different opinion than another and he may be having a bad day when grilling you. Having something in your pocket referring to the holo as a lighted reticle ought to do it.
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Old November 13, 2012, 07:43 PM   #9
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I would call Boise and ask to speak to an officer since each officer is able to interpret the wording however they will. And make sure you talk to someone who carries a gun for a living and writes tickets. They try to pass you off to biologists all the time and they are not credible. Write down who you talked to, the date and time as well as what their job title is. That way if you do wind up with a ticket you have a leg to stand on in court. I teach bow hunters ed for the fish and game and I would not trust them as far as I could throw one.
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Old November 14, 2012, 04:24 PM   #10
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It was not long ago that it was against the law here in Idaho to have any electronic device on a hunting rifle including lighted reticals.
Always looking for a good hunt!
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Old November 15, 2012, 02:23 AM   #11
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I was recently told the way Ohio law is written they are illegal. Seems the law was written when lasers were first gaining popularity and it limits any light/laser emitting item. The holographic lights do emit light.

Everyone is using them either way.

Most equipment limit laws make absolutely no sense. When you look at the different factions of hunters, anti-hunting groups, and lack of knowledge of most lawmakers it isn't surprising. For instance in Ohio an encore pistol in a straight walled cartridge with 5" barrel is safer and easier to control than an Encore in the same cartridge with a longer barrel and a stock. Really? The stock makes it harder to control? Apparently in Ohio.

The reality is several disabled people pushed the state to allow pistols in cartridges so they could hunt. The "primitive" groups threw a fit and limited in a way that would only allow the minimum for disabled hunters. ODNR couldn't write that down so they made up some nonsense safety bit they reply with whenever the subject is brought up.

State wildlife divisions are every bit as political as all the other divisions.
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Old November 15, 2012, 07:15 AM   #12
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I read that as you being legal, you have a battery powered reticle in your scope.
I agree as well.
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Old November 17, 2012, 09:36 PM   #13
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Every game warden I know has a supervisor for his district or region. That's the guy you need to talk to. I'm not sure how it works in ID but here's what I would do in my state:

Call the regional DNR office where I will be hunting and ask to speak to the chief LEO, specifying that I need a clarification of a rule. If he says it's legal, write down his title, name, date and time.

Most officers aren't going to go against their boss, especially if you are polite, cooperative and have your bases covered.
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Old November 19, 2012, 08:38 PM   #14
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I would still Highly recommend calling the Boise office. In our state that is the best way to go. Our local game officers write citations based on what they know, not what any one else says. Having clarification from Boise or any other officer is not a get out of jail card, but rather the basis for a reasonable defense should you wind up in court. According to most of our fish and game officers a person is guilty until proven innocent. And if you are hunting you are guilty of something.......
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Old July 31, 2015, 11:34 PM   #15
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I know this thread hasn't had a post in nearly 3 years, but it still seems unresolved, so I dug up some info for you guys.

I called the Pocatello Fish & Game. They didn't ask my name, so feel free to use the info.

Date: 7/31/15 Time: 4PM
Regional Conservation Officer: Scott Wright
His phone number: (208) 251-2510

Scott stated that if it doesn't project light outside the optic; it's okay. He's mainly concerned with laser sights, thermal sights, night vision, enhanced light, and range finders in the scope.
I asked specifically about holographic sights. He said they're perfectly legal.

Problem resolved. Good luck hunting!

Last edited by MrBeers; July 31, 2015 at 11:45 PM.
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Old August 1, 2015, 02:49 AM   #16
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That's the intent of the law, and the way that most of us interpret it. (I have a reflex sight on one of my hunting rifles.)
However, the regulations were written very poorly. We really need to get the legislature to reword things to be more clear.

...But that's easier said than done, since Idaho prefers being VERY ambiguous, in order to make sure that current regulations can be used to catch future technology that may otherwise 'find a loophole'.
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Old August 1, 2015, 06:54 AM   #17
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"Every game warden I know has a supervisor for his district or region. That's the guy you need to talk to. I'm not sure how it works in ID but here's what I would do in my state:"

This is true. We confronted the District Supervisor over an anomaly in the MO hunting regs. He said it was "agent's discretion" but we refused that answer and took the issue to the Supervisor's boss. He said "agent discretion" was ambiguous and overly broad for an issue that could be so easily defeated in court. The final word was to be written into the agents' guidelines for 2015 and added to the regulations handbook later(their claim was the 2015 booklets were already printed).

I would suggest sending an email(most states have some sort of internet communication system)and printing the reply. I recently followed this avenue when trying to get enforcement of a little known statute that the local Prosecutor and State Police refused to follow up. I now hold a printed statement from a state official indicating the statute, the penalty, and who is responsible for enforcement to present when I go back to jump start the process.
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Old August 1, 2015, 11:42 AM   #18
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When you hear answers.__ I have to check? __I think so?__ I don't see why not? comments leaving you still wondering?__My best advice " When you are in doubt don't do it!! "
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Old August 2, 2015, 06:23 AM   #19
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No doubt about it, if that's the only wording on the matter then a holographic site would be perfectly legal. If they give you stink about it remind them what holds up in court is the written laws of your state, not the emotions of your game warden.
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