Tips for hunters to follow to avoid a ticket this fall

Common situations can lead to citations, according to Mark Carson of the Idaho Department of Fish and Game.

Aside from blatant poaching incidents, conservation officers issue citations every fall to people who trip up and make simple but avoidable mistakes.

Here’s a short list of actions that can lead to a ticket and how a hunter can avoid them.

Know location: Make sure you are hunting in the right area. Conservation officers often write tickets for people unknowingly hunting in the wrong unit or in areas that are not open.

Notch tag: Once a big game animal or wild turkey is down, fill out the tag and place it on the animal before proceeding with field dressing.

Evidence of sex: In Idaho and Washington, all big-game hunts – even those that allow hunters to take either sex of the animal they are after – require evidence of sex to be on the animal during transport.

Get permission: Hunters are required to obtain permission before hunting or accessing private land. Trespassing is one of the most common infractions during hunting seasons.

Avoid road hunting: Shooting from or across roadway is illegal.

Matt Sabo, a Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife police officer in Clarkston said trespassing, loaded guns in vehicles and failure to affix or notch a tag immediately after an animal is killed are his three most common citations.

Other common violations include:

• Shooting two-point bucks in units that have a three-point minimum. Sabo said this often happens when hunters see a large two pointer at a long distance and assume the eye guards will meet the 1-inch requirement.

• ATV infractions frequently include not wearing helmets and not registering vehicles. Both are required in Washington.

• Operation of ATVs and other motor vehicles in closed areas. For example, motor vehicles cannot be operated off of designated roads in the Asotin Wildlife Area.

• Hunter orange requirements. Washington requires big-game and upland-game bird hunters to wear at least 400 square inches of hunter orange. A hat is not enough. The hunter orange cannot be obscured by other clothing. If a hunter wears an orange vest but puts a backpack on top of it, the portion that is not visible isn’t counted. Sabo recommends safety-pinning orange to backpacks or game pouches.