Idaho Toughens Penalties for Trespassing
Effective July 1, 2018, a new Idaho law puts in place stiff penalties for trespassing. A first conviction of trespass on private property now carries a mandatory one-year revocation of hunting/fishing/trapping licenses in addition to a misdemeanor fine and seizure of animals taken on private property. It is up to you to realize it is private land because the property is fenced, cultivated or reasonably associated with a residence or place of business.
If there was any doubt about the wisdom of using a GPS or phone app like onXmaps, this should remove it, especially since the law also loosens the posting requirements for landowners. Even on unfenced land, the requirement to post every so many feet has been changed to having enough conspicuous no trespassing signs or bright orange paint so that a reasonable person knows it is private.
The law was written to require carrying written permission to trespass, but at the last minute, it was changed to allow for “other” permission, whatever that is. Still, carrying both a land ownership app or chip as well as written permission to trespass is just good sense to avoid aggravating and time-consuming arguments with people who might dispute your right.
Idaho Game Checkpoints
Here’s another way to pick up a hunting-related misdemeanor that you may not have realized. You know if you harvest an animal in Idaho, you must stop at a big game checkpoint. But you shot your deer in Wyoming, so you drive on by and are ready to explain that to the officer when he pulls you over after seeing you drive past with a deer in your pickup. The fact that you shot it in another state doesn’t matter. You are transporting a harvested game animal on an Idaho road. By not stopping, you just broke the law, and if he charges you (and you can increase those chances by getting an attitude over it), that can ruin your trip, because you may lose the animal and potentially get a conviction on your record that will be reported to every other cooperating state, perhaps costing you the right to hunt.
More Ways to Break Idaho Law
You didn’t send in a harvest report to IDF&G because you didn’t fill your deer tag. No fine or charge, but no license for you next year until you file the report, which was due 10 days after harvest or if unsuccessful, 10 days after the season ended.
You have a cow tag. Your buddy has a bull tag. You come across a trophy bull and shoot it for him. He thanks you profusely, comes over and tags it. You are now a poacher and have committed a felony in Idaho. He knowingly tagged an animal he didn’t shoot. Who would tell? Another elk hunter if he saw one guy shoot and another tag. Or a guide or outfitter. Don’t shoot what you don’t have a tag for, even under pressure from the group. It’s not worth it and it is certainly not fair chase, ethical hunting.
You legally salvage a road kill by reporting it. That’s convenient, because you then use it as bait to hunt wolves, for which you have an Idaho tag. Uh-oh. No can do. You can use it for trapping, but not for hunting.
Bottom line – know the law and follow it. There’s no excuse for ignorance when what you need to know is usually right there in the big game application booklet.