Rifle Seasons are either right around the corner or already here in some places and that is when the vast majority of hunters hit the field. Every state is different in what is required in the field. It is worth taking the time to talk through three of the most common things you should be studied up on and so you aren’t outside the law!
- Make sure you have all of the required tags/licenses for where you are hunting and for what you are hunting. Some states require you to have an overall hunting license and individual tags. Others like Wyoming sell individual licenses for each animal you will be hunting. Make sure you have them all and don’t trust the non-hunter behind the counter to know what you need. Pick up the regulations booklets that should be present in just about every store that sells licenses/tags and physically check. Not much could be worse than not having all the tags/stamps you need and walking away with a fine or worse for a lack of due diligence, ignorance is no excuse!
- Do your homework on blaze orange requirements for firearms seasons. Some states require zero orange, some require a very specific number of square inches and others simply require “one article” of orange clothing which can feel fairly subjective. Err on the side of caution in regards to following the rules here as it can be a sticking point with a warden. Example, for me in Wyoming I make sure that my hat is completely blaze orange to meet my requirement. Having one blaze panel is a little iffy in my mind from a spirit of the law perspective and so I make sure the whole hat is orange.
- Every state has a few differences on what they consider wanton waste in regards to meat. Alaska is far and away the most strict and the more you have picked off the bone the better. In Wyoming the rib meat is optional but don’t forget the tenderloins if you go the gutless route for field processing. Again spending a little bit of time with the regulations of the state you are hunting will help make sure there isn’t a painful interaction with a game warden. Personally, my preference is to eat as much as possible including hearts and livers. Also, don’t forget that neck meat makes a great roast.
Bottom line is that it is your responsibility to know the regulations in the state you are hunting and in the area you have a tag. A little bit of work before the hunt ensures you won’t have to deal with a headache later.