Hunting 2015: New rules that everyone needs to know
So every year there is someone monkeying around with this rule or that rule which are printed in the hunting and trapping handbook. I thought I would give you a brief review of those changes and you can then determine if any affect you or the hun...
So every year there is someone monkeying around with this rule or that rule which are printed in the hunting and trapping handbook. I thought I would give you a brief review of those changes and you can then determine if any affect you or the hunting methods you participate in.
These changes fall under a few different categories, and I will cover the deer hunting changes first. One item worth mentioning is that the unit that Worthington is located in, Unit 237, is a bucks-only unit this year with the exception that youth may harvest a deer of either sex. This applies to gun hunting, archery and the muzzle loader seasons. As you will see there is an exception for every rule.
All of the new rules are printing on the first few pages of the regulation handbook. If you are a resident of a veterans’ home you may shoot a deer of either sex with a gun or muzzle loader in any permit area. This is exception one. If you are 84 years of age or older you can shoot a deer of either sex in any season in any unit across the state. This is exception number two.
Hunters age 60 or older can use a scope during the muzzle loader season. This has been explained to me that older hunters have poorer eyesight and that they need a scope to help make a clean kill. Scopes make a muzzle loader super accurate up to and beyond 150 yards.
It is this level of accuracy that makes what is supposed to be a rudimentary one-shot hunt into a high efficiency method to kill deer. Scopes have been debated for years and this opens the door to their use in a broader spectrum in future years. If scopes become legal for all users, they will have to shorten the season by 50 percent to keep the harvest from climbing to high. We will have to keep our eyes on this one.
The last change in the deer category has to do with when the deer license you bought becomes effective. If you buy a license after the season has opened, then the license is not good until the next day. If you buy a license at 4 a.m. the morning of the season opener, then it is good for that day. The delay in making the license effective was designed to keep people from going out and shooting a deer and then, when successful, going out and purchasing a license so you could transport the animal. They seem to be loosening up on this issue.
The second category has to do with bear hunting. You can now use a light at night to tack or retrieve a wounded bear and do so with a loaded gun. Don’t think this change will have much effect in Nobles County.
Game birds like ducks, geese and pheasants used to need a fully feathered head and a completely feathered wing attached in order to be transported. This was to allow the game warden the ability to identify the species and sex of the bird. Now only a fully feathered wing is required. You no longer need to leave the head attached. This allows the breast portion of the bird to be separated from the back. This allows more complete field dressing, and some hunters only eat the breast anyway.
The next change I really like, and that is the fact that coyote hunters no longer need permits for the radios to hunt them. The new rules state that radios can be used without a permit as long as you are hunting an unprotected species. These permits were a pain. This is great rule change.
For those of you who care, the beaver season is now to close on May 15. I don’t know when it closed before but I’m sure it was a different date.
Another rule change in Minnesota is that the daily bag limit for white tailed rabbits is one now per day with three in possession. The last one of the new rules in the book states that feral swine may not be possessed, hunted or trapped in the state.
There are places where feral hogs had been introduced or otherwise released in order to make money from hunters who would pay to hunt them. They do not want these feral swine to get a bigger foothold in the state than they do now, and this rule is intended to limit their expansion.
At the end of the day none of these regulation changes look to change my life in any great way. The elimination of radio permits is the only one that affects me.
The key is to know the rules. I was once told, and I never forgot, that “ignorance of the law is no excuse to break it.” I agree and think that every hunter and trapper should review the hunting and trapping handbook every year and should keep a copy in their vehicle for reference any time a question comes up.
Hunters, trappers and all outdoor users have a responsibility to be good sport people and we all have an obligation to act ethically. Knowing the rules is the very first step in this process.