Be sure to double- and triple-check your regs

There are a bunch of areas that are open now for hunting. As the season goes on, more will open, and some will close. You have to be on your toes to keep track of all the season openings and closings.

There’s a lot to keep in mind when you’re hunting. You have to think like your quarry, remember where you put the truck, and make sure you’re not violating any game laws. And that’s the one that takes the most brain power.

Sorting out these hunting seasons is enough to give my underpowered brain a real workout. I carry a set of hunting regulations in my truck and another in my camera bag so they’ll be easy to get to when questions about season dates come up. As though that’s not enough, there’s another set at home and yet another one at my desk at the office. A final set resides in the bag that holds my waders, hunting coat, gloves and shotgun shells. I don’t want to be caught anywhere wondering if it’s legal to smoke a duck or not.

Starting about June, I check the regulations on a nearly daily basis. When hunting season opens, I start to get a bit obsessive about it. If I’m at home or at work, I check the regs each time I think about a time and a place I could go hunting. When I actually get out in the field for the hunt, I check them almost hourly.

At least I do when I’m driving to my destination. If I see a deer or an elk off to the side of the road, or country that looks like it might be holding some critters, I have no objection to pulling over and finding out about the area.

Once I get to my area, I’m a little less nerdy about it. By the time I get there, I have the opening and closing dates pretty much memorized, as well as the area boundaries.

I started using the OnX Hunt app on my phone a few years ago, and it has the hunt area boundaries programmed right into it. But I still double-check it against the regulations.

Why am I so obsessive about the rules, you may ask? If so, my question to you is, “Why aren’t you?” There are plenty of reasons. Violations carry hefty fines. Also, hunters who don’t follow all the rules give us all a bad name. It’s important that we all lead by example.

Have fun this season, but hunt responsibly.

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