Know the rules before you take to the field

Every year, game wardens wear out their dominant hands writing citations to hunters who don’t follow the law.

Some game violations are committed out of pure disregard for the law, and some are just simple mistakes. But there are a few that seem to be the most common offenses every hunting season. Number 10 on that list is taking an animal of the wrong sex. That could be chalked up to mistaken identity, or it might be someone trying to get away with something. Look closely at the animal before you pull the trigger. Number 9 is the transfer of a license to another person. In Wyoming, that’s not allowed. Period. The license is issued to one person and one person alone. The same goes for conservation stamps and duck stamps. Make sure you sign your stamps on their faces before you go hunting.

Number 8 is failure to carry a hunter education card. If you were born in 1966 or later, you have to have completed a hunter education course. If you hunt in Grand Teton National Park or the Elk Refuge, you have to have one, no matter how old you are. Number 7 is trespassing. If you want to hunt on private land, you must have prior written permission from the landowner. You need permission to cross private land, as well. Number 6 is shooting from a public road. You have to be off the road and past the barrow ditch or across the fence.

Number 5 is failure to buy a conservation stamp. Make sure you get it before you go, and like I said earlier, sign that sucker.

Number 4 is hunting without blaze orange clothing. It can be fluorescent orange camo, and all you need is one article. But the more visible you have, the safer you’ll be. This requirement doesn’t apply to archery or waterfowl hunting.

Number 3 is hunting in the wrong area. Know where you are at all times.

Number 2 is failure to retain evidence of sex. If you have a license for a specific gender, you have to keep some evidence of the sex on the carcass.

And the most common violation is failure to properly tag the animal. As soon as you know the animal’s dead, sign the carcass coupon, detach it from the license, cut out the entire wedge for the day and month, then attach it to the carcass. During transport, you can remove it to keep it from getting lost, but it has to be in your possession. So know the rules, and follow ‘em. Stay out of trouble this hunting season.