As Minnesota hunters gear up for the deer season, DNR conservation officers are out in force to stop poachers. The general firearm deer season opens Nov. 4.
Various kinds of poaching are common in Minnesota, but deer poaching with a firearm is the most visible and most reported form. It peaks in the fall, when bucks are less cautious. Poachers often use a technique called "shining" when hunting at night. They shine a bright light on an animal to see it better and cause it to freeze in the light. Shining is illegal when the person casts the rays of an artificial light on a highway or in a field, woodland or forest to spot, locate or take a wild animal while possessing, either individually or as one of a group, a firearm, bow or other implement that could be used to kill big game.
The exceptions to this regulation are when:
-- the firearm is unloaded, cased and in the closed trunk of a motor vehicle, or;
-- the bow is completely encased or unstrung and in the trunk of a motor vehicle. (If the motor vehicle does not have a trunk, the firearm or bow must be in the rear most portion of the vehicle.)
The penalty for deer shining is a gross misdemeanor punishable by up to a $3,000 fine and/or one year in jail.
With or without a firearm or bow, no person may cast the rays of an artificial light into a field, woodland or forest to spot, locate or take a wild animal between the hours of 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. from Sept. 1 through Dec. 31. It is not a violation of this law to shine lights while doing any agricultural, occupational or recreational activity, including snowmobiling, not related to spotting, locating or taking of a wild animal.
The shining regulation does not apply to taking raccoons or tending traps.
Brainerd Dispatch ©2013. All Rights Reserved.