Friday, February 23 , 2018, 3:09 am | Fair 47º


Outdoors Q&A: What’s Most Common Hunting Violation?

Question: At the recent International Sportsmen’s Exposition in Sacramento, I stopped by the California Sportsmen’s Theater to hear the California Department of Fish and Wildlife leadership panel discussion.

During the presentation, I heard the chief of law enforcement say the most common citation issued for fishing violations is fishing without a license.

This piqued my curiosity as to what the most commonly cited hunting violation is. (Steven P., Elk Grove)

Answer: Thank you for taking the time to stop by and hear the panel presentation at the show. This question came up among a couple of wildlife officers recently who took a couple guesses before running the query to get the statistical facts.

They speculated that the most common hunting violation would be either hunter trespassing or having a loaded long gun in a motor vehicle.

Both of these violations are far more common than they should be, since they both require a conscious decision and show a dangerous disregard for safety and ethics.

Ultimately, the statistics show the latter — having a loaded long gun in a vehicle — is the most common.

The vast majority of hunters and anglers are law-abiding. Only a small percentage hunt or fish in violation.

In 2017, California wildlife officers issued 11,693 citations, 139 of which were for having a loaded rifle or shotgun in or on a vehicle. This troubling reality is reckless and extremely dangerous to everyone in or around the vehicle.

Accidental firearm discharge within a vehicle will always have significant consequences: damage to property, loss of life, or both.

It is the goal of our hunter education program and department to see this senseless violation avoided. We encourage everyone to be sure to unload their firearms before climbing in or upon any vehicle to avoid risk of a tragedy, or at minimum, a citation.

— Carrie Wilson is a marine biologist with the California Department of Fish & Wildlife. She can be reached at [email protected].

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