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December 7, 2013

Redneck Quaker: Don’t get itchy trigger finger when animals wander

TERRE HAUTE — I felt compelled to write these words for the sake of you night hunters — or let’s say coon hunters — as well as deer hunters.

In my coon-hunting days, if your hounds ran a coon on to posted property, you left your weapon at the property line and went straight in to retrieve your dogs and come back out the same way you went in. Well, we were actually wrong because you have to get permission from the landowner before stepping a foot on their property. The same goes for tracking a wounded deer.

Each county has its own leash laws, so study up on those to close those gray areas on whether a dog should be chained up or kenneled.

Yes, in some southern states, it was legal to run deer with dogs, but not Indiana!

Last year, the Indiana Department of Natural Resources received multiple complaints about pet dogs being shot or disappearing during deer season. Many of the complaints came back as the family pet having strayed and run afoul of hunters. Is the dog at fault? No, it cannot read “No Trespassing” signs. Besides, he may be on the trail of a coon or getting ready to point a bird. Shooting or killing a dog is a serious crime. Indiana Code 35-46-3-12 specifies maiming or killing a dog is a Class D felony punishable by up to three years in prison and a $10,000 fine. Even if a dog wanders onto someone’s private property and disturbs his hunting activity, it is still a crime to shoot the dog.

Below are answers to the most frequent asked questions on this topic:

n “What if I thought it was a coyote?” Game identification is a very important part of hunting. No ethical hunter will take a shot at something if he or she isn’t completely sure of its identification. If you are having trouble figuring out the difference between a coyote and a domesticated dog, you need to get glasses and study your wildlife ID some more.

n “Does it matter if the dog gets shot with an arrow?” Dead is dead. No, you can’t shoot the dog with anything that will cause harm.

n “Isn’t there some kind of exempting to the law?” The exempting in the law relate to protecting people from injury and protecting property from substantial damage, not because a dog may interfere with a hunt.

n “I spend a lot of time getting ready for the big hunt. Aren’t there some laws requiring dog owners to keep their animals on a leash? If they violate the law, don’t I have a right to shoot the dog?” Someone violating one law does not automatically give you the right to violate another. In addition, according to IC15-20-1-4, a nonaggressive dog wandering onto agricultural or forested land does not commit a violation.

Dog owners are encouraged to be courteous during hunting seasons to make sure they don’t allow their pets to roam and disrupt hunters.

Keep in the back of your mind that if the dog you shot belongs to the landowner or a well-liked neighbor, you or anyone else will never hunt hose woods again. You can always come back for that deer another time. A good rule of thumb is to notify the landowner and your local conservation officer if you have other animals giving you problems.

Did you know the true definition of a “vegetarian”? One who hunts poorly!

I want to go coon hunting, so please give me a call at 812-877-4688 or email kwbayless@aol.com.

 

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