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wannafish2

Rifle shots ringing out before gun season-want your opinions

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So some of you have probably seen me post questions here and there before and know that I've been trying for the last 5 years to take my first archery deer.  This year still trying.  Fantastic weather and it sure is nice out there seeing some activity.  What I don't like is all the rifle shots I've been hearing ringing out in that last hour or so before sundown during that magical time when the deer are moving the most.  Last year during gun season there was barely any shooting, and we all know the deer numbers (and doe permits) were down. But this is a new season. What the heck is going on?  I haven't heard this much shooting since intensive harvest and it's not even gun season yet!  I know what some of you are wondering so while I vent, let me assure you of this....

I've been hunting with shotguns and rifles for over 35 years and I know the difference between a high powered rifle shot and a shotgun shot

I also can tell the difference between when someone is sighting in their rifle and when they are just shooting

The worst was when I was on stand Wednesday morning at 840 and a nice buck snuck up right behind me and walked right under my stand (and I mean right under me)  I looked through my feet at him.  I waited and drew, but when he stopped he stopped straight away and didn't give me a shot.  As he left I tried to grunt him back in and rattled a little to no avail.  He walked towards the neighbors place which was about 250 yards away.  I knew the guy was home because I had heard his atv start up earlier and some other noises from his place.  10 minutes later, 2 rifle shots.  I just knew he had shot at that buck. 

Visualize 4 40 acre plots.  Where they all meet in the center is where I was sitting in a tree stand with my bow.  The top L 40 is woods (our family's)  the bottom L 40 is field (ours) and the bottom R 40 is pine woods (ours) the top R 40 is woods (his).  He also has a big tower stand literally at the same center spot that they gun hunt from.  He keeps his property edges open and shoots down the lanes.  He hunts our woods and our field from his stand as well and we have never had any issues before that we know of.  He knows my stand is there and while I don't actively hunt his property, the deer do travel from his 40 onto ours and he has told me that he doesn't care if I needed to recover one on his property or if I shot one from that stand with my bow.

15 minutes after the shots, here he comes on his atv no orange vest or hat, with his rifle at the ready.  He gets off the atv and checks his big tower stand (I guess in preparation for the opener), gets back down, on the atv and leaves.  He never looked at me or noticed I was there in my tree stand - literally 10 feet from his stand.  If he had opened the windows of his tower stand we would've been looking eye to eye.

Now, I don't know if he shot that buck or not, but I would be willing to swear he was the one who shot the rifle.  No one else lives there other than his wife, and she has never hunted (in her 70's now), do you think I should've turned him in?  some people seem to think there's not much that can be done and that most landowners can do what they want anyway.  I should also tell you that this property is in my family but it is not mine, and my relatives are also elderly and have been neighbors with these people for a very long time.  Where do we draw the ethical line?  I'll tell you what I did, I called our local DNR. right from my stand.  and I told him the same thing I just told you good people here.  I don't know if our neighbor actually shot a deer out of season or not and I hope he didn't (maybe he was shooting at a nuisance raccoon) and it's just a coincidence that he fired right after that buck walked by me and I was grunting and rattling, but I want to give a shout out to Conservation Officer Brian Holte (sp) of the Minnesota DNR for listening to a very frustrated hunter while she vented on her cell phone the other morning. 

What do you think?  should I have called? or not?

Edited by wannafish2
remove mentioned area

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It used to be you couldn't shoot so many days before the deer firearms opener other than at a designate range.  I tried searching the regs, but didn't find that part.  Maybe it isn't an issue any more?

 

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It used to be you couldn't shoot so many days before the deer firearms opener other than at a designate range.  I tried searching the regs, but didn't find that part.  Maybe it isn't an issue any more?

 

It is there in the regs, but many don't pay any attention.

 

From the regs-
"No person may possess a firearm or ammunition outdoors beginning the
fifth day before the open deer firearms season and ending
the second day after
the close of the season where deer may be taken by firearms, except:
• A person hunting big game with a valid firearms big game license in
possession.
• Possession is also legal under these conditions:
› An unloaded firearm that is cased or in a closed trunk of a motor vehicle.
› A shotgun and shells containing No. 4 buckshot or smaller.
› A handgun or rifle with .22 caliber short, long, or long rifle, magnum or
.17 caliber rimfire cartridges.
› Handguns possessed by a person with a permit to carry.
› On a target range or under a target range permit issued by a
conservation officer."

The guy may have shot at the deer and may have not.  I really don't think he would have been afield on the wheeler if he had just shot a deer. But there are way too many suspicious shots.  I was on stand the other night when there was a single shot ten minutes after sunset.  Pretty sure that wasn't sighting in.

Edited by Big-Al
Typo

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And his reply to the CO will be the same as a guy in our area, coyotes.

Last Sunday night in the last 1/2 hour I heard at least 25 shots from 30.06 type rifles, if you're sighting in then you have mental problems, could hardly see but heard more shots then the last few openers. There's so much riff raff going on out there but we'll all be on the same page finally at 6:37 AM  if you're in the add 8.

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Do those rules about firearms prior to gun season apply to private land?  The regs don't specify, leading me to think they do.  

Seems weird I can't shoot pumpkins off my deck with a desert eagle, if is so choose.  Also sounds like the least enforced law of all time.

Edited by bobbymalone

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 I just knew he had shot at that buck. 

 

If you felt that strongly that he had indeed shot, or shot at the deer, then yes, I would say that calling the co would have been the right thing to do. The problem I see, is it he wasn't, or it wasn't even him shooting,  and he figures out you were the one who called him in, there could be some bad blood between you, and from the sounds of it, you hunt very close to each other, which would make for some intense situations. I would have to be 100% certain that he was doing something wrong, but that's my opinion on the situation. Just my.02

Edited by icehole10

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Sorry MrKlean but No way it was him sighting in his gun.  You are entitled to your opinion, but, honestly, I will say it is common knowledge that this guy and another neighbor shoot deer out of season all the time.  This was just the one time that I was out in the woods when the shots happened right when I knew a deer was walking right near his house.  I just hope that he's a bad shot and missed that deer the other day.  One of these days he's going to get caught.  Bottom line is, the DNR officers are too few and their area's of coverage are too large.  They just can't walk onto someone's land and say "hey, heard a report you were shooting a little while ago, didn't happen to poach a deer did ya huh?" and expect an honest answer from a dishonest person.  That guy could clean that deer and put the meat in the freezer, shoot another deer (maybe even with a tag) during the season and no one would ever know the meat was from two deer without a dna test.  It is very frustrating to know that 1+1 = 2 but also know there is very little chance anything will ever happen to stop it.  Especially when other law abiding hunters (like me) hunt hard and would really like another chance at that (or any other) deer, don't have much land to hunt and know that some one-who-thinks-I-am-silly is out there just randomly shooting at them out of season.  And, he was out on his atv so soon afterwards there is no way he spent any time looking for a blood trail if he wounded the animal with a bad shot.  just sayin.  It's frustrating.  

Also, here I am all in camo and this guy is throwing lead around the woods.  Made me glad I wasn't sitting im my ground blind that day. 

Thanks Ice,  I am 100% sure in my heart, but can't prove it.  He is an older guy and maybe all it would take is a visit from the CO to get him to stop.  If I thought he needed the meat to feed his family I would clam up and actually, probably even give him some of my deer (if I ever shoot one);) with my bow.  I used to hunt with my dad with rifles but he's gone now so it's just not the same.  Anyway, I could care less about bad blood at this point, and really don't want him poaching on our property, because he does hunt our acreage as well.  Guess we'll have to see how it all plays out.  It's really too bad cuz he and the other guy that "lives off the land" one is to the North and the other is to the South of our acreage.  Getting us from both sides.

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I think a lot of guys shoot a couple shots Friday afternoon to see if there gun "is on" since they only deer hunt one weekend a year and don't take the time to sight it in some other time.  While illegal I'd guess that is the lion's share of these single shots we hear not someone whacking a deer early.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Have to admit the rule is kinda idk. If you have to obey the book as I do cuz my conscience would kill me, the illegals are going out regardless and rule followers never cross the line and this sight in law I doubt would sway them to poke a goat if it wasn't on the books. I do get I could mess with a few people though, those property line stands, I'd sight in right next to them lol, no I wouldn't but plenty would use the most lowest key area on their land, they could to subliminally harass the area anyway. Another issue is I sight in here on my ground with every gun we own the night before season but I actually hunt an hour away. Hey in the end, good luck in the morning !!!! 6:29AM if ur in the table, the OTC is add 8 so 6:37AM, but we'll all hear shots before that or I'd be shocked if a lot of us didn't. 

PS. in the farm country, open land.

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well having spent 35 years afield, in my opinion if you firmly belive he did something wrong, then yur were justified in calling. but I know after all the years in stand and listening to whats going on around you, what you see and what you hear are so far on each end of that spectrum, the truthn is decieving. So decieving that youd be embarresed to admit it. Ive done it, and have experienced it first hand to many times. its an mind game of, "are you kidding me" "I cant believe that just happend" just from shot fired, to machines runing around, that plays such a huge frustration card in your mind, that it must be true. I cant begine to count the times ive gotten out of stand to investigat shots, or machines only to find out that what took place was perfect legal and in the confines of the law. If I own a farm, aint no one telling me I cant fire my gun anytime I want to. Ive been in yur situation alot, but there always seems to be an reasonable answer to the situation. just because the buck walked over there dosent mean he shot it. 

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Chances are the landowner took a couple of shots at the deer but only shoots as good as Boar spells. The problem here is we have so called "hunters" breaking the rules whether they know it or not, most likely know it. We as hunters have a choice to make when we have gun in our hand about shooting after hours or out of season ,ect,  Who here hasn't heard that shot too early in the morning or 1/2 hour after dark or more. We need to report these guys and do everything we can to protect our favorite past time or it will disappear.

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Thanks everybody,  all of you make very good points.  I don't regret making the call, and in my heart of hearts, I hope he wasn't doing anything illegal.  I just know that if it was gun season, and my hunting partner and I were hunting 200 yards apart, I saw a buck that didn't offer me a shot heading his way and 10 minutes later heard 2 shots in the same way they happened, I would've been getting down to head over and help my buddy drag the deer out.  That's how typical the scenario was.  But, there are a lot of other options.  The buck could've chased  out a doe that he shot at, and missed.  He could've missed the buck, or he could've been shooting at a bunny rabbit or a nuisance raccoon or a fox and the timing is just ironic.  I'll keep trying to convince myself to give him the benefit of the doubt.  Thanks.

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