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Taking Game

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Legal methods of taking game

Definition of take

The term shall include taking, attempting to take, pursuing, hunting, molesting, capturing, or killing any wildlife or freshwater fish, or their nests or eggs by any means whether or not such actions result in obtaining possession of such wildlife or freshwater fish or their nests or eggs.

Resident game birds and mammals

Rifles, shotguns, pistols, longbows, compound bows, recurve bows, crossbows and birds of prey (falcons, hawks and great horned owls) may be used. Longbows, compound bows, recurve bows must have minimum draw weights of 35 pounds. Hand-held releases may be used. Arrows used to take deer, turkeys or hogs must be equipped with broadheads having at least two sharpened edges with minimum widths of 7/8 inch. Air guns may be used to take gray squirrel and rabbit only.

Hunting deer with a muzzleloader

Muzzleloading guns firing single bullets must be at least .40-caliber or larger. Muzzleloading guns firing two or more balls must be 20-gauge or larger.

Migratory game birds

Shotguns (not larger than 10-gauge) plugged to a three-shell capacity including a one-piece filler that cannot be removed without disassembling the gun and total capacity does not exceed three shells. Birds of prey, bows and crossbows may be used.

Prohibited methods and equipment for taking game

  • This document doesn’t address or advise persons as to local ordinances prohibiting the discharge of firearms or as to the validity of such ordinances.
  • Taking migratory game birds with a shotgun capable of holding more than three rounds (plugged)
  • Centerfire semi-automatic rifles having magazine capacities of more than five rounds
  • Nonexpanding full metal case (military ball) ammunition for taking deer
  • Firearms using rimfire cartridges for taking deer
  • Rifles or pistols for taking migratory game birds
  • Fully automatic firearms
  • Explosive or drug-injecting arrows
  • Taking or attempting to take with live decoys, recorded game calls or sounds, set guns, artificial lights, nets, traps, snares, drugs or poisons
  • Shooting from vehicles, powerboats or sailboats moving under power. Motors must be shut off or sails furled, and progress must cease from such motor or sail before taking game.
  • Herding or driving game with vehicles, boats or aircraft
  • Hunting turkeys with dogs
  • Taking turkeys while they are on the roost
  • Taking migratory game birds over baited areas
  • Taking turkeys when the hunter is within 100 yards of a game-feeding station when feed is present
  • Taking spotted fawn deer or swimming deer
  • Hunting with bows equipped with sights or aiming devices with electronic computational capabilities or light projection (laser) features during archery season
  • Hunting game using bows with draw weights less than 35 pounds
  • Using dogs without collars that identify the owners name and address
  • Using dogs on private lands without written landowner permission (see Statewide deer-dog registration on General Information)
  • Placing, exposing or distributing soporific, anesthetic, tranquilizer, hypnotic or similar drugs or chemicals; preparation by baits; or by other means where game birds or game animals may be affected.

Regulations in red are new this year.

Purple text indicates an important note.

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