Woody has confirmed that the chief drawback(s) of having too many laws on the books, games codes or otherwise, is that the true intent of the law as legislated becomes confused due to vagueness (wording), contradictory sections, and misinterpretation of intent by the enforcing officer who fails to clearly understand the law that he or she is enforcing. It has been my experience that conservation officers are often the worse offenders of misinterpretation.
The Illinois game code regarding the use of a climbing device to take furbearing animals
has been on the books for a very long time, and is a good example of vagueness of intent.
The actual intent of this particular law was/is (primarily) to make it unlawful for " coon hunters" to use any type of climbing device to climb a tree, or any other manmade or natural elevated structure, to hand-capture live raccoons or kill a raccoon coon, or any other furbearing animal, in/on the tree (structure) or in its den.
However, knowing that laws are constantly revised, I checked with my local DNR office regarding the interpretation for today regarding the climbing device law vs. hunting coyotes from any elevation position, mainly a treestand of any type.
As the officer said, if the law did make it unlawful to hunt/kill coyotes from any type of treestand, he was in serious trouble. He said that he has killed many coyotes from his treestand. I did not ask with bow or gun because it was irrelevant being it is not unlawful (unless specifically prohibited in certain state sites) to hunt from a tree with gun or bow.
He verified his understanding of the law with his Captain whom was standing nearby. The Captain said that the best way to interpret the " climbing device" law is to say: " It is not unlawful to hunt coyotes from a treestand of any type."
Does that mean you will never run into an officer with an opposite interpretation. No! If you do, you have two choices;
1) Advise the officer that you have confirmed that the code does not apply to hunting coyotes (or fox, or other forbearing animals) from a tree stand, but that you will not argue the law in the field. Tell him or her that you will politely accept a citation and present your argument in court.
2) Tell the officer that he or she needs to go back to conservation law school, and that he or she should be trying to apprehend serious offenders rather than wasting your tax money on petty stuff, especially when you appear to know the law better than he or she does. It might also help to throw in a few comments about possible heredity influence regarding ignorance.