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Accidentally broke law - need advice

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Accidentally broke law - need advice

Old 11-09-2005, 07:10 PM
  #1  
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Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: Dallas, TX
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Default Accidentally broke law - need advice

This is my second deer season in the woods. No luck last year. Hard luck this year.

On opening day in East Texas, I shot and killed a good-sized doe on my in-laws property. (First deer! I was very excited.) I had an old-timer help me dress it out quite nicely and then drove it to a game processor. At the processor, the game warden tells me that even though I have a hunting license with antlerless tags and I have followed almost all the rules, I did not obtain an "antlerless permit" and so have an illegal deer. He impounds it as evidence, writes me a citation and sends me away frustrated and dejected.

I spoke with the Justice of the Peace today and she quoted me $250, fine and court fees in full. I did not plead either way on the phone and she said I could think on it.

I know that this is not the ideal forum for legal advice, but I don't want to drop $250 per hour to fight this either. Here are some of my thoughts on fighting this:
1- The Outdoor Annual is very poorly written and the paragraph pertaining to my offense is as clear as mud. Each county has its own bag limits and as I have learned, rules regarding hunting for antlerless deer. I feel like I am being fined for being unable to read the mind of whatever person composed this paragraph. No doubt, they are immersed in hunting and law, but I am not. Here it is:
"White-tailed Deer - Archery Season: October 1 - 30 (no antlerless permit required except on MLD property); General Season: November 5 - January 1 (November 24 - 27, no antlerless permit required except on LAMPS or MLD property; November 5 - 23 and November 28 - January 1, antlerless by permit only). Bag limit: 3 (1 buck and 2 antlerless, all seasons combined)."

Keep in mind that this is one paragraph of a 76 page manual, so my eyes were rather glazed over when I read it.

2- This is my first ever offense outside of two speeding tickets.
3- My father-in-law and a nephew have both been injured in vehicle collisions with deer. Deer hunting continues to decline in popularity. State Farm tells us that Texas is a top 10 state for deer collisions. Hunters spent at least 1.5 Billion dollars in Texas last year. Why are they making this so hard for this newbie deer hunter? Is it any wonder that hunting's popularity is fading? Will Texas Parks and Wildlife support itself

When I went out hunting, the rules were rather unclear to me, obviously. I knew everyone keeps talking about the exploding deer population. I knew about my family members and their deer collisions. I did not know about the history in which deer hunting meant "bucks only" for decades. I have been learning, since Saturday... Even my brother-in-law, who has taken about a dozen deer including does, did not know about this business. He hunts a county that doesn't require an "antlerless permit". Originally, he was coming with me on opening day and we likely would have nailed two or more does. The herd I spotted had four or five deer! I only got one of them.

At least this is "just" a Class C misdemeanor, like a speeding ticket. My guardian angel was looking out for me as I missed the second deer I fired on. If I had shown up at the processor with two illegal does... Thank you, Lord!

I feel like I will never have any closure regarding this lovely animal. I killed it, dressed it out, and then it was taken from me and I'm facing additional punishment.

Any advice on reducing my punishment (max fine is $500, JP proposed $250) or getting a better deal would be appreciated. I'm not expecting Yale Law quality legal advice, either. Perhaps some things I can tell the JP. Legally speaking, my citation says I am to appear in court on a Sunday morning at 9am. The game warden must have had a brain cramp on that one. Could this get me off?




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Old 11-09-2005, 07:22 PM
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Default RE: Accidentally broke law - need advice

Ignorance of the law is no excuse in the eyes of a court. More than likely you will be fined. And, depending on your states laws the outcome might hinder your future hunting abilities. I would definitely be checking into that. Good luck
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Old 11-09-2005, 07:24 PM
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Default RE: Accidentally broke law - need advice

I don't mean to be rude, but you broke the law. If you have a question concerning the bag limit of the county youare hunting in,you can callTPWD. They would love to help you out.

It is absolutely your responsibility as a hunter to know and understand the rules and regulations regarding your intended prey and the means of takinggame. I don't know how else to say this.

I also hunt in a no-doe county in East Texas, and that regulation is there for a reason. Thedeer-car collisions mean nothingabout the deer population in the county you are hunting in.

Best of luck, I know youwill not make the same mistake twice.

Will
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Old 11-09-2005, 07:30 PM
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Default RE: Accidentally broke law - need advice

Wait I'm lost, I really dont understand what it going on.

1. Did he not tag the doe?

2. Did he kill a doe in a county that does not allow you to kill one?

At the processor, the game warden tells me that even though I have a hunting license with antlerless tags and I have followed almost all the rules, I did not obtain an "antlerless permit" and so have an illegal deer
"White-tailed Deer - Archery Season: October 1 - 30 (no antlerless permit required except on MLD property); General Season: November 5 - January 1 (November 24 - 27, no antlerless permit required except on LAMPS or MLD property; November 5 - 23 and November 28 - January 1, antlerless by permit only). Bag limit: 3 (1 buck and 2 antlerless, all seasons combined)."



In Texas as long as you have an antlerless tag on your doe, you do not need an additonal anterless permit. And if the quote above is talking about the county that rgarnad3006 is hunting in, then it states in the regulations that you can legally take 2 does. What am I missing here??
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Old 11-09-2005, 07:37 PM
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Default RE: Accidentally broke law - need advice

WELL I SUPPOSE YOU CAN PLEAD IGNORANT ON BREAKINGANY LAW HOWEVER YOU EITHER BROKE THE LAW OR YOU DIDEN'T ... ITS LIKE A SPEEDING TICKET ...YOU WERE EITHER SPEEDING OR YOU WERN'T .. IF YOU FEEL YOU WHERE UNJUSTLY CITED THEN FIGHT IT ...BUT IF YOU KNOW THAT YOU BROKE THE LAW JUST BE A MAN AND PAY THE FINE AND LEARN A LESSON ..WE LIVE IN ALABAMA AND ALSO HUNT TENNESSEE ... ONE YEAR MY SON AND I WHERE CHECKED BY A TENNESSEE GAME WARDEN ... WE BOTH HADNON RESIDENCE LICENSE ($156.00 )..WE HAD WRITTEN PERMISSION TO BE ON THE LAND WE WERE HUNTING ....BUT THE GAME WARDEN TOLD ME HE WAS GOING TO HAVE TO ARREST MY SON WHO DID NOT HAVE A HUNTERS SAFTY CARD OF ALL THINGS...AT THE TIME MY SON WAS ABOUT 25 AND WHEN WE PURCHASED THE NR LICENSE AT A WALMART IN TENNESSEE NO ONE TOLD US HE NEEDED A HUNTERS SAFTY CARD TO GO ALONG WITH HIS NR LICENSE ... THERE WHERE NO SIGNS IN THE STORE THAT EXPLAINED HE NEEDED ONE ..TO MAKE A SHORT STORY LONG ..I HAD TO PAY A $285.00 FINE ON TOP OF THE $156.00 NR LICENSE AND THAT WAS AFTER THEY FINGER PRINTED HIM AND TOOK MUG SHOTS ... I WAS PISSED OFF ABOUT IT BUT THE FACT OF THE MATTER WAS WE HAD BROKE THE LAW EVEN THO WE DID NOT KNOW IT WAS A LAW... NEEDLESS TO SAY THE NEXT YEAR MY SON HAD HIS HUNTERS SAFTY CARD AND NOW IS AN INSTRUCTOR .... MORAL TO THIS STORY ... IF THE SHOE FITS ...PAY THE FINE ..

DD
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Old 11-09-2005, 07:49 PM
  #6  
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Default RE: Accidentally broke law - need advice

General Season: November 5 - January 1 (November 24 - 27, no antlerless permit required except on LAMPS or MLD property; November 5 - 23 and November 28 - January 1, antlerless by permit only)

you shot one between 5th and 23rd of november so you would indeed need a anterless permit as seen in the red marked line,so it wouldn't pay to fight it , you will in all likelyhood loose the battle and ending up paying a whole lot more then just a fine...

the only legal time for you to shoot a anterless deer WITHOUT permit is between november 24 and 27 ...as shown in the blue line..

hope that is a bit more clear now...
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Old 11-09-2005, 07:52 PM
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Join Date: Feb 2003
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Default RE: Accidentally broke law - need advice

Most JP courts are not in session all the time. IF YOUR CASE WAS ADJOURNED TO A SUNDAY, it was probably adjourned to a date the court was not in session. This is a technicality that may cause the court to lose jurisdiction and be grounds for a dismissal. It might be worth having an office consultation with a local attorney to check this out.
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Old 11-09-2005, 08:01 PM
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Default RE: Accidentally broke law - need advice

So I'm not the only one confused here.

Here is my plain English version of what the key paragraph should say:
"General season - November 5, 2005 - January 1, 2006. An antlerless permit is required during the general season except for November 24 - 27, 2005."

Unfortunately, the statement "no antlerless permit required" appears twice and "antlerless by permit only" is only tacked on to the end of the paragraph. I did not realize there was a difference between an antlerless tag attached to my license and an antlerless permit which must be applied for and purchased in addition to the license and its misleading tags.

As for those who say "I should have known better", perhaps I should consult my lawyer before hunting next time, if there is a next time. I was on private property, had read the entire Outdoor Annual, tagged my doe correctly, and was hunting on opening day. I'm being fined the same amount for not having this antlerless permit as someone who flouted the law and shot a deer out of season. My father-in-law points out that I could have bought another freezer for what this fine will cost me. It irritates the hell out of me that the burden of knowing the law is being laid entirely on me. Am I not paying a small fortune in taxes this year to the people who created this poorly-written paragraph? Do I have to call some bureaucrat every time I run into something unclear that may have legal ramifications? That is essentially what the game warden and some other folks on this forum are telling me. Is this what we expect of a citizen of a republic or of a subject in a monarchy?

Please do not post in ALL CAPS.


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Old 11-09-2005, 08:02 PM
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Join Date: Nov 2005
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Default RE: Accidentally broke law - need advice

There are a lot of counties in east Texas that require the land owner to have put in for "doe tags." I will be hunting in east texas this weekend
and my buddies father puts in for doe tags every year.

The bad news is that your interpretation of the laws and regs. and the states defintion of laws and regs are not on the same page. My advice to you is next time you are unsure, contact your local game wardenclear explanation.

Maybe if you talk w/ the judge they could reduce the penalty or
deferred ajudication?

At any rate, good luck!
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Old 11-09-2005, 08:21 PM
  #10  
 
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Default RE: Accidentally broke law - need advice

ignorance is never an excuse..i suppose you could get yourself a good lawyer and argue about the reg's not being clear enough, and it really does sound to me like more of a mess than our reg's here, but i'd just pay the fine. maybe work out a deal where you'd pay up and plead guilty as long as you get to keep your hunting rights.


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