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Thread: Are you allowed to "back up" another hunter, regarding shooting an animal?

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    Member tccak71's Avatar
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    Default Are you allowed to "back up" another hunter, regarding shooting an animal?

    My girlfriend is going out for her cow/antlerless hunt this week with her daughter's boyfriend. (I can't take the time off right now.)

    If my girlfriend shoots a cow and connects twice (pick your number of times, I think it's irrelevant) and the moose doesn't go down and is going to "get away," can her hunting partner put it down? (She's a descent shot and her effective range is 200 +/- yards.)

    If the partner DOES aid/assist (if necessary) is it her HER moose or her partner's moose (who does not have a permit)?

    I've always believed that as long as the shooter (my girlfriend) connects and HITS the animal (and keeps shooting until out of cartridges), but the partner has to take the final shot, it's still HER moose. Is this correct? (If she shoots and CLEARLY MISSES and the partner shoots & kills the moose, I believe this to be an illegal and ticketable offense; is that correct?)

    I can't find it in the regs. Can someone help? Is it in the Alaska Statutes? Can someone post a link to the statue defining this?

    What's your take on this senario? Thanks for your input.

    Tim

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    Member JuliW's Avatar
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    Personally, I would not give her backup if I did not also have a tag for that hunt. I think Fish and Game might have an issue with it...I understand it can happen, but the liklihood, if she is fully prepared (competent with her rifle) is that it will not. And it sounds like she is.

    If both people have a tag, and a finish up shot is needed, she would tag the animal as long as she made the first lethal shot.

    That is my take
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    Member martentrapper's Avatar
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    If both hunters have license/tag and both put a shot in to the animal, either can tag. There is nothing in the regs on first shooter, last shooter, etc.

    My daughter had a Delta Bison tag last year. In the packet each tag holder got, there is a list of rules applying to the hunt. One item is a designated "back up" hunter. The info says the back up hunter must have a license and abide by the same bullet size and power that the tag holder is supposed to comply with................200 gr. bullet with 2000 ft lbs at the muzzle.(Someone correct me if my memory is off)
    Before we started hunting I had a conversation with Sgt. Justin Rodgers who is here in Fbks. I asked about unlicensed persons assisting in recovering wounded animals. He explained that because of the def. of "hunting" and the def. of "take" (you'll have to look it up on your own) any person in the field attempting to take or help take an animal must be licensed and tagged for that species.
    HOWEVER, he also added that AST recognizes the requirement to recover wounded animals and is reluctant to push the hard line on the license/tag requirement.
    You are correct on the tagged hunter missing and the untagged hunter hitting. That happened somewhat regularly in the Bison hunt and citations were usually issued.
    I asked Justin about the Bison hunt back up hunter and how can the state sanction a person who is technically illegal, if he doesn't have a Bison tag. It took a few days for him to answer but supposedly the back up hunter part has been removed from the Bison hunt information. If anyone can verify that, who holds a Bison tag this year, I would be interested in that.
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    Never seen a reg on it in hunt regs but there is a reg for guides concerning it in the guide regs. Don't quote me cause it does get confusing with the whole "take" thing but as long as she draws first blood I wouldn't have a problem backing her up. But I'm also not the one writing the tickets

  5. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by tccak71 View Post

    I've always believed that as long as the shooter (my girlfriend) connects and HITS the animal (and keeps shooting until out of cartridges), but the partner has to take the final shot, it's still HER moose. Is this correct?


    Tim
    You are correct. If she shot it first and her partner helped finish it off, I would say it is still her animal. In my opinion, if the first hit was not fatal, it would be the right thing to do. But anybody could shoot the animal as long as tag holder is present.

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    Quote Originally Posted by tccak71 View Post
    My girlfriend is going out for her cow/antlerless hunt this week with her daughter's boyfriend. (I can't take the time off right now.)

    If my girlfriend shoots a cow and connects twice (pick your number of times, I think it's irrelevant) and the moose doesn't go down and is going to "get away," can her hunting partner put it down? (She's a descent shot and her effective range is 200 +/- yards.)

    If the partner DOES aid/assist (if necessary) is it her HER moose or her partner's moose (who does not have a permit)?

    I've always believed that as long as the shooter (my girlfriend) connects and HITS the animal (and keeps shooting until out of cartridges), but the partner has to take the final shot, it's still HER moose. Is this correct? (If she shoots and CLEARLY MISSES and the partner shoots & kills the moose, I believe this to be an illegal and ticketable offense; is that correct?)

    I can't find it in the regs. Can someone help? Is it in the Alaska Statutes? Can someone post a link to the statue defining this?

    What's your take on this senario? Thanks for your input.

    Tim
    I talked with fish and game about this last year. I was curious as to what would happen. The trooper I spoke with was kind of vague. He implied that as long as I shot the moose and back up was only used in an emergency and wasn't the only shot then I was ok.

    in our conversation the importance was placed on desire not to let wounded animal escape because of gun failure or something happening to me. I ended up not taking her though.

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    Member tccak71's Avatar
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    This conversation all came about when i told my girlfriend's daughter's boyfriend that she's a true shot out to 200, but if she doesn't hit it clean and the moose barrel's off and gets out to 300+ he may have to put it down. Then we started bantering about whether it's legal. (Girlfriend's daughter's boyfriend is an cop; hence all the questions. ) Believe me, I've spent way too much effort pouring over the AK Statutes trying to find something in writing and can't.
    http://www.touchngo.com/lglcntr/akstats/statutes.htm

    Keep the opinions coming...
    Thanks,
    Tim

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    I had this conversation with a adfg employee in Homer a few years ago. The background was that a coworker of mine drew a Homer cow tag, and I was going with him. She said that if a person shoots at a moose, whether first or second, that person is hunting, and better have the proper license and tags.
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    To me this sounds like a 2-parter: 1) What can be done with absolute total legality? 2) What can be reasonably done without sweating the risk?

    I hate vague regs, but see how they occur. I think the second shooter needs to be both licensed and carrying a valid tag; otherwise it becomes more like a party-hunt situation. I know when my tags are filled I don't carry a hunting weapon if assisting someone else with their hunt. Pointing a weapon toward and shooting at a game animal IS hunting in my book of definitions. If you're hunting, you'd better have the necessary paperwork to do it. I do 'get' where guides and backup shooters come into play on hunts, but I largely don't support anyone but the primary hunter doing the shooting. From my perspective, the first person to draw blood is given first right to tag the animal...forget the killing shot. The law really cares less however, so long as the shooters work it out and agree who gets to tag.

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    Member akgun&ammo's Avatar
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    I've had this discussion with two different Game Wardens (in separate States)..

    common consenses is that "first Blood" is not a legal standard. Even a "killing shot" may not be recognised as legally possessing the harvested game.

    Most States will recognize the historical significance of "first blood", and some even allow non-hunters to back-up new / yuong hunters.

    However, the best back-up is a licensed and properly tag carrying individual.

    Remember: the game warden on hte scene will try to decifer all the info and has to make a decision on legallity of that one event.

    I have back-up up "new hunters" on several occasions, only once was I worried about legality- that was on a deer that the "hunter" shot at 7 times...
    and I mistakenly assumed he had wounded it. (also had location issue: Ft Hood next to Duded AO, and restricted assess).

    each time a game warden got invovled; they were prefessional and did what was fair as well as legal according to the beliefs in place-
    First blood, gut shot moose and hunter unabled to continue the hunt.

    since your GF is a first time hunter, maybe back-up is advised.. hopefully not necessary for any thing except carrying meat out of the field.

    wishing good luck to her (and all first timers),

    Chris

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    Member Antleridge's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by martentrapper View Post
    ...I asked about unlicensed persons assisting in recovering wounded animals. He explained that because of the def. of "hunting" and the def. of "take" (you'll have to look it up on your own) any person in the field attempting to take or help take an animal must be licensed and tagged for that species.
    HOWEVER, he also added that AST recognizes the requirement to recover wounded animals and is reluctant to push the hard line on the license/tag requirement.
    You are correct on the tagged hunter missing and the untagged hunter hitting. That happened somewhat regularly in the Bison hunt and citations were usually issued.
    I asked Justin about the Bison hunt back up hunter and how can the state sanction a person who is technically illegal, if he doesn't have a Bison tag. It took a few days for him to answer but supposedly the back up hunter part has been removed from the Bison hunt information. If anyone can verify that, who holds a Bison tag this year, I would be interested in that.
    Interesting, I'd always assumed this, but have never seen it in writing. It makes sense, but can prove problematic since, as your Bison example points out, there are situations where someone w/o the specific tag might be the difference between recovery or loss.

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    Member jojomoose's Avatar
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    So we still don't have a definite answer..... I have backed up my buddy on a cow hunt. I took my cow the day before, and my buddy shot one the day after. The cow fell down stood back up, and I hit it again with my rifle. My buddy shot it one more time, and the cow was dead. did even think there was anything wrong with this method of backup. It is more ethical all around. I would like to know the REAL answer to this questions. No more I think or maybes.

  13. #13

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    I think the legality is actually pretty straightforward and has been well covered. A back-up shooter that is not legally hunting is not technically legal.

    Whether the personal eethical issue of an injured animal escaping is worth putting a backup shooter in legal risk is not a question of law. It is possible that the warden will share those ethical concerns and grant some slack. It is also possible that they will not.

    Take the time to get a good shot. Make it count. Don't expose your friend to legal risk on your behalf.

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    Forum Admin Brian M's Avatar
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    If backup shooters need to be properly licensed for that particular animal, how is it that guides can be backup shooters for game such as Kodiak bears and sheep where the guide is a non-resident? This happens with regularity, especially with brown bears, and I've never heard of it being prosecuted.

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    Member tccak71's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jojomoose View Post
    So we still don't have a definite answer..... I would like to know the REAL answer to this questions. No more I think or maybes.
    Yep, it's tough. I think the answers we're getting here are probably as good as it gets. I think a trooper/officer in the field would be just as indecisive as we are here. Seems like a citation would be based on the officers opinion and interpretation. The court would be left to sort it out.

    Tim

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    Member tccak71's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JuliW View Post
    Personally, I would not give her backup if I did not also have a tag for that hunt...
    If both people have a tag, and a finish up shot is needed, she would tag the animal as long as she made the first lethal shot.

    That is my take
    Well ma'am, seems like others concur with your opinion as well. Seems like the best case scenario too; to be licensed and tagged as well.

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    Member tccak71's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brian M View Post
    If backup shooters need to be properly licensed for that particular animal, how is it that guides can be backup shooters for game such as Kodiak bears and sheep where the guide is a non-resident? This happens with regularity, especially with brown bears, and I've never heard of it being prosecuted.
    Good one. My gf's pard insists that for youth and certain hunts (like Martentrapper mentioned previously for bison) that backup was okay, but not in the circumstance that I presented. Guides must fall into another category completely.




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    Quote Originally Posted by Brian M View Post
    If backup shooters need to be properly licensed for that particular animal, how is it that guides can be backup shooters for game such as Kodiak bears and sheep where the guide is a non-resident? This happens with regularity, especially with brown bears, and I've never heard of it being prosecuted.
    Good point Brian. I can remember when I was guiding (over 10 years ago now so things may have changed), all that was required for the guide was to have a general hunting license. I never even carried harvest tickets, because I rarely had the opportunity to harvest anything myself. Guides are (were) not allowed to harvest an animal while they are on a contract with a client. Once the client has left the field it was okay, but the registered guides I used to work for did not allow us to harvest an animal until the end of the season. As for the non-resident thing, I am not sure because I was a resident when I was guiding. But I did not some non-resident guides and I believe they only needed a general license as well.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bushwhack Jack View Post
    Good point Brian. I can remember when I was guiding (over 10 years ago now so things may have changed), all that was required for the guide was to have a general hunting license. I never even carried harvest tickets, because I rarely had the opportunity to harvest anything myself. Guides are (were) not allowed to harvest an animal while they are on a contract with a client. Once the client has left the field it was okay, but the registered guides I used to work for did not allow us to harvest an animal until the end of the season. As for the non-resident thing, I am not sure because I was a resident when I was guiding. But I did not some non-resident guides and I believe they only needed a general license as well.
    I'll try to find the rule. But as far as backup for guides it's under guides responsibility. Unless it's changed it's actually illegal for a guide to hunt while under contract.

    I don't think we would ever see this sorta thing in the general regs. It can just open a whole can of worms.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Brian M View Post
    If backup shooters need to be properly licensed for that particular animal, how is it that guides can be backup shooters for game such as Kodiak bears and sheep where the guide is a non-resident? This happens with regularity, especially with brown bears, and I've never heard of it being prosecuted.
    Likewise the need to have a license AND tag for a few draw hunts may limit your backup to what, 2 other individuals in the state in some cases? Seems un-reasonable to me.


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