Pursuing injured game across boundary fence
November 23, 2010, QUESTION: We hunt deer on private land that is adjacent to a state conservation area. The conservation area is closed to hunting and trapping, with signs every hundred feet or so along the fence line to remind us. On the private property side of the fence, we have been able to take deer over the last few years. One concern I had, however, was whether we could pursue a deer that had been shot, but was not yet down, if it were to jump the fence back into the conservation area. Friends have speculated that if we were to leave rifle and gear on the private side of the fence, that it would be permissible to track and retrieve the animal off the state land. What's the real answer to this? Thanks.
ANSWER: In a perfect world, if you left everything on private land (except a knife) you could cross the fence to recover the animal. And if your actions were questioned, the investigator would be able to see where the animal stood at the point of impact and its path into the conservation area. At which point your actions could be explained and hopefully all will be forgiven.
However, the “real answer” is: proper procedure requires land-owner permission. You should contact the division of the state in charge of the conservation area in question in order to get written permission to cover the timeframe of the hunting season involved.
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