Road hunting — most hunters have done it at least once and some choose to continue to do it each season. Whether you are driving to and from your hunting spot and happen to see an animal in front of your vehicle or you are driving around searching for an easy shot, road hunting is a very tempting crime to commit. However, it is also a very easy crime to get caught doing.
Unless otherwise permitted under the Oregon Disabilities Hunting and Fishing Permit, the use of a motor vehicle while hunting is illegal. A hunter cannot be traveling on a vehicle while hunting, use the vehicle in any way to attempt to bring down an animal or discharge a firearm or an arrow from a motor vehicle with the intent to take wildlife. Any of these variations are considered road hunting and violating these regulations may result in jail, hunting license suspensions, fines and fees.
In addition to the regulations listed above, there are further regulations that limit or prohibit the use of other motorize vehicles including the use of ATVs, aircraft, and even drones. According to the 2016 ODFW regulations, no person shall:
- Hunt any wildlife from a motor-propelled vehicle. Exceptions: 1) A qualified disabled hunter may obtain an Oregon Disabilities Hunting and Fishing Permit to hunt from a motor-propelled vehicle except while the vehicle is in motion or on any public road or highway, or within Cooperative Travel Management Areas. 2) Landowners and their agents can shoot predatory animals from motorized vehicles on land they own or lawfully occupy.
- Hunt within 8-hours of communicating with or receiving information on the location of game mammals from a manned aircraft.
- Use drones for the following purposes related to the pursuit of wildlife:
- Hunting, trapping, or angling.
- Aiding hunting, trapping, or angling through the use of drones to harass, track, locate or scout wildlife.
- Interfering in the acts of a person who is lawfully hunting, trapping or angling.
- Hunt within 8-hours after having been transported by helicopter or fixed-wing aircraft to any point other than an established airport adequate for fixed-wing aircraft.
- Shoot at pronghorn antelope from a point within 50-yards of a motor-propelled vehicle, including aircraft. Exception: A qualified disabled hunter may obtain an “Oregon Disabilities Hunting and Fishing Permit” to hunt from a motor vehicle except while the vehicle is in motion or on any public road or highway, or within Cooperative Travel Management Areas.
- Hunt or harass animals from snowmobile, ATV, or passenger vehicles.
- Operate a snowmobile or ATV while carrying a firearm or a bow unless the firearm is unloaded, or with a bow, unless all arrows are in a quiver. (this section does not apply to a person who is licensed under ORS 166.291 and 166.292 to carry a concealed handgun).
- As used in this section, “unloaded” means:
- (a) If the firearm is a revolver, that there is no live cartridge in the chamber that is aligned with the hammer of the revolver;
- (b) if the firearm is a muzzle-loading firearm, that the firearm is not capped or primed; or
- (c) If the firearm is other than a revolver or a muzzle-loading firearm, that there is no live cartridge in the chamber. (Violation of ORS 821.240 is a Class B traffic violation).
- Cast an artificial light from a motor vehicle while in possession of a weapon; or cast an artificial light upon a game mammal, predatory animal, or livestock from within 500-feet of a motor vehicle while in possession of a weapon. Exception: Landowners or their agents hunting predatory animals on land they own or lawfully occupy.
- Shoot from or across a public road, road right-of-way or railroad right-of-way, except that persons legally hunting on closed roads within Cooperative Travel Management Areas are not violating current prohibitions on shooting from or across a public road. The same is true for other roads closed to use of motor vehicles by the public.
If you have been charged with road hunting or any other violation stemming from the regulations above, contact our office to schedule an initial consultation today.