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Thread: M.C.A. 87-2-101 Definitions

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    Hi.

    I moved from Colorado to Montana a few years ago primarily because of an ever increasing loss of firearm freedom. For example, I’ve heard quite a few (first hand) stories about recreationalists who were hiking with a firearm being arrested by Game and Fish Officers from the Colorado Division of Wildlife and charged with hunting without a license (and in some cases, if the firearm was a pistol, also being charged with hunting with an inadequate caliber).

    I spoke to a Game and Fish Officer at a gun show in Denver, Colorado and specifically asked him about their practice of arresting people for hunting without a license while simply hiking with a firearm, including holstered handguns. He stated that the only burden of proof they need to convict you of hunting without a license is that the offender has the means to hunt. In other words, what this officer was telling me is that if you simply have a firearm, that constitutes having the means to hunt, and you are guilty of hunting without a license. Simple as that, according to this Colorado Game and Fish Officer. He gave me his card and wrote the pertinent Colorado statute numbers down for me to look up later.

    According to the Colorado Revised Statues 33-6-107 (3),

    33-6-107. Licensing violations - penalties.

    (3) Except as otherwise provided in articles 1 to 6 of this title or by rule of the commission, any person, regardless of age, who hunts or takes wildlife in this state shall procure a proper and valid license therefore and shall have the valid license on his or her person when exercising the benefits it confers. A person who violates this subsection (3) is guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction, shall be punished by a fine and an assessment of license suspension points…

    And the word “hunt” is defined in C.R.S. 33-1-102 (25.5) as follows:

    33-1-102. Definitions.

    (25.5) "Hunt" means to pursue, attract, stalk, lie in wait for, or attempt to shoot, wound, kill, trap, capture, collect, or take wildlife. "Hunt" does not include stalking, attracting, searching, or lying in wait for wildlife by an unarmed person solely for the purpose of watching or taking photographs of wildlife.

    So, according to Colorado statute, hunting is pursuing, stalking, or lying in wait for wildlife. And the text seems to imply, but doesn’t specifically state the hunter must be armed with a firearm.

    Could hiking in the woods while bearing arms be considered pursuing or stalking wildlife?

    I decided to waltz into the local wildlife office and ask them this exact question. To make a long story short, I was told in no uncertain terms that if I was caught in the National Forest with a gun “when game was around”[/i] I’d be immediately arrested. I was frisked for weapons and told to leave their office or I’d be arrested for trespass.

    Because of this and for many other reasons, in 2005, I decided to vote with my feet and moved out of Colorado to the state of Montana.

    As a new resident I researched Montana’s firearm and hunting laws. Similar to the Colorado Revised Statutes, the Montana Codes Annotated also gives a definition for the word “hunt.”

    It reads, in M.C.A. 87-2-101 Definitions,

    (8) "Hunt" means to pursue, shoot, wound, kill, chase, lure, possess, or capture or the act of a person possessing a weapon, as defined in 45-2-101, or using a dog or a bird of prey for the purpose of shooting, wounding, killing, possessing, or capturing wildlife protected by the laws of this state in any location that wildlife may inhabit, whether or not the wildlife is then or subsequently taken. The term includes an attempt to take by any means, including but not limited to pursuing, shooting, wounding, killing, chasing, luring, possessing, or capturing.

    M.C.A. 45-2-101. General definitions, defines possession as,

    (59) "Possession" is the knowing control of anything for a sufficient time to be able to terminate control.

    This begs the following questions,

    If the control of “anything (such as a firearm) for a sufficient time to be able to terminate control” (as would be the case while deliberately hiking with a firearm) constitutes “possession”, and hunting is defined as “the act of a person possessing a weapon”, then wouldn’t hiking with a gun be against the law in Montana?

    How is Montana an open carry state when they define hunting as “the act of a person possessing a weapon”?

    Your thoughts?

    Augustin


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    Regular Member LeMat's Avatar
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    Things are a little different here than in Colorado (or California, or pick a state).

    If you're walkin' around in the woods with a hunting rifle and all cammo'd up when its not hunting season, yeah, someone might inquire as to what you're doing.

    I don't hunt, but carry a large frame revolver each and every time I've been in the woods. I've yet to be stopped and I have yet to ever hear of anyone being charged with anything for doing so. My wife and I fart around in the woods almost every weekend throughout the year.

    A Ranger would probably be more interested in what you carrying instead of why.

    I wouldn't worry about it.

    I 'spose you could go to the nearest office and ask them to clarify things as well.
    "Never belittle someone for carrying a small firearm. Commend them for carrying a firearm."
    -OpenCarry.org member MAC702

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    Tru-dat!! I'll tell you what, if someone here in Montana tells you that you're under arrest for hunting without a license or if they charge you with 'hunting with an inadequate caliber' or something to that effect let us know, we'll all be at your trial to testify on your behalf.
    We'll baffle them with BS if we have to!!
    :shock:
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    Both responses are very good answers to your questions. Now you could call Helena Montana FWP Office @ 406-444-2452 and ask for the Head OfEnforcement, and he will explain things to you as well.

    But in a nutshell, you can carry a firearm in the woods during any activity, even outside of the regular hunting season.





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    40s-and-wfan wrote:
    Tru-dat!! I'll tell you what,... , we'll all be at your trial to testify on your behalf.
    Thanks for watchin my back. Couldn't ya' just bust me out before the trial?

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    JBinMontana wrote:
    Now you could call Helena Montana FWP Office @ 406-444-2452 and ask for the Head OfEnforcement, and he will explain things to you as well.
    Sure. I know I could contact FWP. And I have talked to a Montana Wildlife Officer who approached me one day while I was cleaning my rifleafter having shot at the Hellgate range. When I asked him about this issue he replied that they rely on public support. He seemed sincerely shocked that this was going on in Colorado.

    The problem (not to cop bash) is that while most men and women in law enforcement are well-meaning and sincere professionals, it is an undeniable fact that some are rouge cops who act inappropriately, overly-aggressively, and with extreme prejudice and bias (often especially regarding firearms). Talking to the FWP authorities in their office won’t help me avoid a bad apple in the field.

    Obviously, some states are far worse than others. The recent ammo hoarding bust in Massachusetts certainly underscores this fact. The “system” is becoming more and more oppressive with flagrant abuse of power commonplace.

    If we do not reign in this kind of rouge law enforcement behavior, we will find that the future of our freedoms is bleak. Vague laws such as M.C.A. 87-2-101 are potentially dangerous as they can form the most egregious examples of intellectual slippery slopes and loss of freedoms possible.

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    Well after living here for over 20 years I have never had a problem with any FWP Wardens concerning carrying a side arm out in the wilds away from town while enjoying myself. If you feel it necessary to think our Wardens don't have anything better to do, then keep your tin hat on.

    I know first hand that many things would have to be in place to nail you for hunting out of season on big game, and just having a firearm don't cut it in this state and all the wardens know it.

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    JBinMontana wrote:
    I have never had a problem with any FWP Wardens concerning carrying a side arm out in the wilds... If you feel it necessary to think our Wardens don't have anything better to do, then keep your tin hat on.
    JB,

    My problem is with Colorado, not Montana. Although I do have a problem with the wording of M.C.A. 87-2-101. It should read and the act of possessing a weapon” not “or.”

    I believe Montana ranks as the #1 most free state in the Union, while Colorado is rapidly being Kalifornicated. Still, I personally know 2 people who did jail time for hiking with a rifle in Colorado.

    And let’s not ever forget the saga of Colorado’s Rick Stanley who is currently serving 6 years for "Influencing a Public Official" after he defied Thornton, Colorado’s illegal open carry ban by carrying his holstered pistol at a 2A rally.

    http://www.jpfo.org/articles-assd/rick-stanley.htm

    http://stanley2002.org/docs/MANCUSLETTER.htm

    You haven’t had a problem in a lifetime of “carrying a side arm.” Doesn’t mean I won’t. To explain, I might catch the attention of LE for a few reasons.

    While I usually carry only a holstered pistol, I do occasionally carry a .233 caliber rifle; a Styer AUG which has a very distinctive black gun look. I’ve carried it both in Alaska and in the Bob, and often felt inadequately armed when camping (food smells) in Griz country. I’ve even lugged my 25 pound HK91 around a few times.

    I apologize for not being more clear, but most of the cases I know about in Colorado were for packing a rifle, not a pistol.

    Next is that I usually wear camo when in the great outdoors. Starting somewhere in the early-1980’s I began purchasing camouflage clothing for the purpose of blending in to help with wildlife photography. Back then wearing camouflage clothing didn’t have the same level of political correctness as it does nowadays. During those early years, it was quite difficult to buy camouflage clothing other than used military BDU’s in the woodland military camouflage pattern. However, Cabelas did offer some camo clothing in a sportsman’s pattern.

    Nowadays, of course, camouflage clothing is mass produced in many different patterns and is extremely popular by all types of outdoorsmen, as well as with people of all ages in many different walks of life. In fact, camo clothing has even become rather fashionable. Unfortunately, camouflage clothing has, in certain locations and in certain sections of society, taken on extreme political incorrectness; a term that generally is used in a pejorative sense. One reason why is because it is common for homeless people to wear military BDU’s, either pants or a jacket. Homeless people are often unkempt, disheveled, and also often involved in criminal activity.

    Next is the fact that most, if not all, hunters commonly wear camouflage clothing. So common is the practice that camouflage is universally associated with hunting. Because of this association, any individual wearing camouflage clothing while carrying a firearm MUST be actively engaged in hunting. I don’t agree with this flawed logic, but I do understand it, at least somewhat.

    Back in Colorado, I read many police blotters in the newspaper about reports of sightings of people wearing camouflage clothing and carrying a gun. Typically, in such a reported scenario, the police aggressively respond in an attempt to apprehend the criminal perpetrator, despite the fact that neither wearing camouflage clothing nor the possession of a firearm in an open carry state such as Colorado is against the law. I doubt this type of ignorant fear driven 911 reporting ever happens in Montana, but it sure does in Colorado. And I realize that camo clothing is ubiquitous in Montana and never raises an eyebrow.

    I took your tin hat comment as a veiled insult which was completely uncalled for. Understand, friend, that I’m not off on some sort of conspiracy theory mission. I simply want to remain hidden, happy, free and armed in a country with a unique distinction; it is the world’s greatest prison state.

    That’s right, the land of the free has not only the biggest prison population in the world, but it also has the highest rate of prisoners per capita of all countries in the world– including ever last one of those Axis-of-Evil countries that Bush believed needed to be liberated by US and UN armed forces. Even China, the model police state of the New World Order, which is four times more populous than the US, is a distant second, with30% fewer total prisoners.

    One out of every 142 Americans is in prison – and this does not include military prisons or INS jails. It seems to me that the US itself is in need of liberation. And based on the brewing Second American Revolution, many other agree.





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    Don't let your guard down, Montana is quickly being overcome with Kalifornian's... right JB?!
    LOL!
    :celebrate:celebrate
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    This is a DEFINITION of HUNTING"45-2-101," Not a Gun Law..

    This is a Montana Gun Law:

    Section 2.Openly carrying weapon -- display -- exemption. (1) Any person who is not otherwise prohibited from doing so by federal or state law may openly carry a weapon and may communicate to another person the fact that the person has a weapon.

    Quote: If the control of “anything (such as a firearm) for a sufficient time to be able to terminate control” (as would be the case while deliberately hiking with a firearm) constitutes “possession”, and hunting is defined as “the act of a person possessing a weapon”, then wouldn’t hiking with a gun be against the law in Montana?


    No! you Would Be HIKING! Again don't Confuse the Definition of Huntingas a Gun Law.

    http://fwp.mt.gov/hunting/regs/nongameShooting.html

    http://fwp.mt.gov/hunting/regs/predatorShooting.html

    Note: A Conservation License, or a state school trust lands recreational use license, is required to shoot predators on state school trust lands.





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    M.C.A. 87-2-101 Definitions,

    (8) "Hunt" means to pursue, shoot, wound, kill, chase, lure, possess, or capture or the act of a person possessing a weapon, as defined in 45-2-101, or using a dog or a bird of prey for the purpose of shooting, wounding, killing, possessing, or capturing wildlife protected by the laws of this statein any location that wildlife may inhabit, whether or not the wildlife is then or subsequently taken. The term includes an attempt to take by any means, including but not limited to pursuing, shooting, wounding, killing, chasing, luring, possessing, or capturing.
    Read the sentence again ALL THE WAY to the end. It's a classic error when reading 'law' to lock onto a particular portion without reading the rest of the law.


    This law could have been written clearer, but it's clear enough that it's only considered 'hunting' if you are carrying a firearm "...for the purpose of shooting, wounding, killing, possessing, or capturing wildlife protected by the laws of this state..."



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    Augustin- You may have a problem with the wording in the MCA, but as stated there never has been any problems before. An FWP warden would be hard pressed to prove one was hunting while carrying for self defense. He would need hard evidence to show that you were hunting ie a dead animal that you were carrying or skinned out, and out of season, no tag on it etc.

    Phssthpok- Agreed, the wording should be ammended to be much clearer. So re-write it and get the Legislation to make the amendment to the MCA.

    40s-and-wfan- Your right to many are moving here from the Kalifornia, but I can say I moved back to where my parents are from. And besides Kalifornia didn't like my ideas of my right to carry openly, as I got arrested for it once back when I was just about 21 yrs old. Moved from the concrete jungle to the mountains of the Sierras, and that still wasn't far enough from the left arm of Comi Kaliforia.

    So we then escaped in 1990 :celebrate

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