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Thread: Game Warden authority

  1. #1
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    Game Warden authority

    Well yesterday morning I was doing a little day lease dove hunt, about 12 noon we were approached by two Game wardens. One came up to me asked any luck blah blah. I said yes I had 5. he then asked to check my shotgun for a plug. Now, my question is. Was I required by law to let him check my shotgun? I know the license is required, but I noticed he asked permission. would this be considered an illegal search had I not complied with his request? Im not wanting to start a bash fest, just a simple question. Thanks

  2. #2
    Campaign Veteran Schlitz's Avatar
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    I'm curious of the same thing.

    There are a few people at my range that are under the impression that a game warden does not need reasonable or probable cause to check your guns, vehicles, etc etc. They pretty much believe that the game warden works outside of the constitution, specifically the 4th Amendment. I don't do any hunting so I am not really educated in this department.
    “The claim and exercise of a constitutional right cannot be converted into a crime.”
    [Miller vs. U.S., 230 F. Supp. 486, 489 (1956)]
    “There can be no sanction or penalty imposed upon one because of his exercise of constitutional rights.”
    [Sherar vs. Cullen, 481 F2d. 946 (1973)]

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    Regular Member WalkingWolf's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Schlitz View Post
    I'm curious of the same thing.

    There are a few people at my range that are under the impression that a game warden does not need reasonable or probable cause to check your guns, vehicles, etc etc. They pretty much believe that the game warden works outside of the constitution, specifically the 4th Amendment. I don't do any hunting so I am not really educated in this department.
    Just like driving a car a game warden has the right to check your license, to do that he must make contact, and can request or demand that you unload your weapon. Doesn't matter whether there is a plug or not, when you unload your had. So far the courts have backed up police officers doing checks rendering firearms safe. If you are not hunting there is no need for a license check and no RAS to check your firearm. Probably why he asked about your catch of the day first.

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    Ok, now, he did not request or demand I unload the gun, he just asked if he could check it. I didnt hesitate at all , but now that I have thought about it makes me wonder.

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    The plug is part of the federal migratory bird restrictions. My guess is that by participating in the activity you are required to show that the gun meets the criteria of holding no more than 3 shells. The most I have ever had to do was unload and show I could only load 2 shells in the tube.

    SUMMARY OF FEDERAL REGULATIONS
    In addition to state regulations, the following federal rules apply to the taking, possession, shipping, transporting and storing of migratory game birds. No persons shall take migratory game birds:
    ● With a trap, snare, net, rifle, pistol, swivel gun, shotgun larger than 10 gauge, punt gun, battery gun, machinegun, fish hook, poison, drug, explosive, or stupefying substance;
    ● With a shotgun of any description capable of holding more than three shells, unless it is plugged with a one-piece filler, incapable of removal without disassembling the gun, so its total capacity does not exceed three shells. This restriction does not apply during dates states have selected under the Conservation Order for light geese (i.e. greater and lesser snow and Ross’s geese) or those selected for the control of resident Canada geese.


    Page 60 of the regulation digest.

    http://www.ncwildlife.org/Regs/2011_...12_Hunting.pdf

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    Regular Member WalkingWolf's Avatar
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    As a matter of courtesy I always made my gun safe when approached by a officer when hunting. But then I used a double and this was easy to break the gun, and remove the shells. If by chance I had pump or auto I asked the officer first before unloading. I spent a short time as a conservation officer and most hunters gave me the same courtesy. To be honest I never bothered with a plug check, just watched how many rounds the hunter removed from the gun. The extent of my exchange other then pleasantries was to inspect the game or fish and the license. But then I was pretty laid back, the last thing a officers wants is a confrontation when he is alone and outnumbered in the woods. In the case of violators I knew who they were from surveillance and only approached with backup.

  7. #7
    mattwestm
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    I'm not a hunter at all, but I've always wondered about shotgun shell restrictions for hunting...

    Is this done so that if you miss after three shots, the bird has a chance of flying away instead of being blasted by 6 or 7 shells from a fully loaded tube?

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    Regular Member WalkingWolf's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mattwestm View Post
    I'm not a hunter at all, but I've always wondered about shotgun shell restrictions for hunting...

    Is this done so that if you miss after three shots, the bird has a chance of flying away instead of being blasted by 6 or 7 shells from a fully loaded tube?
    Ya know, I have no idea, I guess it just sounded good at the time. One thing is with most shotguns more than three shells is not much good against just a few birds. Even full choke shotguns can only reach so far. I usually hunt with a double, so I only have two shots to make it good.

  9. #9
    Campaign Veteran Schlitz's Avatar
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    I recently posted this in a different thread:
    At work some folks were talking about shotguns for home defense. I chimed in and was immediately dubbed the retard because everyone except from myself believed religiously that you HAD to have the "pencil" in your shot gun tube limiting you to three rounds, and the first shot HAD to be bird shot, the 2nd HAD to be buck, and the 3rd HAD to be a slug if you were going to use the gun for home defense. If you didn't have the "pencil" in the tube and those 3 rounds loaded in that order then you were going to jail after defending your home.

    I was the idiot for telling them this was not true. Why was I stupid? Because their sources were law enforcement officers.

    Stupidity in the masses will ALWAYS trump fact.
    Has anyone EVER heard about having to have the pencil in the shot gun tube for anything OTHER than bird hunting?
    “The claim and exercise of a constitutional right cannot be converted into a crime.”
    [Miller vs. U.S., 230 F. Supp. 486, 489 (1956)]
    “There can be no sanction or penalty imposed upon one because of his exercise of constitutional rights.”
    [Sherar vs. Cullen, 481 F2d. 946 (1973)]

  10. #10
    Regular Member WalkingWolf's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Schlitz View Post
    I recently posted this in a different thread:


    Has anyone EVER heard about having to have the pencil in the shot gun tube for anything OTHER than bird hunting?

    Depends on the state, I believe most states that the plug must be in for hunting most game. There is nothing that I know of for having no plug or extended plug for self defense. Unless it is one of those liberal states most shotgun ammo can be used. Except for explosive, or incendiary, or armor piercing shells. Most of these were not available to the public when I was still working, but I believe they are banned under federal law. I always carried 2 buckshot and 2 slugs in mine, kept 3 buck and 2 slugs on the stock.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Schlitz View Post
    I recently posted this in a different thread:


    Has anyone EVER heard about having to have the pencil in the shot gun tube for anything OTHER than bird hunting?
    I've never heard of it outside of migratory birds. I think the majority of folks leave it in because they will either forget they took it out or loose it. Both of which I nearly did this year. Took 10 minutes to track down the plug. On at least one occasion we had to whittle one from a stick in the field for a buddy of mine.

    Most of my third shots are out of frustration and generally wasted anyway.

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    Quote Originally Posted by WalkingWolf View Post
    Depends on the state, I believe most states that the plug must be in for hunting most game. There is nothing that I know of for having no plug or extended plug for self defense. Unless it is one of those liberal states most shotgun ammo can be used. Except for explosive, or incendiary, or armor piercing shells. Most of these were not available to the public when I was still working, but I believe they are banned under federal law. I always carried 2 buckshot and 2 slugs in mine, kept 3 buck and 2 slugs on the stock.
    There is no restrictions on self defence shotguns or even upland bird hunting, rabits,squirrel,turkey. Just migratory game birds, at least for this state. I must say, 3 shots are about max you would ever use in hunting. Home defence is a whole other ball game.

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    BTW, when I got to the field I decided to check for a plug because I bought the gun last year and this was the first time to hunt with it, and wouldnt ya know it, no plug. %$it so I headed back to the place I paid and they gave me a cleaning rod to shove down in it, now it only would hold one in the tube and one in the chamber. Im sure glad I decided to check it.

  14. #14
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    Unless you can't remove that cleaning rod without disassembling the gun, you're still in trouble. I had the same check by a game warden over in KY one year; he pumped out the shells I had and then reloaded, making sure I couldn't put an extra one in.
    Game warden: another low profile, high risk job I'm not interested in.

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