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The Justice System and Your Treestand

The Justice System: As the annual fall ritual of deer hunting season is upon us, it is important to remember that if you do not obey the rules, you could land in jail.

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Two hunters were arrested recently in northern Oakland County by the Oakland County Sherriff for multiple hunting violations. As reported in the Detroit Free Press, the men, ages 18 and 19, were arrested when a neighbor called authorities after hearing a shotgun blast and witnessing a federally protected Sandhill Crane fall out of the sky. When the men were arrested they allegedly had a dead crane and 18 ducks, well in excess of the daily bag limit per person. They also allegedly had marijuana. This arrest demonstrates that some hunters are either not aware of or willing to comply with Michigan hunting laws. Those that don't may learn there are dire consequences for breaking the law.

In Michigan, the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) sets hunting season dates and bag limits each year. Bag limits vary based on the species of game. In addition there may be a difference between limits on how many kills are made in a day, compared to the number of animals one person possesses. There can also be differences based upon what zone a person hunts in, what weapon is used, and even how the weapon is transported. In the justice system, some laws require mandatory penalties for certain hunting violations that include fines and restitution, revocation of hunting licenses (for up to multiple years or even for life), and even mandatory jail time.

It is vital that every Michigan hunter reviews the annual hunting and trapping guide and any species specific guides published by Michigan's DNR. Not doing so could land you or someone you love in very hot water with a Conservation Officer and possibly in jail. Law enforcement officers will assume you are aware of the laws governing the type of hunting you enjoy. Failure to know the law is not typically a valid defense strategy. Read the rules before you venture into the woods. Then do your best to follow them.

Undoubtedly, there are times when people make mistakes and either intentionally or unwittingly break the law. Do not underestimate the significance of a hunting violation ticket. Even not wearing enough hunter's orange can result in a misdemeanor ticket and a criminal conviction! If you have further questions or find yourself in a situation where your hunting has attracted the unwanted attention of local, state, or federal authorities, contact attorney John Freeman. John and his staff are ready to evaluate your situation and he is ready to put his 23 years of experience to work for you.


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