Guests - If You want access to member only forums on FM. You will gain access only when you Sign-in or Sign-Up on Fishing Minnesota.

It's easy - LOOK UPPER right menu.

Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0
jhals68

Newbie? Road hunting Pheasant's in MN, legal or not?

58 posts in this topic

I can't find anything in the regs that pertains to pheasant hunting, only specific language that pertains to grouse hunting, that states that you must be 60' from your vehicle. I get the idea of 500 yards from residential areas and domestic animals, but is a pheasant in the ditch in the middle of nowhere fair game?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I hope so because we hunt them with the dogs all the time. We do keep the legal distances from any buildings though. The only way you couldn't hunt them would be if they are posted in my opinion and that's really rare down here.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Dont take this as for sure.You may check with DNR or CO. But in Mn I believe there is a law no discharge of firearms from a road,weather it covers the road right of way I dont know,but I think I've read it somewhere.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thats a very good question. There are some "minimum mantaince" roads down here I'd like to take the pooch on, they are about the only place you can walk after the ice storms came through. Most of the snowmobile trails arn't very long before you hit the mish-mash of posted land.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

state, county, and township roads have a 33 and 1/3 foot easement, which means it is public for that distance. as far as shooting on them, you MUST be from at least the bottom center of the ditch up away from the road, tar or gravel.

you can't legally road hunt for anything, unless you are shooting from outside the right-of-way, and not trespassing.

the purpose of pheasant hunting not opening till 9:00 is because the roosters are on roads picking at loose grain and gravel to stuff their gizzards in the morning, usually around sunrise till 8:30.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Every state is different. Game & Fish enforce the laws so check with them first. Most reg books will explain it as well. In SD and ND road hunting is legal but there are restrictions and you need to know what they are.

Go to the source on this which is your local Game and Fish.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Uguide I remember huntin SD in the late 50s early 60s. Do they yet let ya road hunt with a shotgun barrel stickin out a every window of the car,truck? I thought that was somthing see in a car come down the road 4 guys in it and everyone had a barrel out the window!! Now thats LAZY huntin!! smirk.gif

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

In North Dakota, u can have an uncased shotgun, with shells in the tube, just not one in the chamber. There is no shooting out the window. One must have both feet planted on the road before chambering and shooting. There really aren't a whole lot of birds taken this way as one might think. After the first few weeks of hunting, the birds are way too smart to not get away from a truck that stops. They will stay there if u just motor past them at a decent speed, as they know the difference. I've been fortunate this time of year to get out about 10 times in the last month, and by just walking the cattail sloughs bordering the roads in the evening, I've been able to shoot my 3 birds many times without a dog. I do have to park the truck at least 150 yards away from the area I want to hunt, otherwise they'll just all wild flush when u get out of the truck. Wind direction is also key, if the wind isn't in your face, there's gonna be trouble. Just walking the gravel will get'em wary to bust out early if ur with the wind.

I wish I had a dog, just can't while going to college, but I have certainly picked up the ability to really learn how pheasants react to noise, and cover during the different times of year, which has certainly made me a much better pheasant hunter.

I know in minnesota the gun must be cased and unloaded, but I'm not sure about anything else. I think a call to a western MN Conservation Officer would be a good idea.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Quote:

Uguide I remember huntin SD in the late 50s early 60s. Do they yet let ya road hunt with a shotgun barrel stickin out a every window of the car,truck? I thought that was somthing see in a car come down the road 4 guys in it and everyone had a barrel out the window!! Now thats LAZY huntin!!
smirk.gif


I believe they do! A lot of guys sit on tailgate and hop off which is a little easier to get the jump on them. I believe guns can be loded and uncased. There are some details about doors being open or closed and vehicle running or shutoff depending on how close or far you are from vehicle. You can only soot at birds that are taking off and in flight within the public right of way.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

South Dakota you may hunt in the road right of way...so those unimproved roadways are good places...but you must be out of your vehicle and the doors must be closed. But there is a rule against major highways and roadways...not exactly sure how it reads off the top...

The rule on tailgates is unclear, but I hope that it doesn't have to be closed...jumping off the tailgate and shooting can be effective. But it is pretty clear that you have to be out of/off of the vehicle.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This has been discussed on here before. The answer is this, it depends on how the easement was developed with the landowner. It some cases it may be legal, in others it may not be. COs, sherriffs, police, etc will not know the answer with respect to any particular stretch of road. it is best to just ask permission. If you don't and you get nailed for trespassing, you cannot complain as the only person to fault is yourself for not putting the time and effort into asking.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Are you asking about the legality of having a gun inside a vehicle and driving around looking for birds, or are you talking about walking the ditches alongside a road?

First one is simple - you can't do it in Minnesota. Cased and unloaded.

Second one gets very complicated depending on the roadway. Simple rule is if there's blacktop it's a no. Gravel - county road, township road, private road??? You could spend the whole day trying to figure it out. Best bet is to go and ask permission.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

if I'm not mistaken, the discharge of firearms from a right-of-way only pertains to deer hunting. I have heard many times that hunting the road ditches is legal for pheasants in MN. But as was mentioned, your best bet would be to check with your local CO.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thats exactly right LEP7MM. I was biting my lip on this post because I knew it would go the wrong way with some of the strong posts against it but here it goes. You CAN hunt the right of way for small game whether it is paved or not,(except for interstate highways I have been told). You CANNOT shoot across the roadway from one side to the other but you CAN shoot from the ditch. You CANNOT go onto private land such as a field without permission and shoot. You can however retrieve game from the land if it is not posted but you cant bring your firearm with you. I could go on and on but I wont. Call your local C.O. and ask him or her, I did.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Rip Some Lip,

You are correct for SOME roads, but not all roads. It is very confusing and it is likely a CO will not know on any particular stretch. It all depends on when the road was built and the language in the easement. I don't know how much clearer I can make it....some are ok, some are not....which is confusing, but that is the way it is. Please, ask permission. Hunter/land owner relationships are critical to our sport and we cannot afford to alienate land owners.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It's rather simple, YES. The 'road way' or 'right of way' rule is for big game only. Deer, bear, moose, and elk.

Only 10 more months until next season.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Quote:

It's rather simple, YES.


Listen to Cody fellas. Its NOT simple, and anyone who says YES is the right answer simply doesn't understand property rights.

All roads are not created equal. Some are easements, some are owned outright by the State and/or county, yet others are just there - with no written documents to evidence any rights whatsoever.

What that means for the average Joe Hunter is that unless you are willing to do the research in the land records at the County Recorder's office - AND you have the training and background to understand what the documents mean, the odds are real strong that trespassing will happen.

We're talking trespassing - a criminal offense.

I have had several guys tell me over the years "but I asked the CO and he told me it was OK". Well gee, sorry to burst everyone's bubble, but the CO isn't a real estate attorney, and maybe doesn't understand what's going on.

Bottom line - if you think you can legally hunt all road ditches, you're wrong. Plain and simple, you're going to be trespassing at least part of the time.

To give you a real-world example, smack in the middle of pheasant country in western Minnesota, let's use the quarter section owned by a relative of mine.

Along the southern border of the property is a blacktop road. When that road was created, the prior owner granted an easement for a roadway over a specific corridor, and the right to maintain the road and signs. The relative still owns the land under the road (to roughly the centerline). The neighbor to the south owns the land under the road to roughly the centerline on his side.

Nobody on either side of the road granted any hunting rights to the State or County. The only rights granted were for a roadway.

Along come some "hunters" (I use the term loosely) who are certain they "have a right to hunt here" (their words, not mine). CO tells all concerned they can hunt in the ditch - until a few days later when the county attorney is clued in to what happened.

Guess what? Guys of course show up again, sheriff is called, and this time things turn out a little differently! No tickets were issued, but the CO got a little lesson, and passed along his new-found knowledge to the "hunters".

Private property is private property. If we fail to respect that notion, we're not only breaking the law but also poisoning hunter/landowner relations.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hold up there. Maybe I misunderstood. I would assume that it is a county road, state highway, where upon normal traffic is conducted.

I'm sorry for your "relative's" predicament. That's a whole other discussion.

I don't disagree that you run the chance of hurting some relationships with local landowners.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I owe 80 acres of land in Douglas County. There is a county gravel road going right through the middle of my land.

Also on my land is a snowmobile trail.

A few years ago, I had had problems with hunters road hunting and snowmobiles, so I called the county. I asked them why I pay taxes on 80 acres when the road and ditch probably take up three acres of land and everyone has access to it.

Their response...I owe the ditches. No one, not even snowmobiles, have the right to use them. They are tresspassing. The county can go in my ditches for roadwork and misc, but only them. I basically own the road too, but have to allow vehicles to use the road and the county will maintain it. This is not true for all roads, but for mine it is.

It is amzing how many people think they can use the ditch for whatever, but they are wrong. I did turn in someone last winter, and they got fined. If I comfront someone I just get in an arguement about "laws" and "rights", so I just turn them in now.

It is hard to catch someone when I don't live on the land, but I don't want to be a "hard-nose" either. But, some really bad apples make it hard on everyone.

I had someone dump old appliances and paint cans in my woods several times now. I was almost shot by a turkey hunter last year when I was walking in the woods and scared up some turkeys to the road. Even though they shot BBs all around me, they thought they were totally legal.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Amen Jackpine Rob, it's a touchy subject . I run into this all the time. Hatfield and McCoys, not fun. This is the way I understand it in my profession. The name of the person on any such title of a certain property owns the property up to his/her property boundary lines. Sometimes the property line runs down a road, sometimes it runs down a ditch, sometimes its runs down a tree line, fence line, etc.. Depends on current legal descriptions of what they own. Most rural roads were built years ago for the benefit of the land owner and the surrounding community and issues such as this were not a topic. The road crosses someone's property. Maybe more than one person's property. The property owner(s) have rights to control what happens on their property. The road can be a public or private easement for ingress and egress, but the property the road sits on is still owned by the current property owner or owners. Basically if there is an easement they granted someone(county, township, state, or a private party) permission to CROSS their property at that certain spot. Not hunt, camp, build, cut trees, burn, dig, etc. without the owner's permission. If there is no easement or right-of-way, really you have no right to be on that road at all.

Unless the county, township or state actually purchased and own the property the road lies on, it would then turn into a public right-of-way owned by the township, county, state, etc.. Then the adjoining property owner(s) have only the same rights as the rest of us to that property. Confusing huh? Not really, if its POSTED stay off! Ask!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Grew up in ND - road hunting common.

Never gave MN road hunting a second thought - assumed illegal.

Learning a little in this discussion.

Still I would rather walk up a rooster in an hour or two walk than knock off two at 9:03AM off the side of some gravel road.

Just a preference and am trying not to be judgemental on those that do road hunt.

Guess the road hunters are not parked at the WMA so that is a plus.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I would just like to add a few things to this discussion. It is getting increasingly hard to find a good place to hunt. It's not like the old days. Public land can be crowded and private land is often off limits or overly expensive to the average sportsman. We, as outdoor people, need to put that extra effort in to create a good relationship with land owners. We need to contribute to organizations such as PF, DU, etc., that help establish habitat and hunting opportunities for us and future generations. So get involved. Go for a sunday drive and do some PR. Write to your congressman. Stop and think, don't be that bad apple that can ruin it for the rest of us. Let's do our part so our granchildren's grandchildren can enjoy the great outdoors.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If a road ditch is next to pasture land,a crop,grazing land,new tree growth,planted lands for things such as CRP,CREP etc you would be tresspassing if you were to enter it.

These laws that describe tresspassing are usually in the first 6 or 7 pages of your hunting and again are now written in fishing guidebooks somewhere.

Just a hint most land is private unless posted as public

Landowners no longer need to post lands but it is suggested by DNR that you post all lands

If Lands do not fit guidelines as written above they must be posted

So road hunting and ditch hunting unless they are adjacent to public property are illegal.

it gets kinda confusing doesnt it.

Law enforcement as well as the public are still very confused over this.

This change in legislative writing still confuses me and I am the one that asked Al Juhnke our represenative to author the bill so we dont need to post.It passed easily when introduced.

Also now they have a page or two showing recomendations on how to ask a landowner for land use.

It would be easier to post all public land saying that it is open as where we live only 2% is public.It wouldnt take long to do that.

In my case a cold case of beer and a couple good steaks usually get the start to a good relationship.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Good call primetime on the beer and steak. I've found most people love fresh walleye too. A nice bag of fresh fish has worked wonders for me to gain access to private land. Shoot, one elderly couple even had me come back and enjoy some of it with them after the hunt. A small gift and pleasant conversation in exchange for access to some good hunting land and a home cooked meal. Doesn't get any better than that! And it all started with just a knock on the door.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I am a land owner in South West MN with property next to a WMA. My family has three farms each with a different deed and easment.I regularly find hunters in my dich who claim they have done the research and the ditch they are hunting is public. They are often correct. I myself would love to see all ditches next to farmland using public money for subsidies, crop insurance, farm programs or CRP, be huntable by all. I also think it is unfair for snowmobilers and atvs to use the ditch if hunters are not allowed. I often challenge legislators to take a harder stance on this issue and have been told the state has chosen not to take a stand like South Dakota because in all likelyhood the courts would side with the landowners and not allow this kind of use of public property. I don't think that's true. A clear intention of the legislature through ammendment or emminent domain could stand the test of the courts. Wild game belongs to everyone regardless of where it is. I am currently trying to make a map of my home county with a legal description of each ditch. I encourage others to do the same as expansion continues make sure each new easment has the expectations clearly spelled out. I would love to hear from others who have attempted to get ditch hunting legalized. Thanks, Hans

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest
This topic is now closed to further replies.
Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0



  • Posts

    • brianfisher
      I recently had a chance to go fishing with my friend who recently purchased a Vexilar fishfinder. However we find it incredibly difficult to identify fish in the Sonar image. We tried even the fish alarm under settings but it didn't work reliably, going off at times with nothing on the Sonar image that looked like fish.   Any tips of what we should be looking for in the Sonar image?  
    • river rat316
      Getting the 6" clam plate hopefully this week. Picked up a brush less 20v dewalt on sale for black Friday. After using moose's drill a couple times last year I am all in on the drill plate!
    • brianfisher
      MN DNR is the most authoritative resource even though it may take a little getting used to. You can also study the contours on this website to identify humps and holes.   Minnesota Fishing Contours
    • Hoey
      Looking for a freeze up on Friday.  Temps will have been favorable for over a week and then the wind lets up.  
    • monstermoose78
      I am not that talented to carve and paint like that. But I love wooden duck decoys.