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Question about Road Hunting


Scott M

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Just how do you characterize road hunting? A co-worker of mine feels pretty strongly about it. He claims that in the Dakotas and in Minnesota, you can hunt the road right of way and that firearm discharge laws only apply to rifles or the hunting of big game. He in particular likes to hunt township roads in S.D. since everything is posted and "an average joe just wants to get some birds." He claims road hunting is when you are driving along until you see birds, then getting out and blasting them. I'm not so sure. I haven't hunted in either format, so I wouldn't know. I will be checking the rule books shortly, but does anyone else have a take on this?

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I know for a fact that when someone posts their land "no hunting" in North Dakota, it also includes the right of way. Here's the short version, in fact, from the ND game and fish department page 4 of the "small game" hunting guide (which includes pheasants):

http://gf.nd.gov/regulations/smallgame/pdf/small-game-guide.pdf

Quote:

Can I hunt road rights-of-way? Do not hunt on road rights-of-way unless you are certain they are open to public use. Most road rights-of-way are under control of the adjacent landowner and are closed to hunting when the adjacent land is posted closed to hunting.

I guess I don't know if this applies to all types of roads - county, township, state, federal....but to be safe I'd just say stay away from anything that's posted in Nodak to be safe.

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SD regs spell out very clearly how to legally hunt ditches. Hope someone can post up the link as it gives a bunch of info. Very effective means of getting birds. Is also legal in MN but not seen very often. Just not worth the hassle of dealing with every irate landowner not familiar with the law I guess. There is a poster on this site that has a "special" townshipish ditch that is not huntable but I would go for it with odds being slim you would run into this type of ditch in the hundreds of miles that exist.

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If I understand MN regs correctly, there is nothing in the handbook that forbids hunting pheasants, grouse, etc. from road right-of-way but there are rules against taking deer from right-of-way.

Here are a few things I found.

This is from the big game section.

Quote:
No person may discharge a firearm or an arrow from a bow on, over,

across, or within the right-of-way of an improved public highway

(including but not limited to federal, state, county, and township

roadways) at a big game animal or a decoy of a big game animal that

has been set out by a licensed peace officer.

This is from the National Forest Lands section.

Quote:
Discharging a firearm within 150 yards of a building, campground,

developed recreation site or occupied area; or from or across a

forest road; or in a manner or place that could cause injury or

damage is prohibited.

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MN depends on the county/township. I had asked the DNR this question about road hunting pheasants. Most counties/ townships have a legal right-of-way but some DO NOT and is privately owned by that land owner. Just check before getting a ticket. Also, some land owners will post "closed" or "private" in the right-of-ways but that doesn't mean you can't hunt it, they just hope to scare you out. Always try to ask for permission thought, even if its legal..

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there is no right of way law with shot guns in minnesota, you can be standing on the center dotted line of I35 and shoot a grouse-pheasant as long as your using a shotgun, albeit not the safest choice it's still legal.

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there is no right of way law with shot guns in minnesota, you can be standing on the center dotted line of I35 and shoot a grouse-pheasant as long as your using a shotgun, albeit not the safest choice it's still legal.

You may want to re-read that law book....

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See my previous post. On forest service roads you would be correct. Otherwise the only rules noted are in regard to big game hunting. You can take a grouse while standing on a county road for example. Someone correct me if I'm wrong or I might just do something illegal if opportunity knocks.

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I beleive you can shoot from certain roads, yes- but not all roads have right-of-ways. Some counties and /or townships do not have right-of-ways, therefore you'd be tresspassing on private property. And NO you can't shoot from the center of hwy 35 for more then one reason. you may be sarcastic in that response but I wouldn't be telling people that it's legal cause some may try it.

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"Just how do you characterize road hunting?"

Tend to frown on it. frown

Road hunting can be a very affective way for bagging pheasants. Drive along dirt roads looking for them in the ditch. Get out, flush and shoot. Was very popular back in the day... but some do see it as frowned upon. I myeslf IMO feel its perfectly exceptable but you need to respect land owners if that bird lands on their property....and look out for other cars!

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the whole point is you dont need right of way, if the grouse is standing in the middle of the road and your not within city limits you can shoot away, again instead of arguing, find facts that prove me wrong. although not safe.....perfectly legal

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Quote:
...find facts that prove me wrong.

Perhaps you could find facts that prove you right. Just because in your eyes nobody has proven you wrong; that does not mean you are right. That kind of logic is dicey at best. Support your case with info from the rules and regs.

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Quote:
Perhaps you could find facts that prove you right. Just because in your eyes nobody has proven you wrong; that does not mean you are right. That kind of logic is dicey at best. Support your case with info from the rules and regs.

I think you might be missing the point. We rarely right laws that define what we CAN do. Most laws define what is PROHIBITED. I think that is why he asks to be proven wrong.

What makes taking a grouse off of a country road unsafe? It's only unsafe if the shooter is unaware of what's behind the target and that would be unsafe no matter where the muzzle is pointing. Taking a grouse from an empty road is not posing a danger for anyone that I can tell.

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Contact current CO's Darin Kittleson, Troy Fonde, and recent former CO Lloyd Steen. These are my sources.

I received the same answer from CO Chris Howe is SC Minnesota regarding dove hunting and shooting on/around roads. In so many words, his answer was "for small game you can stand right on the road, it may not look the best or be the safest but it is legal"

Also note, my question was specific to shooting on/around a road with a Management area on one side so the whole private land issue was a non-issue but if a rooster for instance is standing on the road, it would be a legal bird.

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Wow, I've never stepped out of a vehicle to shoot a bird because it seemed like an illegal use of a firearm...I was hunting turkeys for the first time this year and we spent hours driving around. I WAS NOT going to get out and fire off of the road, maybe i should have! Always though shooting across a roadway, or shooting while on a road was illegal.

Good Post.

As i understand it, it is for small game only. (does this exclude turkeys?)

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Turkeys are considered big game so restrictions do apply. Also, you have to remember that ethical and legal are 2 totally different things. Each situation is different. The only way I have road hunted for pheasants is in IA where we whave seen birds cross the road a hundred yards up or so and park the truck there and then walk up the ditch with the dogs and flush them. That being said, I would much rather walk fields all day and have 1 textbook flush/retrieve than drive around for 2 hours and shoot a limit, thats just me though. I have a hard time looking down on anyone who stays within the letter of the law.

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Look at MN valley for instance...You can not shot from within 50 feet of a road or across a road, and thats including small game. To come straight out and say you can shoot small game from ANY road including highways (which I still believe is TOTALLY illegal) is not very acurate to say the least. If a bird is sitting on a certain road and you are on a road, in some cases you can shot the animal. But if you are on a certain road, the bird is in the ditch (or right of way) it depands on the county and / or township if you can take it. Like I said before...some counties and / or townships DON"T HAVE RIGHT-OF-WAYS making you a tresspasser!

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Road Hunting doesn't have to be a "drive along until you spot a rooster, slam on the brakes, jump out of the truck and blast away" cluster bleep.

In SD find a minimum maintenance(gravel)road ditch that hasn't been mowed, maybe has a few cattails and a corn field next to it. Park your truck at one end an hour before sunset. Get out and walk keeping the dog in the ROW while hunting and you will get some shooting in. That situation can be found pretty easily and is a nice combination of cover, food and grit.

I've picked up that last limit bird this way more than once. Not my favorite way to hunt but no less sporting than spotting a little isolated cattail slough or weed patch in a WIA and bagging an easy rooster or two there.

Common sense and knowing the rules is key. I don't hunt road ditches anywhere near houses or livestock. Only shoot birds that get up in the ROW and let the dog do the retreiving if the dead rooster ends up outside the property line on private land.

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Can someone share a link that explains the different road types (state, county, township, etc.) with distance from centerline or other relevant distances pertaining to access and hunting? A diagram as mentioned previously would be helpful. There seem to be some that don't agree on here and it would be good to be able to read exactly what the rules are in MN. There's a lot of people that don't know what's legal for road hunting in MN.

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Me and a few buddies used to "pinch" em' in ditches. (Roosters)

Spot a bird or two, drive past them a couple hundred yards, drop a guy off, turn around, drive past them again by a hundred yards, park the vehicle, get out and walk toward each other until the bird is flushed. Gotta be real careful when shooting, but it works pretty well as long as they don't run into the posted field.

I think in most areas the landowner's only own up to the ditch edge, not the road edge. But I'd check before going ahead.

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No frowning here. Road right of way is public, paid for and maintained by all of our tax dollars. Some want to jog on our roads, drive a car, 4-wheeler, and some hunt. All are good by me.

What counties/townships have roads with out right of way?

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