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Hen Question


simcox282

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Lets say you were pheasant hunting with your dog. Your dog catches a bird in her mouth and kills it. To your horror it is a hen. What is the legal thing to do?, and what is the ethical thing to do?, or are they the same. thanks

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I asked a co that exact question one time and was told to leave the bird for the buzzards . seems like a waste but i can see the co's point because they would have no way of knowing how you actually got the bird.

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The legal and ethical thing to do is to leave the bird in the field. If you get caught with a hen in your game bag, no matter how you got it, you will be in a lot of trouble.

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What about this, on one of my morning hunts I jumped 2 roosters and 5 hens. One rooster was leading the pack by about 10' 25 yards ahead of me. I shot the rooster in front and hit it dead, but the 1st hen 10' behind him fell with a single pellet in her head...I am not sure, but maybe a stray pellet. I was all alone. I did not shoot at the other rooster because I had downed my legal limit. Do I leave the hen? I never shoot into a pack of birds just for this reason, but the lead rooster was 10 feet in front of the pack and the way he folded I know he took the majority of the pattern(3" 4 shoot steel). I have a hard time leaving game in the feild that I have downed. What would you do?

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Unless your barrel was 4" long, I find it hard to believe that the pattern could have been opened that wide in that short of a distance. 25 yards and have a 10' pattern? I suppose one can never put too much faith in the quality of the loads we buy.

At any rate, leave the bird. There is a fox, owl, weasel or eagle out there that will eat it. Why would you even think about taking it with you? I mean, the law is the law.

That is almost like having a flock of geese fly in and there just happens to be a swan in the group (I've seen it happen) and you end up dropping the swan. Should I take it home? I think not. Accidents happen, I have shot a hen by accident once. It happens. Leave the bird.

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Captain, I understand the law, but it doesn't just say you can't have one in possesion, you aren't supposed to shoot one. I made a mistake and took a shot I shouldn't have; although I didn't think it was a bad shot at the time, but I did keep the bird and made up my mind if I saw a warden I'd tell the truth and let him write me if he wanted. If he was watching me he would have known I only shot once. As far as my pattern being that wide, I don't think the pattern was, just a stray pellet out of the shell. I have shot at a flock of ducks before and had the lead one and one in the back of the flock drop with the rest being untouched. With the high volume that the shells are produced at I don't doubt you get an awful pattern once in a while.

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Nova, I agree. The shells these days leave a lot to be desired. I am sure that is exactly what happened. Terrible luck.

I was hunting with my dad once and we had 8 pheasants jump to the air literally all at once. I yelled rooster since there was one rooster in the group and my dad fired the only shot and dropped a hen. As he pulled up a hen flaired to the side and he nailed it. He hasn't had a bird fold up that nice ever! It happens. Personally, I would have left the bird versus possibly getting hassled by the CO, but you didn't let it go to waste which is good. I hear hen pheasant tastes a lot like Bald Eagle. :-)

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Hey, if my dog catches a hen (very unlikely at his age), it's coming home. Not sure how it can be ethical to leave a bird. Either way, that would be illegal and considered wanton waste.

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ksoutdoors,

I couldn't disagree more. Wanton waste is the intentional killing of an animal or fish and letting it go to waste. Dogs catching hens, and hunters shooting hens is an accident, not intentional and therefore not wanton waste.

Part of being ethical is following the law, whether you agree with the law or not. Ethics should not be above the law, rather they should include the law. The law says "no hens" no matter what. If your ethics allow for doing things that are unlawful then I'd say you aren't being ethical.

If we allow hens to be taken when killed accidentally then a whole pandora's box will be opened. I guarantee accidental hen deaths will be rampant.

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I couldn't agree more, it is illegal to take a hen. No matter how you came about it. Even if you found it dead in the field it is illegal to be in posession of a hen. Wanton waste does not apply in this situation. It would be like catching a walleye out of season and keeping it because it was going to die. You throw it back, however silly it seems, it is the law.

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"Part of being ethical is following the law, whether you agree with the law or not. Ethics should not be above the law, rather they should include the law. The law says "no hens" no matter what. If your ethics allow for doing things that are unlawful then I'd say you aren't being ethical."

Funny...YOU are saying "the law says 'no hens' no matter what", BUT if YOUR dog catches a hen, I'd have say his limit is included in YOURS making YOU the lawbreaker. Sure, you may not have done it on purpose, but it happened. I'd say the ethical thing, since YOU broke the law, would be to turn yourself in. But, that won't happen so I'd at least keep the bird so it doesn't go to waste. If you're ok with wasting birds, then I'd have to question who is ethical here.

Oh, by the way, did you speed today? Roll through a stop sign???? Unethical!!!

My whole point is, why waste a bird that could be eaten. I know most guys probably don't do it for the food, but WE still do. In fact, if your dog catches a hen, give me a call... smile.gif

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Quote:

My whole point is, why waste a bird that could be eaten.


because its AGAINST the LAW to keep a hen, it doesnt get any simpler than that.

regardless if you think its ethical or not, its the law period. End of discussion.

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I have posted this before. I had this happen before, shortly after I ran into a CO so I asked him what I should have done. He said you have no choice but to leave it lay. He said the DNR realizes that this is going to happen. It is the dogs instict to catch and kill. The Hen will be consumed by predators and scavengers, so it is one less live bird that they will kill.

I did leave the bird lay.

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Well, choose for yourself what you would do. BUT, if you are going to say it's unethical to break the law...don't be a hypocrite!

You can waste your bird when it happens, I'll eat mine. Ever try pheasant? wink.gif

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What part of "limit of 2 cocks per day" don't you understand?

I cannot believe we are even debating this topic. There is no season for hens, if you shoot one and take it home or dog catches it and you bring it home it doesn't matter. BOTH are illegal.

If you want to harvest hens, go to a game farm.

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If you and your family honestly need the meat to survive then more power to you in keeping a hen. If not then you are simply breaking the law and should be willing to pay the consequences. And you are right, I do occasionally speed, but I don't pretend to be right about it, and if I get pulled over I would pay my fine and accept the decisions of the judge. No one can force you to do one thing or another, and of course there are going to be laws that you don't agree with, but what kind of world would we have if people got to decide what laws they thought could be broken, and which were really important?

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Simply put, it is illegal to have a hen in your possesion.

Don't forget, the CO can take everything you have with you and more. Your vehicle, your gun, your right to hunt, etc... Not to mention a fine or worse.

You can think of a thousand ways to dispute it, but they are going to do their job.

Be safe and good luck hunting!

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"Simply put, it is illegal to have a hen in your possesion."

Now finally, a statement with some sense! I'm sure all you perfect, law-abiding pheasant hunters would agree with this previous statement, right?

Simply put, it is illegal to have a hen in your possesion. THIS APPLIES AT ALL TIMES, EVEN WHEN THE CO IS NOT LOOKING. Your dog cathes the bird, it is now in YOUR possession. The difference between YOU breaking the law and me is that I will take responsibility for my actions and eat the bird.

I'm sure you will all try to argue this but save it. However you put it, you're a law breaker.

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My dog caught a hen this weekend that won't make it but I did not even think twice about keeping it. It's a no brainer. I don't care about the wanton waste because a CO would never ticket you for that in this situation. The penalty for having a hen in possession outweighs everything else. If your dog catchs a hen, you did nothing illegal. If you shoot one, you broke the law but I still wouldn't keep it in that case.

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You cannot control a dog's natural instincts to catch a bird. Are you oblivious to the comments by those who have even posed this question to CO's?

“POSSESSION” DEFINED (per 2005 Hunting Regulations)

Game animals are in a person’s possession whether on hand, in cold storage, in transport, or elsewhere.

Unless you have it on your person, it is not considered "possession".

You can try all you want to put a spin on things, but you are only convincing yourself that you are right. Go ahead, keep the hen. I hope one day it catches up with you. Just ask yourself this question, is it worth potentially losing your truck, gun, hunting and fishing priveleges, a fine, all for keeping a hen that your dog caught?

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Well, some dogs bring birds back to hand, mine does. So maybe that is where I assumed wrong. You would then be, in your words, in possession of the hen. How can you possibly argue that? My whole point is this, you're illegal either way, keep the bird so it does not waste. Now if you're troubled with MY eithics, there really isn't anything I can do for you. If you're ok with letting a bird go to waste, then I guess we'll have to agree to disagree. I know most of the CO's in my area and I have a hard time believing a trained CO is going to look at that bird and think that is was shot.

It's your call I guess. I'm ok with my decision.

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is it still wasting when you come upon a frozen hen pheasant, that died stiff from the storm. Is it rightfully yours to take? Are you wasting a bird if you dont take it?

a coyote, racoon, or other predator kills a hen pheasant, leaves it behind, you find it? Is it rightfully yours to take? Are you wasting a bird if you dont take it?

your dog picks up a hen pheasant, dead or alive, if he killed it or just picked it up. Is it rightfully yours to take? Are you wasting a bird if you dont take it?

Not once are you ever in possesion, not once in my opinion, and I believe by LAW are you allowed to take it. I dont consider it wasting, because the LAW says I am NOT allowed to take it.

We are making a very simple thing, way more complicated than it is.

Your dogs instinct is to fetch retrieve and hunt, mistakes happen and by all means it was not done on purpose. Leave the bird behind, its the LAW.

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It doesn't matter HOW the bird was taken!!! If you hit it with a truck, caught by a dog, or shot it, regardless you CANNOT have a hen pheasant in your possession. End of story. Like I said before you can twist it around however you want, retrieve to hand, is different than in the game bag with the intention of keeping. Just because the dog brings it to you doesn't mean you have intentions to keep it. My dog picks up sticks and brings them to me, does it mean I have to bring them home?

You never answered the very important question whether or not you felt it was worth sacrificing all those things for a hen to eat. The bird will not go to waste. If you are so concerned about it going to waste, you better never leave the field with a wounded bird rooster not in your bag.

I can only believe your motivation for keeping this going is to hear yourself speak (not literally) because any logically thinking individual can see the obvious answer here.

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Ah, I love ethical questions. You know who is right? Everyone. The people who believe you should let it lay and predators will put it to use are completely right in their convictions and there is nothing wrong with that. The people who say to take it home and use it are completely right in their convictions. IF they are willing to pay the price if caught. Ethics are a tough thing to discuss. there was an article on ethics in a recent PF magazine, check it out.

One question that has stuck with me is this, can you be illegal, but ethical? Can you provide an instance where you would break the law because of your ethics? For instance, would you break the law to put down a suffering animal? For those of you that say no, consider this:

You are in your deer stand and your neighbor shoots at 11 am. 10 minutes later, here comes a doe with its jaw shot off, hobbling on 2 legs, and dripping blood. You do NOT have an anterless permit. Do you finish it off and get your neighbor? Stop here and make a decision.

Maybe it turns out, your neighbor, who is from some little town in Oklahoma, crawled out of his tree and went home. Now you are in possession of an illegal deer, if you shot it. If you did not shoot it, mebbe you and your neighbor track the deer and never find it, but it dies a terrible death. How do you feel about that? You can see how tricky it can get.

For the record, I think there are situations where I would break the law. HOWEVER, I would be fully prepared to face the consequences of the action. Incidently, this is a great topic to discuss with kids...just don't push them too hard, let them make their own decisions.

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"You never answered the very important question whether or not you felt it was worth sacrificing all those things for a hen to eat."

Have done and will do again. Doing the right thing sometimes comes with a risk. In this case though, I truly don't see much of one...

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So you don't think you will ever get caught. Just HOW often do you bring hens home? I have hunted pheasants for nearly 20 years and I spend quite a lot of time in the field every year. In all my years, I have had a dog catch a hen 2 times and accidentally shot one once. To me, it sounds like you have your excuse all prepared and plan on bringing hens home on a regular basis.

Codydawg, good scenario. I think ethics are more close to morals than laws. You can be immoral but not break any laws and vice versa. Morally you way want to shoot that doe to put it out of its misery, but if you do, you could break the law. It's quite the quandary, do you shoot the deer or leave it go? I was pressed with a very similar situation except it was a car deer accident. The deer was still alive, but definitely not going to make it. We called the Sheriff and he came out and took care of it. When on the phone with them I told them I could take care of it as I had rifle in my truck. Their comments were that under no circumstances should I do that as I could face criminal charges. CO's also have this "executive" decision capability and I would err on the side of caution. It is a tough thing to do, and it doesn't feel well watching an animal struggle when there is something you could do about it. Based on previous experience I would call the CO and have them come out or advise what to do.

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