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Salmon Unlimited Member
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Joined: 09:09am - Mar 15,09
Posts: 4187
Location: north side

Post Posted: 10:30am - Aug 6,13 
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20 years back while jump shooting doves in a cut corn field in lemont, hunting with a semi novice hunter and my shorthair we encountered a situation where we had a flurry of law enforcement, helicopters,dnr officers,show up on the field we were hunting. now as far as we knew we were legal all the way down to our shoelaces with written permission to hunt signed by the land owner in my pocket. but something was different here? the officers had guns out, and you could sense the gravity of the situation building. we were in the middle of the field about 100 yrds from the service road were they had all pulled up. what should we do continue hunting?walk towards them? what? with the helicopter overhead watching us and my younger fellow hunter in a state of semi panic and even the dog was getting nervous. what should we do? having had the benefit of a family that had always hunted,and with some in law enforcement and game wardens( my dad and my uncle Dan had been "dollar a year" men) after diner discussions often turned to hunting and situations involving hunting like getting stopped and checked by the dnr or law enforcement in the field. my fathers advice came back to me like a roll of thunder. we stopped hunting and acknowledged their presence with a wave,immediately unloaded our guns making a effort to let them see us doing so, leaving the chambers open for further proof! picked up our shells and kept them in our hands and got the dog on a lead all before walking to them. shot guns pointed towards the sky we walked up to see what was up trying to keep our movements as non threatening as possible. shells in hand we approached and were instructed to come forward to them. my fathers voice came again to me saying"remember they are just as nervous as you are and you have a gun in your hand". we were disarmed at gunpoint and the shells handed over to the dnr,searched,questioned about where we had been for for the last hour. before we were told why? some yahoo hunter had been hunting squirrels a few fields over with a 22 cal rifle and had wounded a golfer on the golf course a 1/4 mile away from the stand of trees he was hunting.we were hunting in the middle of a man hunt. we were checked and rechecked by the law enforcement then the dnr. gun serial numbers taken,foid card numbers checked, ids and hunting licenses and stamps scrutinized, plugs verified ect. ect. ect. after an hour we were let go to hunt again but all the drama had taken the desire to do so right out of us. i came away with a couple very important tips about what to do when stopped in the field hunting. and with the onset of hunting season upon us i thought i might share these with you. you will probably never encounter a situation like this but what we did has become a strict guide line about what we do when we are checked in the field. here are a few pointers to remember.

1. acknowledge their presence
2.stop hunting immediately
3. unload your gun and make sure the officers see you do so. keep you breach open!
4. pick up you shells and keep them in your hand( a pet peeve by the dnr is a hunter trying to hide the shells he was using)
5. get control of your dog and put him on a lead if hunting with one
do all this before you approach the officer.
make sure you follow any direction he gives you. be respectful, offering you licences before he asks for them. the better you put these guys at ease the better it will go for you in a iffy situation.
hope this helps some of our newbee hunters remember safety first and always. good hunting
dd

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Last edited by DOUBLE D on 08:48am - Aug 7,13, edited 1 time in total.
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Chitown-Angler
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Joined: 01:13pm - Aug 14,10
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Location: Downers Grove

Post Posted: 08:01am - Aug 7,13 
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Those are all great tips Denny! As a retired LEO I think you're pretty much spot on, and I'm sure most of our active duty members here will agree. Particularly the point you made about keeping the muzzle pointed up, no sudden gestures, and following their commands. You are also right that they are just as nervous encountering an armed person as much as you are in being encountered. "Nervous" may not be the right word, when a weapon is observed or suspected, an officers training really kicks in and they become highly focused on the situation. Doing something sudden or stupid can have tragic consequences.

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Chitown-Angler
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Joined: 08:28pm - Feb 15,12
Posts: 863
Location: Hammond, IN

Post Posted: 08:16am - Aug 7,13 
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Good DNR story!

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Chitown-Angler

Joined: 09:30am - Feb 18,12
Posts: 920
Location: Mchenry, IL

Post Posted: 08:39am - Aug 7,13 
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Very good tips Denny. Unloading the weapon is a very smart move. And keeping the breach open is an extra step in keeping everyone safe.

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Chitown-Angler

Joined: 04:24pm - Feb 17,03
Posts: 2047

Post Posted: 12:16pm - Aug 8,13 
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A better move would be to lay the weapons on the ground after unloading them.

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Chitown-Angler
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Joined: 09:43am - Oct 19,07
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Location: Chicago

Post Posted: 04:54pm - Aug 8,13 
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Bulldawg wrote:
A better move would be to lay the weapons on the ground after unloading them.


Yep, thats what I have always done or hold by the stock, chamber open, gun down. I always wait for them to approach me as well. I used to encounter the DNR a lot in college. A lot of time they would just check us out in the binoculars and wave. If they want to check us, they'd start walking towards us or get out of there truck. If they wave us over, I'll walk there way but I learned a lot of time, they were just watching us from a distance to see if we are wearing our legal orange and not doing anything out of the ordinary.

I think every situation has a way to approach. Just be smart and use common sense and you shouldn't have a problem.

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Chitown-Angler

Joined: 12:42pm - Dec 26,08
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Post Posted: 12:16pm - Aug 29,15 
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I know this is an old thread, but I've recently encountered a federal warden, as well as having more recently passed hunters safety (I'm an "adult onset hunter" and while I thought common sense and online classes would suffice since I "grandfathered" out of IL, I quickly realized that I had not grandfathered out of Hunters Safety in other states...but I digress).

The WI DNR agent with whom I did my field test suggested not unloading until asked to do so, as the movement involved in unloading could spook the CO.

As for my own run-in with the Fed warden... I was with a small group and a guide in a pit blind with one of the outfitters. We laid our guns on top of the pit (essentially, on the ground) and waited. At one point we were instructed to unload, and the Warden loaded each of our guns back up (checking to ensure we were plugged).

He also checked to make sure we weren't using lead.

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Chitown-Angler

Joined: 04:01pm - Mar 30,13
Posts: 305
Location: Lombard,Il

Post Posted: 05:41pm - Aug 29,15 
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Great reading, top to bottom. I'm going out Tuesday on private land and Wednesday on state land. A great reminder for when your in the fields.

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