By Rich Landers
Hunters and joyriders who discharge firearms from vehicles appear to be killing the sport of hunting a shot at a time.
Idaho Fish and Game officers in the Clearwater Region report they are getting reports of road shooting every day.
“Imagine sitting in your house when you hear and possibly see a vehicle slowly driving by and then you hear the sound of a gunshot,” said Jennifer Bruns, Idaho Fish and Game Department spokeswoman in Lewiston. “Maybe the next day you find a dead animal or a bullet hole in a tractor or building.”
The question sportsmen must ask: Would you greet the next hunter with a smile if he knocked at your door and asked permission to get on your land?
“Officers interview road shooters and ask them why they are shooting from the roadways,” Bruns said. “With a loaded firearm resting on the floorboard at their side, a common response is, ‘I grew up hunting this way.’ ”
Shooting from the roadway is illegal.
“It’s not hunting, it’s poaching, which is the killing, trapping or capture of the hunted species contrary to applicable law,” Bruns said.
Road shooting is illegal because it’s extremely unsafe, she said.
“Hunting from roadways also contributes to trespass violations and these behaviors are often used to discredit hunters as unethical and lazy,” Clearwater Regional Conservation Officer Mark Hill said.
In Idaho and Washington, it is unlawful to hunt game animals, birds or fur-bearing animals from or by the use of any motorized vehicle except as provided by commission rule. This rule applies to all motorized vehicles, whether on water, land or in the air. This includes pickup trucks, jeeps, SUVs, UTVs, cars, three-wheelers, four-wheelers, motorcycles, boats, snowmobiles and other similar vehicles.
• Report road shooting or hunting infractions in Idaho by calling the Citizens Against Poaching (CAP) hotline (800) 632-5999. In Washington, call 911 or the local sheriff.