Hunting for Answers

Hunting for Answers: Is a Picture of Bait the Same as Live Bait?

hunting-gun-regulationsMost seasoned duck hunters know that Ohio law prevents duck hunting over an area that has been live baited within the last 10 days. But can a duck hunter use a picture of live bait in order to lure their targets? This is the question leaving us hunting for answers.

This is exactly the question a client asked me recently. I have to admit that this one had me scratching my head. Despite some in-depth legal research, there was no clear legal answer in the Ohio hunting regulations or the case law.

So I reached out to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (“ODNR”) for an advisory legal opinion as I was hunting for answers. After meandering through the various levels of ODNR representatives (the novel question got escalated several times), finally there was an answer. While live bait is prohibited, a picture of bait is not. I was able to advise my client that his desired method of luring ducks was allowed. I am waiting to hear back from him regarding whether it actually works…

But the moral of this story for hunters goes well beyond a debate about bait – it is the importance of staying compliant with Ohio hunting law before heading out for the pond. My client could have used his bait pictures without investigating first, but in recent years, the authorities have issued more and more citations to hunters. Had ODNR decided that a picture of bait was the same thing as using bait, my client could have had a wonderful fall day ruined by a citation and possibly criminal charges.

When it comes to the law, asking permission is generally better than asking for forgiveness when hunting for answers. If you have a hunting law issue, call Wright & Schulte before you head out.

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