In 2011 I called the Game and Fish, Operation Game Thief number (800-352-0700) when I observed several camouflage clothed people driving slowly down a neighborhood road, obviously hunting deer during the archery season. The operator said it’s not a problem; they can hunt there if the property is not posted. Following that incident I studied the State Laws and Regulations and was surprised at what I found.
A licensed hunter as young as 10 years of age, could legally hunt big game with a bow in our neighborhoods. The hunter can even use a crossbow if it is a “General Hunt” (sometimes referred to as a firearms or rifle hunt). It is not legal to “Discharge a firearm while taking wildlife within one-fourth mile of an occupied farmhouse ... or building without permission ...” The laws and regulations do not address distance limits for other weapons. A hunter after rabbits and squirrels, can even use a bow, crossbow, pneumatic weapon, slingshot and hand-held projectiles in our neighborhoods. It’s not clear if he has to be at least 10 years old or not.
The law (ARS 17-304) allows you to prohibit hunting on private land by posting signs which shall: “1. Be not less than eight inches by eleven inches with plainly legible wording in capital and bold-faced lettering at least one inch high. 2. Contain the words “no hunting” ... 3. Be conspicuously placed on a structure or post at least four feet above ground level at all points of vehicular access, at all property or fence corners and at intervals of not more than one-quarter mile along the property boundary ...”
Let’s imagine, one of those ugly black, red and white signs at my driveway, others at each corner (my half acre has nine corners!) and one on the other road access to my property ... wouldn’t it be an attractive addition to the property! Now consider the appearance of your neighborhood if all the landowners decide to prohibit hunting on their property!
Unfortunately, the lack of laws and regulations regarding hunting in a neighborhood seems to rely upon a hunter’s ethics. Two pages of the 2012-13 hunt information booklet are dedicated to an ethics dissertation.
Not all of us have the ethics to respect others safety and property, and good ethics are not required of anyone.
I encourage everyone concerned to contact their legislators and the Arizona Game and Fish Commission to correct this public safety issue!
Maybe I’ll hunt from your neighbors’ deck next year!