Have you ever wondered if you can accompany someone hunting without your own license? It is a reasonable question that many people ask.
Going on a hunting trip isn’t just fun for the result. The entire process is exciting! Most hunting involves camping, the use of ATVs, and firearms. Each part of hunting can be rewarding, even if no game is caught during a hunt.
It can be fun to bring friends and family along for a hunt to experience any of the activities associated with hunting. But at what point will your friends and family be required to have a hunting permit?
Defining Hunting in the State of Utah
According to the state of Utah, hunting means to take or pursue a reptile,
amphibian, bird, or mammal by any means.
Hunting is all about intent. If you undertake any action to pursue an animal, legally, you are hunting. Laws can be unclear; let’s examine this further.
When you pursue an animal, you intend to capture or kill it. Hunters may scout for animals out of season without it being considered hunting. The state of Utah encourages hunters to scout out hunting locations pre-season so individual hunters can have the best season possible.
What is the difference between scouting and hunting? Again, the difference is the intent. Scouting is not done to kill or capture an animal. While scouting, seasoned individuals will observe the wildlife, look for areas where herds have migrated, and find the spots where animals will likely be when hunting season comes.
The purpose of scouting is not to harass or harm animals. Engaging wildlife out of season can get you into trouble with the law, especially if the outcome injured or kills an animal.
There is a fine line to walk if you want to bring a companion on a hunting trip.
Situations that may result in legal trouble
If you decide to bring non-hunters along for a hunting trip, there are things you should avoid doing.
- Avoid bringing unlicensed individuals on the actual hunt.
It may defeat the purpose of bringing an unlicensed individual out on a hunting trip if they will not be accompanying you when you go out to catch an animal. This is the most cautious way to avoid getting into legal trouble if government officials stop your group.
Misunderstandings are likely to arise when you are out in the field looking for animals. A government official may mistake one member of your party for undertaking an action considered to be hunting. The resulting penalty can be heavy fines and other severe consequences.
Alternatively, non-hunters can enjoy life at base camp or doing recreational activities outside of hunting.
- Do not allow unlicensed individuals to participate in hunting-related activities.
If you decide to bring an unlicensed person along with you while you are out with the intent to hunt, be sure to avoid allowing the unlicensed individual to participate in activities directly related to hunting.
This area is vague and circumstantial, so we do not recommend unlicensed persons attend a hunt.
Activities associated with hunting can include assisting with transporting killed or trapped game, setting up traps, baiting game with calls and food, and tracking animals.
These are just a few instances that may get your group in legal trouble if someone does not have a license.
- Do not allow unlicensed persons to carry firearms, game, or other tools used for hunting.
Related to the last point is the advice not to let non-hunters assist in carrying items related to hunting. This is easily mistaken as being on the hunt and can quickly get you in legal trouble.
There is little to no way for a government ranger to assess whether a person is or is not involved in a hunt. They will use their best judgment using information gathered at the scene.
Assisting a hunter by carrying weapons, ammunition, bait, tracking tools, or other gear meant to help hunters pursue animals could be evidence that the suspected person is involved in hunting.
- Do not allow unlicensed persons to harass or kill animals.
The last point to ensure non-hunters aren’t mistaken or convicted of hunting illegally is to ensure they play no part in capturing or killing any animals.
Some hunting methods involve driving the game into the range of another hunter for the final kill. Even though these actions may seem like they are undertaken without the individual’s intent to capture or kill an animal, this may not be the story a ranger believes if they confront your group.
Be sure to keep non-hunters away from any activity involving harassing or killing an animal.
Consequences of being caught hunting without a license
Hunting without a license can result in severe punishment. Depending on an individual’s circumstance, the penalty could be as light as a verbal warning or as heavy as property confiscation and jail time.
Hunting licenses ensure individuals will adhere to the rules of the hunt. These rules are established to preserve wildlife and the ecosystems where life exists. Likewise, the money gathered from licenses helps fund the state’s efforts to protect the land and life there so other hunters can enjoy the great outdoors for years to come.
Breaking the law subverts these efforts and can end with fines of thousands of dollars, the confiscation and auction of your hunting equipment (including guns, vehicles, traps, etc.), and can permanently prevent you from hunting in Utah and many other states.
Ensure a Safe and Fun Hunting Experience with R&K Hunting!
If you want to bring non-hunters along or want to accompany someone hunting without a license of your own, consider getting a guided hunting experience with us here at R&K Hunting! We can help you follow practices that will keep everyone out of legal trouble while having a great time.
Hunting is an engaging sport that involves many different aspects. Whether you are a seasoned hunter or a novice, we can help you have the positive experience you want to fuel your hunting hobby.
Spots fill up fast, so contact us today to schedule a private hunting experience!