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December 2013 Archives

The pursuit of happiness and deer

This fall I was fortunate enough to harvest a nice nine-point buck while deer hunting in northern Minnesota. He happened to stroll by while I, decked in blaze orange, was concealed in a deer stand with my loaded .243. In case there was any question about it, the Minnesota Court of Appeals recently confirmed that even though I wasn't traipsing through the woods in search of  that deer, I was indeed  "pursuing" it, such that I needed the license I'd previously bought at Fleet Farm. The court's confirmation came in the case of State v Schmid. In that case, a game warden found Roger Schmid in a deer blind in a deer-hunting area during hunting season while dressed in blaze orange clothing and armed with a shotgun loaded with deer slugs. When the warden questioned Schmid about why he did not have the appropriate hunting license, Schmid claimed he was hunting in a deer-hunting party with others, that he was actually only nature watching and that he was coyote hunting rather than deer hunting. Unpersuaded, the warden cited Schmid for hunting without a license. Under Minnesota law, one must have a license to "take" deer, and "taking" deer is defined to include "pursuing" deer. Schmid challenged the ticket, claiming that the evidence did not establish that was actually "pursuing" deer. Relying on a number of sources ranging from the Bible  and Field and Stream magazine to state statutes and regulations, the court rejected Schmid's argument and upheld the ticket:

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