Home Forums Miscellaneous The Battlefront Road Hunting For PheasantsIs It Legal?

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  • HawkeyeFever
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    I have a friend who insists that road hunting for pheasants is illegal, but I tell him that it is not. I have done it since I could hunt, and know that there are rules, but that it IS legal.

    Some of the rules:

    No shooting within 200 yards of occupied buildings, livestock, etc.

    No shooting over a paved road

    No shooting in the ditches of a highway/interstate

    No shooting from a vehicle

    Shotgun must be fully encased/unloaded when not in use

    Please fill me in and add any other rules. If my friend is right, please let me know and I will stop road hunting now and forever.

    Thanks.

    KidIcarus
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    perfectly legal, I think you have covered all of the don’t there except I think there is an actual speed limit in which you can drive (15 mph) and DON’T FORGET the blaze orange.

    jstrahn
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    So, if you can’t shoot them in the ditches, where exactly are you shooting these pheasants? On private property and then jumping fences to retrieve them?

    I’ll admit I’m stupid on the subject but I don’t see how this would work unless you had permission on the property across the ditch.

    Jefro
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    Quote by: jstrahn

    So, if you can’t shoot them in the ditches, where exactly are you shooting these pheasants? On private property and then jumping fences to retrieve them?

    I’ll admit I’m stupid on the subject but I don’t see how this would work unless you had permission on the property across the ditch.

    It is perfectly legal to walk/hunt ditches. If you flush a bird and drop it into a field. You have the right to cross a fence, unarmed, to get it without asking permission.

    [email protected]
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    Quote by: Jefro

    Quote by: jstrahn

    So, if you can’t shoot them in the ditches, where exactly are you shooting these pheasants? On private property and then jumping fences to retrieve them?

    I’ll admit I’m stupid on the subject but I don’t see how this would work unless you had permission on the property across the ditch.

    It is perfectly legal to walk/hunt ditches. If you flush a bird and drop it into a field. You have the right to cross a fence, unarmed, to get it without asking permission.

    You can shoot in ditches not paved road ditches *gravel roads* you CANNOT shoot over fences into private property if the bird does go down on there side yes you can rertrieve it without a firearm without permision.

    TeamAsgrow
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    I thought that a year or two ago they changed the rule that if an animal went over a fence that it was illegal or considered tresspassing to shoot it even if you are in the ditch and it was originally there, but once it crosses the fence it is tresspassing and i just looked in the regs and didnt see it any where I may be wrong.

    Maceman
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    Wouldnt it be alot smarter and safer to just hunt property that you have permission?? I think theres a fine line there that can get read alot of different ways and be handled differently by 2 different DNR people? The DNR will have to investigate if someone calls in a complaint about tresspassers, It makes more sense to me to avoid the situation and not tick off the landowners and ruin it for someone else!!!!!! Just my thoughts.

    pheasant1
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    I’m going to tweek this just a little. You can shoot within 200 yards of livestock as long as it is not a feed lot. You can shoot within 200 yards if you have permission. You can use bird shot accross a paved road or US Highway NOT an interstate. You can also hunt the ditches of a paved road NOT an interstate

    mattcondon
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    My understanding is that just so your gun is unloaded and cased, you don’t shoot from the vehicle or too close to buildings and livestock, and that you don’t shoot over the road or across the fence. I’d probably shoot a rooster on an unpaved road if everything was clear around me regardless of which side of the road we were on though. The fence deal could be kind of tricky because you cn go unarmed to retrieve downed game but that also makes people want to shoot em over the fence.

    Last year, in Sodak, on the opening week of pheasant season we were parked on the road looking at this field we hunt and planning how to walk it. It’s about 1/4 corn, a 3rd hay with a few cattails in a low spot leading from a road culvert, and the rest is a mostly dried up slough. Anyway, we’re parked there 60 yards from the cattails and these two idiots pull up, get out, get the dogs out (we already have a couple of ours out 🙄 ) and get ready to hunt the ditch (the whole little patch was clearly the target from how the got ready to block it and watchin em plan their attack). So we walked back and asked em what they were plannin to do nd the guy gives up the jerk-off response about how the ditch is public and he doesn’t care that we were getting ready to hunt it. His buddy didn’t say anything but he gave him a look like “ya sure bout this?” still didn’t stop him from shooting though. We said whatever and let em walk it and they dropped one like 20 yards out in the field, crippled another, and flushed about 10 out of the cattail patch 👿 . I was pretty upset but we still killed about 8 more out of those cattails, two of which I doubled on 😈 . haha that helped B)

    Da_Hunter
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    Quote by: Maceman

    Wouldnt it be alot smarter and safer to just hunt property that you have permission??

    Smart and safe is going out of style. I know there are a lot of safe and ethical hunters out there, but unfortunately there is a lot of the opposite too. If the owner of the property has THAT big of a problem with me walking his ditches and lets me know, I’d be considerate enough to leave that stretch alone. I know I don’t have to, that’s just me.

    As far as only hunting private ground where I have permission, I have a place where I can hunt, but only a couple days out of the year since he and his family hunt it as well. Until I get permission from several more landowners, I’ll be out in the ditch.

    IAtaxidermist
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    I quit roadhunting when all these great rules came about. Let me ask this question? How many of you can get off a shot at that rooster before he crosses the fence flying away? Before that rule came about of the 200 roosters I shot back in the day 5 might have been legal. Dumb Dumb rule. Thats OK though the way the numbers are going down in this state due to habitat loss I almost feel bad shooting one let alone three a day. To each his own.

    Another slap in the face was when they cut off the hunting of railroad ditches.

    Just watching the resource dwindle on the NE side of the state. Shooting preserves are the future of this bird.

    IaCraig
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    Depends what time of year you do it ! 😉

    I agree with MaceMan that there are a lot of grey areas in hunting ditches, however I don’t feel that is reason to avoid them entirely. I’m not certain if it is true but I think I read in the paper one time it may even depend upon how the land was surveyed (technically farmers own to the middle of the road, and in some areas that has a bearing). Personally, I use a little common sense by avoiding ditches near no-hunting signs, farmsteads, livestock and along busy pavements and I’ve never had a landowner come talk to me. Also, usually if I actually walk road ditches I try to pick ones where I know who owns the land accross the fence, however not always.
    If someday a landowner does come chew me out for hunting a ditch, even if I am 99% certain I am in the legal right I have no intention of holding my ground or arguing with them unless it actually goes to court.

    IaCraig

    Maceman
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    I think alot of it is people are getting to lazy to get off thier backsides and walk a good field opting for walking 20 feet from the truck and then moving on. Most of the landowners i know would still consider this tresspassing and would report it to the DNR. I think its wise to avoid the whole mess and hunt smart and safe!! To many people take the laws and regulations into thier own hands and think they can do what they used to do 20 years ago and never bother reading the new rules and regulations!!! Common sense and common courtesy goes a long ways!!!! It only takes one bad apple………………………………………

    HawkeyeFever
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    Quote by: Maceman

    I think alot of it is people are getting to lazy to get off thier backsides and walk a good field opting for walking 20 feet from the truck and then moving on. Most of the landowners i know would still consider this tresspassing and would report it to the DNR. I think its wise to avoid the whole mess and hunt smart and safe!! To many people take the laws and regulations into thier own hands and think they can do what they used to do 20 years ago and never bother reading the new rules and regulations!!! Common sense and common courtesy goes a long ways!!!! It only takes one bad apple………………………………………

    Baloney. I would love the opportunity to “get off my backside” and walk a good field. I would damn near kill for it.

    Have you ever seen the sea of blaze orange in public hunting areas during the first month or so of the season?

    Ever try getting permission to hunt a field that you have no connections to or do not know the landowner? Your chances are one in ten AT BEST.

    There is no reason you cannot hunt smart and safe while road hunting. I already explained the rules as I know them, and I follow them to the extreme.

    In the last two years since I moved back to the state, I have seen pheasants in ditches while hunting probably twenty times. Know how many times I actually got out of my truck? Maybe six. Know how many times I actually fired my shotgun? Maybe three. How many birds did I bag? ZERO. These numbers are a result of me hunting safe, having common sense, and being courteous.

    Sure, I see nice fields and ask to hunt, too. Probably the same twenty times have I gotten out of my truck to ask permission. Know how many times I was actually given permission? ONCE.

    If most of the landowners you know consider shooting a pheasant on their state/county maintained road trespassing, what does that tell you about the percentage of them who would actually let me hunt land that they maintain when I pull into their driveway with a smile on my face and my eleven year old son in tow? That was a rhetorical question, but you can answer it if you wish.

    The problem is that land owners’ mentalities have changed from what they were twenty years ago…for the worst. Territoriality and greed is the norm from what I have seen, and it makes me sick. The one bad apple you speak of is now nineteen out of twenty in my book, and they are landowners, not hunters.

    I don’t suppose you would invite me to hunt one of the multitude of fields that you apparently have access to? I promise to hunt safe, be courteous, pick up my spent shells, and be eternally grateful.

    Until then, I will spend the four or five days that I actually hunt sitting on my lazy backside looking for pheasants in the ditch and trying to explain to my son why we can hunt like we did twenty years ago.

    I will be waiting for your open invitation.

    Jefro
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    Quote by: Maceman

    I think alot of it is people are getting to lazy to get off thier backsides and walk a good field opting for walking 20 feet from the truck and then moving on. Most of the landowners i know would still consider this tresspassing and would report it to the DNR. I think its wise to avoid the whole mess and hunt smart and safe!! To many people take the laws and regulations into thier own hands and think they can do what they used to do 20 years ago and never bother reading the new rules and regulations!!! Common sense and common courtesy goes a long ways!!!! It only takes one bad apple………………………………………

    Hunting ditches is legal. Any landowner who would call the DNR claiming trespass is the one who needs to read the rules and regs. I was hunting ditches 20 years ago and I still do now. There is nothing inherently unsafe, or discourteous about it.

    Considering that landowner who would call the DNR on a ditch hunter sure as heck isn’t going to give permission to hunt the other side of the fence, I don’t think I’ll bother wasting my time and asking permission to get off my backside and walk their field. How about you keep that broad brush to yourself?

    jardan
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    Quote by: Maceman

    I think alot of it is people are getting to lazy to get off thier backsides and walk a good field opting for walking 20 feet from the truck and then moving on. Most of the landowners i know would still consider this tresspassing and would report it to the DNR. I think its wise to avoid the whole mess and hunt smart and safe!! To many people take the laws and regulations into thier own hands and think they can do what they used to do 20 years ago and never bother reading the new rules and regulations!!! Common sense and common courtesy goes a long ways!!!! It only takes one bad apple………………………………………

    Calling people lazy and get off there backsides is way off. I am guessing you have family,friends or you pay for the option to hunt private land. If you hunt public land then please say so. But to generalize anyone that road hunts is a lazy person was a bad choice of words. Many of our older population of Iowans or physically incapable people that cannot walk the distances that are required. For them road hunting is a viable option to get out and pursue a sport that they love.

    pheasant1
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    Jefro and Hawkeye, I couln’t agree more. We are a land of too many regulations and if those regulations make it so I’m in the right you can damn bet assured I will “educate” a land owner if he comes at me with that BS about tresspassing. And I know of NO land owner in the state of Iowa who owns the ground to the middle of the road. It might have been surveyed from there with a bench mark and then measured to lot line and an EASMENT granted for county, state, city or federal, but they do NOT own it. Worked on state survey crew for a few years.

    dkwolf
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    Going to toss my $0.02 out here as well. I work for an engineering/land surveying firm. Property boundaries are described to the section line or center of road (USUALLY the same line) and if a road borders, acreage is removed for PUBLIC RIGHT-OF-WAY. That’s fenceline to fenceline, folks – usually 33′ from centerline of road. The regs say I can hunt that, and you can bet I don’t feel one bit guilty about walking it with my dog. If a landowner ever confronts me about it – while hunting, picking asparagus, or just walking my dog, you can bet I’ll educate them about it.

    As for the comment about ditch hunters being lazy – how lazy is it to park your truck at an intersection, get out with your dog, and walk the entire mile on one side of the ditch, knowing you might as well walk the other ditch the whole mile back to get to your truck again? How often do you make a two mile push on your private ground? Yeah, we all wish we had an abundance of private ground in pristine habitat to walk every year, but for those of us that just can’t get permission or access, we have to take what we can get. And like has been said – if I didn’t hunt ditches, I might as well not even get the shotgun out of the safe until about the third week of the season; before that, every chunk of public ground around here gets SLAMMED over and over again.

    JigginFool
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    i only pheasant hunt from the roads and ditches…i dont know anyone to hunt land and am not going to spend my day hunting public land with 2 guys and a still learning rhodesian ridgeback. road hunting finds birds quick and the thrill of dropping a buddy off on a known group of pheasants in the ditch is a a rush…we just pinch the birds off at each end of the ditch and they usualy flush between us. safety always first.

    TeamAsgrow
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    Quote by: The problem is that land owners’ mentalities have changed from what they were twenty years ago…for the worst. Territoriality and greed is the norm from what I have seen, and it makes me sick. The one bad apple you speak of is now nineteen out of twenty in my book, and they are landowners, not hunters.

    Guess the only thing to do now is become a land owner or hunt public. There are plenty of great public grounds.

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