By Julia M. Stancil, Esq.
Several clients have asked about the legality of "walkie talkie"
use or use of other electronic devices while hunting. For example, an
elk hunter asked me if he would be violating Colorado's wildlife laws
if he and his son used "walkie talkie's" to communicate
their locations while hunting on opposite sides of a creek. Of course,
the hunter's concern was safety while hunting and my answer was that
this would not be an illegal use of an electronic device.
The statute he was referring to was C.R.S. 33-6-124(3), which states as
follows: "it is unlawful for two or more people on the ground, in
a motor vehicle, or in a vessel to use electronic devices to communicate
information in the furtherance of a violation of Articles 1 to 6 of this
title or of a commission rule. A person who violates this subsection (3)
is guilty of a misdemeanor, and upon conviction thereof, shall be punished
by a fine of two hundred dollars and an assessment of 15 license suspension
points." Of note, if a person accumulates 20 suspension points over
a period of five consecutive years, the commission may suspend their license
to hunt and fish for up to five years.
It would not be illegal for hunters to use "walkie talkies" to
communicate their locations. It is not illegal for an individual to advise
another that "there is a herd of elk coming your way." While
not illegal to advise on the locations of animals per se, some people
feel this conduct is not ethical for a hunter under the principles of
fair chase and fair play. An example of something unlawful would be to
advise another "there is a herd of elk coming your way – shoot
one for me!." Another example of unlawful use of walkie talkie's
would be if a hunter shoots an elk over bait and then uses a walkie talkie
to communicate his location to his hunting partner for assistance in field
dressing the animal. In this example, but the hunter who shot the elk
over bait, and the hunter who assisted in field dressing would be in violation
of various statutes.
As always, hunters should review the current laws on a yearly basis as
these laws change. If you have been cited for a violation of any wildlife
law, or have a question on the laws, please contact an experienced attorney
from Wildlife Lawyers, a division of Feldmann Nagel Margulis.