The Legalities of “Walkie Talkie” Use While Hunting

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-talkies 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.