Opinions on Party Hunting / Tag Sharing in PA - The HuntingPA.com Outdoor Community
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post #1 of 61 (permalink) Old 08-10-2018, 09:09 PM Thread Starter
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Opinions on Party Hunting / Tag Sharing in PA

So first off let me get it out of the way, I am fully aware that party hunting and tag sharing is illegal in PA. Any big game animal can only legally be tagged by the person who shot it, the fact that people currently do it even though it is illegal is not what I want to discuss.

What I want to know is why it should or shouldn't be illegal and get your opinions on the matter. To clarify I am specifically talking about party hunting where both people are in the field together and the person who owns the tag comes over and tags the deer before it is moved. I am not referring to someone taking and using the tag of their wife or other non hunting relative 100 miles away, it needs to be someone at camp hunting with them. I did some searching on the internet and I have found that while it is legal in several states in many it is not. Among the search I found several different reasons that people cited for it being considered unethical and why it should be illegal. I have listed some of them below along with my opinions on the matter.


1.) It's for the children: They state that a young hunter shouldn't have to put his tag on an animal that someone else shot and that doing so disheartens the youngster thereby making him less likely to continue hunting in the future.

It's funny that they bring this up because in my family it would have happened the exact opposite way. My dad spent the first 12 years that my brother and I hunted putting us in the best spots, walking countless miles pushing through briar patches and dense brush trying to give us the best chance possible at getting a deer. I'm positive that had he been allowed he would have given us every tag he had just so that we would have additional opportunities. If stealing a tag from a kid is the biggest worry then the problem isn't with the system it's with the selfish parents that put themselves before their kids.


2.) They don't want someone else in their camp shooting two bucks and making them tag the second one.

This is understandable but at the same time it would be optional. There would be no requirement that just because it was brought into camp that someone had to tag it. If your tool bag brother in law shot two bucks without first confirming that someone would lend him a tag then that's on him and he should pay the fine for illegally harvesting a second buck. On the opposite side I know in my case a few years ago when my brother shot a buck in archery I would have gladly lent him my buck tag if it meant he got to hunt the opening day of rifle season with us. Instead since he couldn't hunt he had to head back for class on Monday.


3.) The game commission would have to cut the number of tags due to an increased harvest:

While this one seems plausible it would only really effect the current antlerless allocations since everyone gets a buck tag. Considering that most people only consider does table fare with no trophy value then there should be no issue as the meat would just be divided up.


4.) Everyone will just start shooting all the deer assuming they can use their buddies tags and next thing you know there will be more dead deer than they have tags:

Now this may be an issue for some people who are terrible at planning and don't have the ability to use a cell phone or a Radio but for our group if we got anywhere close to the 12 bucks or 23 does it would take to run out of tags I'm pretty sure we would already know something was up with the number of shots occurring. It's really a simple concept, I give my dad, brother and whoever else is sitting near me a heads up right after I shoot anyway.


As someone who grew up primarily hunting as a group I have never really understood the reason for the ban on party hunting and tag sharing. We always hunt based on what has the best chance of getting a deer rather than who will it benefit the most. At the end of the day all the meat gets split up so with the exception of a few nice bucks over the years it matters very little who actually shoots and tags the deer.

I know I have seen several times where it would have been advantageous to share our tags among the group. We had one year where the antlerless allocations were low and while us residents were able to get one doe tag our nonresident friends were not, guess who ended up seeing almost all of the does that year? Those three saw close to 20 does but couldn't shoot any while the other eight of us were only able to shoot two despite having 8 tags. If we had been able to share our tags we might have gotten a few more but as it stands there isn't a whole lot of meat on two does to split is 7 ways.

So to sum up my personal opinion I think it should be legal. The game commission dictates the number of tags available so adjustments could be made there. I don’t really see why there would be an issue with members of the same hunting group having the option of sharing their tags with a fellow hunter. However I want to hear all of your opinions so let me know what y’all think.
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post #2 of 61 (permalink) Old 08-10-2018, 09:25 PM
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The only way I could see using up one of my tags for someone else would be, say my kid shoots at a doe, and winds up accidentally killing a second, unseen doe that was standing beside the first one. Or, he shoots the first deer and just at the shot the second deer jumps into the line of fire as well, and is also killed. Rather than let a deer go to waste, I'd use a tag to claim the second deer. I don't see anything wrong in a case like this since its better than a person who does this exact thing but leaves the second deer to rot for fear they'd get in trouble.
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post #3 of 61 (permalink) Old 08-10-2018, 09:27 PM
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My opinion is that you're essentially doubling your odds(or more) by allowing this. What if only 1 guy in a large party has a buck tag, but he has 2,4,10,20 other people hunting for him. Is that fair?
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post #4 of 61 (permalink) Old 08-10-2018, 09:28 PM
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It is so easy to get multiple tags now with increased doe allocations and dmap tags. I really don’t see the need to share tags. If somebody wants the venison then give them a deer you tagged. You can always beat the brush for your buddies and possibly up their odds at shooting a deer. There’s really no need to fill somebody else’s tag. Young hunters also have a lot more opportunities to fill a tag than say 20 years ago. That being said, I would forfeit my tag to a kid hunting with me if legal. The thing that burns me up is the people that don’t fill out a tag in any season. It happens far more than people think. I know some darn good hunters that do this.
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post #5 of 61 (permalink) Old 08-10-2018, 09:32 PM
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In your 4th example...what if the persons were out of cell phone/radio range. What if they're hunting hundreds of miles apart? I know you addressed this, but what defines "the same camp"?? Many of us don't hunt out of a camp.
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post #6 of 61 (permalink) Old 08-10-2018, 10:03 PM
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Ahem.... No, no and no. Why is this even a question. We now have reverted to sharing tags on illegally killed deer? And as for the kids, nope. As one poster has said even in a mistake kill there is a process for that, none include illegally tagging deer. And I agree some good hunters do this, why is beyond me and now you never know who could be watching. Shooting more deer than you have tags I am sure has happened, why chance it.
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post #7 of 61 (permalink) Old 08-10-2018, 10:23 PM
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Large numbers of does can be shot in a hurry when these methods are used by large groups. IMO not a good idea.
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post #8 of 61 (permalink) Old 08-10-2018, 10:28 PM
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I think my Dad and your Dad may have been the same person.

I shoot a doe or two every year on my own tags because I want the meat. I would much rather my son or any other kid have that opportunity. I probably wouldn't hand my tag to another adult.

Party tags for kids then?

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post #9 of 61 (permalink) Old 08-11-2018, 01:02 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Marcus99 View Post
My opinion is that you're essentially doubling your odds(or more) by allowing this. What if only 1 guy in a large party has a buck tag, but he has 2,4,10,20 other people hunting for him. Is that fair?
Depends, for us we have between 8 and 14 people hunting in rifle season depending on who’s up and have never taken more than 5 bucks in a season so running out of tags wouldn’t be an issue so much one lucky person getting a chance at a second buck. And no one would force them to give up their tag, it’s theirs to give only if they want to.

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In your 4th example...what if the persons were out of cell phone/radio range. What if they're hunting hundreds of miles apart? I know you addressed this, but what defines "the same camp"?? Many of us don't hunt out of a camp.
Well by law the animal has to be tagged before it is moved so the other hunter would have to be close enough to tag the animal for the other person. This generally limits you to people in your immediate area. The idea isn’t for the whole family hunting licenses just so one person can use all the tags to get a bunch of bucks, it’s would be to allow those hunting together to utilize a couple extra tags that would otherwise go unfilled due to the luck of the draw.

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Originally Posted by SRA-5C+ View Post
Ahem.... No, no and no. Why is this even a question. We now have reverted to sharing tags on illegally killed deer? And as for the kids, nope. As one poster has said even in a mistake kill there is a process for that, none include illegally tagging deer. And I agree some good hunters do this, why is beyond me and now you never know who could be watching. Shooting more deer than you have tags I am sure has happened, why chance it.
I think you missed the point, I’m not talking about mistake kills or what is currently being done illegally with people shooting deer and tagging them with someone else’s tag. I’m talking about the possibility of allowing a group of hunters hunting in close proximity to share their tags amongst themselves. This includes parents giving their children extra opportunities to harvest deer at their own personal expense.

Take for example my cousin, he only hunts the first Saturday of doe season and while I hunt several days of archery and muzzleloader plus the opening day and both weekends of rifle season. The one year I used both my doe tags in muzzleloader season, when rifle came around I had several does walk past me while my cousin was 200 yards away on the other side of the ridge. Since I didn’t have a tag I let them walk by and simply took some pictures hoping they would go past my cousin. They didn’t and as such my cousins tags went unused as he never saw a deer that day. Since I had the opportunity he gladly would have tagged a deer I shot as he would get some meat rather than letting his tags go to waste.

On a different year my cousin got two does in the morning so he became a walker for the afternoon drive, halfway through he had a group of 6 does run back through the drive and stop right in front of him. Since he only had a buck tag left they simply ran around him and out of the drive while I was standing with nothing running past me. I would have given him my tag if allowed simply so we could add another deer to the meat pile. As I’ve said before, all of our deer are butchered together and the meat split amongst the hunters so the more deer that group gets then the more deer meat everybody gets.

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Originally Posted by simoncool View Post
Large numbers of does can be shot in a hurry when these methods are used by large groups. IMO not a good idea.
This all goes back to the planning and good sportsmanship, if people want to go off and whack a bunch of deer without communicating and keeping tabs on how many were shot then it will be their problem when they show up with 9 does and only 8 tags. Personally for us we have a large enough group that the issue wouldn’t be the group running out of tags so much as the individual. I shudder at the thought of having to butcher 16 deer all shot the same day, I don’t think we have the freezer space for 8 let alone 16.

A few years back when they still had the concurrent seasons my brother managed to completely tag out on the opening day by shooting a buck and two does. Guess who was mad they got stuck back at camp the second day because they couldn’t hunt? If it had been legal I would have offered him my one of my tags simply so that he would have been allowed to hunt with us and I know my dad and others would have done the same.
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post #10 of 61 (permalink) Old 08-11-2018, 06:29 AM
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IMO and mine alone this sounds more like greed than a party tag.If your brother really wanted to hunt the next day he should have saved a tag or put on drives for the rest of the camp.
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