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Handguns on WMA

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I was stopped and checked by a game warden on Pearl River WMA yesterday 10/12/19. We had finished the morning squirrel hunt and headed out. He approached my vehicle and asked routine questions. No problem, everything went smoothly. Let me add I have no issues being stopped/checked and have been countless times over the years. I applaud game wardens for doing a hard job that is needed. While looking over my license game warden asked what weapons were used and if any more in the vehicle. At no point did he ever ask to see the weapons and I was just being honest. Told him my son had a shotgun and I a .22 rifle. I also had my .40 cal pistol in the truck. Game warden perked up and wanted to know what the pistol was for which I replied self defense. He proceeded to explain that since no gun season was presently open for deer that I was breaking the law by having the pistol on the WMA. He handed me a copy of the regs with the language highlighted which I've attached. He let me go with a warning and added that if I had a concealed carry permit I would be ok to have it on the WMA as long as I wasn't hunting with it. I'm sure this has to be a very misunderstood law since he had the regs with the highlighted language ready to go. Also, many hunters I come across in the woods have a pistol on their side, presumably for defending against hogs during squirrel season. Anyway thought I'd share this experience.
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Re: Handguns on WMA
Read a couple of bullet points up from what you have marked out in the photo. It reads as follows:

Firearms and bows and arrows are not allowed on WMAs during closed seasons EXCEPT on designated shooting ranges or as permitted for trapping, and EXCEPT as allowed pursuant to R.S. 56:109.C and R.S. 56:1691. Bows and broadhead arrows are not allowed on WMAs EXCEPT during deer archery season, turkey season or as permitted for bowfishing. Active and retired law enforcement officers in compliance with POST requirements, Federal Law Enforcement Officers and holders of Louisiana concealed handgun permits or permit holders from a reciprocal state, who are in compliance
with all other state and federal firearms regulations, may possess firearms on WMAs, provided these firearms are not used for any hunting purpose.

Note....it does not state what type of firearms are not allowed on WMAs during closed seasons....

In the older regs, the section you have marked in the photo read as such:
Center-fire rifles and handguns larger than .22 caliber rimfire, shotgun slugs or shot larger than BB lead or F steel shot cannot be carried onto any WMA EXCEPT during modern and primitive firearm deer seasons and during special shotgun season for feral hogs on Atchafalaya Delta, Pass-a-Loutre, Pointe-aux-Chenes and Salvador WMAs (see individual WMA season schedules for specific regulations).

Opposed to the current requirements which only prohibit break action and bolt action centerfire handguns:
The following cannot be carried onto any WMA EXCEPT during modern and primitive firearm deer seasons and during special shotgun season for feral hogs on Atchafalaya Delta, Pass-a-Loutre, Pointe aux-Chenes and Salvador WMAs (see individual WMA season schedules for specific regulations).
–– Centerfire rifles
–– Break-action centerfire and Bolt action centerfire handguns
–– Scoped centerfire handguns
–– Shotgun slugs or shot larger than BB lead or F steel

Having said all of that.....I would be willing to go out on a limb and say the older verbiage was changed to prevent somebody from bringing a TC Contender or a Remington 700CP onto a WMA under the guise of being a concealed handgun....under the protection of the Concealed Handgun Permit.

To do a really deep dive into the law....I'm not a lawyer....just reading the laws....The way I am reading the regs and looking at the letter of the law.....as long as the .40 was in your truck....and not on your person...he could not write you a citation...with or without a CHP. The two revised statutes quoted in the regs....first one (in a nutshell) says you can't have a device capable of being used....blah blah blah....unless the person has been authorized by permit....yada yada yada....basically...you have your license, you did the self clearing permit, you are there during hunting season.

§109.
C. No person shall knowingly take, attempt to take, disturb, or destroy any wild bird or wild quadruped or the nest, egg, or young thereof on lands set apart as wildlife management areas and wildlife refuges, or have in his possession or keep, while on the lands, any trap, snare, or other device capable of being used in the taking or disturbance of the birds or quadrupeds on such areas, unless the person previously has been expressly authorized by a permit from the department to do so and only for the purpose and under the conditions specified in the permit.

The second RS mentioned, RS 56:1691, somewhat contradicts the first....BUT...as long as the .40 was in your truck and not on your person (unless you have a CHP). Reason being....you can legally carry it in your vehicle....stating self-defense/protection reasons....as part of the LA castle doctrine....not a law allowing you to carry a weapon or possess a weapon in your home or vehicle....but, a law providing protection to you should you have to use the weapon in self defense (Justifiable Homicide). And, since your vehicle is considered an extension of your home.....well....I think you are within your legal right to have the weapon in your vehicle.

§1691. Possession of firearms

A person who lawfully possesses a firearm may possess or transport such firearm within the boundaries of a state park, state historic site, state preservation area, wildlife management area, or wildlife refuge.

Again...I'm not a lawyer and not giving legal advice....just my interpretation of what I'm reading. If you told the officer you had a .40, in your vehicle, for self-defense purposes....and he would have written you a citation....I think it could easily be overturned in court. But, who wants to go through all of that? Keep it simple....get the CHP and not have any question about it...or carry a .22 magnum rimfire during squirrel season (not a break action derringer! LOL) for protection.
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Re: Handguns on WMA
I would be in agreement with you if it is in your vehicle and not on your possession when being checked in the field or on your way back from hunting having that firearm in your truck would not be against the law. I would not of even told him I had a firearm in my vehicle. If you want to be that picky you could check every vehicle on the management area parking lot where there is launching boats and right a ton of tickets.
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Re: Handguns on WMA
That seems to be a new regulation that I do not recall seeing last season and guess I will thoroughly check the regs(do not carry pistol)and seems like the reg was changed to prevent what used to be legal,carrying pistol loaded with ratshot for snakes during bow season.Saw wicked cottonmouth just last week in Big Branch and ratshot woulda taken care of him,though Big Branch archery-only!!Thanks for alerting those of us who were NOT aware of that change!Guess .22 ratshot should be legal.

Mandevillian
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Re: Handguns on WMA
BlueShamu, I didn't highlight that verbiage in the regulation pamphlet, that's how it was handed to me by the game warden, just saying. And whether or not a ticket would hold up in court, who knows. I for one don't want to go through the hassle of finding out. I been putting off getting the concealed carry permit, suppose its time I just go ahead and get it and be done with it. Main reason I put this post on here because I know there are many folks carrying handguns in their vehicles going on WMAs. I'm sure I wasn't the first he gave a warning to and guarantee I won't be the last. Eventually those warnings will turn into tickets, whether we feel they are justified or not. If the regs would be easier to read, there wouldn't be so much grey area. And again, this is specific to WMAs, not private property or NWRs.
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Re: Handguns on WMA
nutsabtfishing, guess I didn't clarify in my post but my son and I were already in my vehicle driving out. If your familiar with Pear River WMA, game warden was sitting at the corner of the main black top road and Oil Well Road. As we approached he stopped us. Our hunting weapons were on the back seat. My handgun was not in plain view. He did not do a vehicle search but I have had that done to me in the past. Nothing ever came of it before and I have nothing to hide. I feel as long as you are up front with the game warden, they tend to be a bit more courteous in return. Not all of them but some game wardens can be a bit on edge during the initial meeting till they see how you react. If he had done a vehicle search or spotted my handgun without me telling him it was there, I feel certain I would have gotten a ticket instead of a warning and it would have given him reason to try to find something else to ticket me for.
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Re: Handguns on WMA
There is no doubt in my mind that the regs changed dramatically,gonna see if I have 2018-2019 regs and I recall seeing where hogs COULD be hunted with handgun but it had to be during general gun season for deer.Where I typically hunt,Big Branch,handguns never allowed and would have to see if they do allow ratshot for snake prevention,however.It is increasingly difficult to keep up with sometimes either confusing or conflicting regs and one over-zealous Fed Agent tried his best to pin a violation on me and Bayoubob in NShore Marsh about 4-5 years or so ago and we had the regs about memorized and what he was trying to get us for certainly would not have stood up in court.Basically,he was trying to imply that we had NOT complied with the regulation of having decoys and blind out of hunt area by 1:00 pm and guess he did not count on the extra hour we paddled OUT of our hunt area as he checked us at Pipeline Launch around 1:45-2:00 pm that particular day.Made my buddy empty EVERY shotgun shell outta his blind bag!!!

Mandevillian

P.S. Saw buddy of mine that used to routinely check NShore Marsh hunters and he joked about checking me!!!
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Re: Handguns on WMA
In a nutshell and the best rule of thumb....if it’s legal to use for any particular season currently open on the WMA, it’s legal to have in your possession. If it’s not.....you’re opening yourself up to the Agent’s interpretation of the laws. But, check each WMA’s specific rules regulations as they may be different from another’s.

In other words, if you want to hunt hogs, legally, you can go out during October squirrel season with a 10 gauge shotgun and #2 shot. Technically....it’s legal gear for squirrel....but, who in their right mind does that, right? Or, in my case, I’ll take a .17 WSM for “squirrel.” LOL...but, I better make sure I am making headshots. That 20 grain polymer tip traveling 3000 FPS does not leave much to work with if you shoot the shoulders! But, being it is a rim fire cartridge, it’s legal for squirrel and rabbit.....and of course, hogs.
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Re: Handguns on WMA
In a nutshell and the best rule of thumb....if it's legal to use for any particular season currently open on the WMA, it's legal to have in your possession. If it's not.....you're opening yourself up to the Agent's interpretation of the laws. But, check each WMA\'s/NWR\'s specific rules regulations as they may be different from another's....
in other words, if you want to hunt hogs, legally, you can go out during October squirrel season with a 10 gauge shotgun and #2 shot. Technically....it's legal gear for squirrel....not on Big Branch, though (#4 steel is largest shot for NWR)....but, who in their right mind does that, right? Or, in my case, I'll take a .17 WSM for 'squirrel.' LOL...but, I better make sure I am making headshots. That 20 grain polymer tip traveling 3000 FPS does not leave much to work with if you shoot the shoulders! But, being it is a rim fire cartridge, it's legal for squirrel and rabbit.....and of course, hogs.
And, for the record, .22 handguns are legal gear for squirrel and rabbit.
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Re: Handguns on WMA
With that fact that you were already in your vehicle that would make a little difference but I might of not even thought about saying anything about the hand gun. One way around that would be just to carry a PMR 30 22 magnum pistol you can carry up to 60 rounds with two clips and if I am not mistaken you can kill squirrels with a 22 magnum and let me tell you it can knock out a hog as well I use it to kill hogs in my trap I have and when I am trapping for Coyotes.
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Re: Handguns on WMA
Years ago I went hunting at Bens Creek WMA. Arrived on Thursday to set up tent and hunt black powder Thursday and Friday and modern firearms Saturday and Sunday. I was approached at the check station by game warden, who when he saw my 30.06 rifle in my tuck next to my black powder rifle, asked why I had modern firearm during primitive weapons season. I told him I would be there until Sunday afternoon and that I left the bullets for the 30.06 in the tent and was going to lock up rifle in truck while hunting. He said I was not allowed to enter WMA with a modern firearm, but I could leave it at the campground.
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Re: Handguns on WMA
Old regulations said only rim fire rifles outside deer season. New regulations say no break action or bolt action center fire pistols. Does that mean revolvers and automatic pistols are OK? lol
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