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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
What laws does Utah have in relation to hunting with firearms accessories? In particular, I'm curious about suppressors and night vision scopes. Night time coyote hunting appeals to me, but I think it runs afoul to the law, but I'm not sure for what reason. Is it ANY night hunting? Only protected species? Is it ok if you're able to see the animal without spotlighting to ensure it's not a person or protected species?

What about using suppressors? I wouldn't mind going after hares (the varmint kind) with a suppressed .22. I'm not sure were to look in the legal code to find the hunting regs.

What about non-varmint animals? Legal to hunt for deer with suppressors provided you're licensed and have the appropriate tags?
 

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After my buddies and I got into a lengthy conversation about this, I did some minimal research into the topic related to HUNTING only. Let my clarify, not a ton of effort went into this so keep your flame thrower in the closet.

Basically, you could use night or thermal vision to acquire and track a target. Since you can only hunt one half hour before sunrise and the same after sunset, these would be of little use during actual hunting hours. Also, regs don't allow any type of visible laser to be used. In all, most of the cool toys can't be used or become useless for actually hunting.

However, I did see a real cool YouTube video of peeps hunting wild pig at night in Texas with both a night vision and thermal scope. I don't have the link off hand but a search will get you there.

If anyone can add to this that would be great as I could use some more info to go back at the hunting partners with. They tend to be simple, old school folks while I am the lone tech guy of the group.
 

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IIRC, the times and gear are only limited for protected species. It's been a coupla years since I looked this up, but I think I decided it was legal to spotlight coyotes at night. I don't have a suppressor, so I didn't look specifically for that.

http://wildlife.utah.gov/rules/

IANAL and I don't play one on TV, so don't believe me ;-)

ETA: Ok, there are some rules:
http://wildlife.utah.gov/rules/R657-11.php

R657-11-14. Spotlighting.
(1) Except as provided in Subsection (3):
(a) a person may not use or cast the rays of any spotlight, headlight, or other artificial light to locate protected wildlife while having in possession a firearm or other weapon or device that could be used to take or injure protected wildlife; and
(b) the use of a spotlight or other artificial light in a field, woodland, or forest where protected wildlife are generally found is prima facie evidence of attempting to locate protected wildlife.
(2) The provisions of this section do not apply to:
(a) the use of the headlights of a motor vehicle or other artificial light in a usual manner where there is no attempt or intent to locate protected wildlife; or
(b) a person licensed to carry a concealed weapon in accordance with Title 53, Chapter 5, Part 7 of the Utah Code, provided the person is not utilizing the concealed weapon to hunt or take wildlife.
(3) The provisions of this section do not apply to the use of an artificial light when used by a trapper to illuminate his path and trap sites for the purpose of conducting the required trap checks, provided that:
(a) any artificial light must be carried by the trapper;
(b) a motor vehicle headlight or light attached to or powered by a motor vehicle may not be used; and
(c) while checking traps with the use of an artificial light, the trapper may not occupy or operate any motor vehicle.
(4) Spotlighting may be used to hunt coyote, red fox, striped skunk, or raccoon where allowed by a county ordinance enacted pursuant to Section 23-13-17.
(5) The ordinance shall provide that:
(a) any artificial light used to spotlight coyote, red fox, striped skunk, or raccoon must be carried by the hunter;
(b) a motor vehicle headlight or light attached to or powered by a motor vehicle may not be used to spotlight the animal; and
(c) while hunting with the use of an artificial light, the hunter may not occupy or operate any motor vehicle.

(6) For purposes of the county ordinance, "motor vehicle" shall have the meaning as defined in Section 41-6-1.
(7) The ordinance may specify:
(a) the time of day and seasons when spotlighting is permitted;
(b) areas closed or open to spotlighting within the unincorporated area of the county;
(c) safety zones within which spotlighting is prohibited;
(d) the weapons permitted; and
(e) penalties for violation of the ordinance.
(8)(a) A county may restrict the number of hunters engaging in spotlighting by requiring a permit to spotlight and issuing a limited number of permits.
(b) A fee may be charged for a spotlighting permit.
(9) A county may require hunters to notify the county sheriff of the time and place they will be engaged in spotlighting.
(10) The requirement that a county ordinance must be enacted before a person may use spotlighting to hunt coyote, red fox, striped skunk, or raccoon does not apply to:
(a) a person or his agent who is lawfully acting to protect his crops or domestic animals from predation by those animals; or
(b) an animal damage control agent acting in his official capacity under a memorandum of agreement with the division.
So, it depends on the county.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I have a friend who's DWR. I'm going to see what I can dig out of his mind...
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Anybody got some laws that support this? I want to know 100% without a doubt that what I'm doing is fully within the bounds of the law. There are 2 things I ultimately want to do. Hunt for Coyotes after dark (the challenge) and hunt smaller vermin with a suppressed 22.
 

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UtahJarhead said:
Anybody got some laws that support this? I want to know 100% without a doubt that what I'm doing is fully within the bounds of the law. There are 2 things I ultimately want to do. Hunt for Coyotes after dark (the challenge) and hunt smaller vermin with a suppressed 22.
Start with the Upland Game/Small Game rulebook. Anyplace that sells hunting and fishing licenses will have it. It covers pretty much everything for what you're wanting to do.

Oh, and let me know when you get to feeling like coyote hunting. One of my favorite kinds of hunting.
 

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FrankenHollow said:
Snaggle said:
Basically, you could use night or thermal vision to acquire and track a target.
Light "enhancing" devices are also prohibited. That means IR (thermal) and night vision are out.
And, as mentioned, anything projecting a beam of light is also prohibited.
Suppressors are allowed, but full auto is not.

But.. that applies to hunting game species.

Non game animals don't matter.
However, spotlighting is not allowed in several of the counties in Northern Utah. Be sure to check with the DWR, county Sheriff, Forest Service or BLM, and anyone else you can think of, before spotlighting. (I see that manithree already hit that point. :wink: )
Where does it say that "light enhancing" devices are prohibited? I have only heard of "light emitting" devices are prohibited.

-From what I understand, night vision is legal IF it does not emit any infrared light (lots of NV goggles emit IR light to help you see better).
-Also Thermal imaging (FLIR) doesn't "see" light, it sees heat. So, even if "light enhancing" devices were prohibited, thermal imaging devices wouldn't fall under that.
 

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UtahJarhead said:
Anybody got some laws that support this? I want to know 100% without a doubt that what I'm doing is fully within the bounds of the law. There are 2 things I ultimately want to do. Hunt for Coyotes after dark (the challenge) and hunt smaller vermin with a suppressed 22.
I have also looked into hunting coyotes... If you get a permit/permission from the county, then you can spotlight coyote, red fox, striped skunk, and racoon (using night vision, flashlight, laser, etc etc). If you are on private property, and you get permission from the owner of the land, then you can also spotlight those animals.

If you don't have permission, you can only hunt 30 minutes before sunrise and 30 minutes after sunset... so spotlighting/nv/thermal is pretty much useless

So, to answer your question... If you have a permit/permission to spotlight, you are legit... if not, then you can't hunt anything at night (doesn't matter if you are using NV/FLIR/flashlight/ etc)

Here is the DWS guidebook:
http://wildlife.utah.gov/guidebooks/2010_pdfs/2010-11_furbearer.pdf
 

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Lokidude said:
Lasers or any other optic/sight that project a light onto your target are also out. I know my ex brothers in law used to spotlight coyotes all the time down in Emery County.
If you have permission or a permit to spotlight coyote, red fox, striped skunk, racoon, then these are legal.
 

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YoZUpZ said:
Where does it say that "light enhancing" devices are prohibited? I have only heard of "light emitting" devices are prohibited.

-From what I understand, night vision is legal IF it does not emit any infrared light (lots of NV goggles emit IR light to help you see better).
-Also Thermal imaging (FLIR) doesn't "see" light, it sees heat. So, even if "light enhancing" devices were prohibited, thermal imaging devices wouldn't fall under that.
"Heat" is infrared light. Infrared light is light. Light is light.

But, it doesn't matter. It looks like the regs changed. The "light enhancing device" clause has been removed from the regs. IR and NV optics appear to be legal now. (It isn't really an issue, since it's illegal to hunt at night, anyway.)

Jarhead, here is the "plain language" statement in the Field Regulations Guide Book. The references are provided, for you to dig deeper (if you don't consider this to be enough).
Utah Big Game Field Regulations Guide Book said:
Utah Code §§§ 23-20-3, 76-10-504, 76-10-523 and Utah Admin.
Rule R657-5-13

You may not use a spotlight, headlight or
other artificial light to take or locate any protected
wildlife (including big game) if you have any of
the following weapons in your possession:
• Rifle
• Shotgun
• Archery equipment
• Muzzleloader
The use of a spotlight or other artificial light
in any area where protected wildlife are generally
Obtain permission to
hunt private property
If you want to hunt on private property,
you must obtain written permission from
the landowner before you can hunt. Ideally,
you should have permission before you even
apply for a permit.
If you obtain written permission in
advance, you know you'll be able to use the
permit if you draw it.
The Division cannot guarantee access
to private land, and the agency does not
have the names of landowners who own
property where hunts occur.32 33
Utah Big Game Field Regulations • 2011 wildlife.utah.gov
Utah Big Game Field Regulations • 2011 wildlife.utah.gov
found is prima facie evidence of attempting to
locate protected wildlife. (Prima facie evidence
means that if you're spotlighting, the burden
of proof falls on you to prove that you were not
attempting to locate protected wildlife.)
The provisions of this section do not
apply to the use of the headlights of a motor
vehicle or other artificial light in a usual manner
where there is no attempt or intent to locate
protected wildlife.
In addition, the above restrictions do not
apply to concealed carry permit holders carrying a concealed weapon in accordance with
Utah Code §§ 76-10-504 and 76-10-523. See
wildlife.utah.gov/rules for more information
 

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FrankenHollow said:
Snaggle said:
Basically, you could use night or thermal vision to acquire and track a target.
Light "enhancing" devices are also prohibited. That means IR (thermal) and night vision are out.
And, as mentioned, anything projecting a beam of light is also prohibited.
Suppressors are allowed, but full auto is not.

But.. that applies to hunting game species.

Non game animals don't matter.
However, spotlighting is not allowed in several of the counties in Northern Utah. Be sure to check with the DWR, county Sheriff, Forest Service or BLM, and anyone else you can think of, before spotlighting. (I see that manithree already hit that point. :wink: )
I think at one time, this was correct and that's kinda where the debate started with my hunting buddies. I was able to find this.

R657-5-7. Prohibited Weapons.
(1) A person may not use any weapon or device to take game other than those expressly permitted in this rule.
(2) A person may not use:
(a) a firearm capable of being fired fully automatic; or
(b) any light enhancement device or aiming device that casts a visible beam of light. Laser range finding devises are exempt from this restriction.
And here is the specifics of Spotlighting in relation to coyote:

R657-11-14. Spotlighting.
(1) Except as provided in Subsection (3):
(a) a person may not use or cast the rays of any spotlight, headlight, or other artificial light to locate protected wildlife while having in possession a firearm or other weapon or device that could be used to take or injure protected wildlife; and
(b) the use of a spotlight or other artificial light in a field, woodland, or forest where protected wildlife are generally found is prima facie evidence of attempting to locate protected wildlife.
(2) The provisions of this section do not apply to:
(a) the use of the headlights of a motor vehicle or other artificial light in a usual manner where there is no attempt or intent to locate protected wildlife; or
(b) a person licensed to carry a concealed weapon in accordance with Title 53, Chapter 5, Part 7 of the Utah Code, provided the person is not utilizing the concealed weapon to hunt or take wildlife.
(3) The provisions of this section do not apply to the use of an artificial light when used by a trapper to illuminate his path and trap sites for the purpose of conducting the required trap checks, provided that:
(a) any artificial light must be carried by the trapper;
(b) a motor vehicle headlight or light attached to or powered by a motor vehicle may not be used; and
(c) while checking traps with the use of an artificial light, the trapper may not occupy or operate any motor vehicle.
(4) Spotlighting may be used to hunt coyote, red fox, striped skunk, or raccoon where allowed by a county ordinance enacted pursuant to Section 23-13-17.
(5) The ordinance shall provide that:
(a) any artificial light used to spotlight coyote, red fox, striped skunk, or raccoon must be carried by the hunter;
(b) a motor vehicle headlight or light attached to or powered by a motor vehicle may not be used to spotlight the animal; and
(c) while hunting with the use of an artificial light, the hunter may not occupy or operate any motor vehicle.

(6) For purposes of the county ordinance, "motor vehicle" shall have the meaning as defined in Section 41-6-1.
(7) The ordinance may specify:
(a) the time of day and seasons when spotlighting is permitted;
(b) areas closed or open to spotlighting within the unincorporated area of the county;
(c) safety zones within which spotlighting is prohibited;
(d) the weapons permitted; and
(e) penalties for violation of the ordinance.
(8)(a) A county may restrict the number of hunters engaging in spotlighting by requiring a permit to spotlight and issuing a limited number of permits.
(b) A fee may be charged for a spotlighting permit.
(9) A county may require hunters to notify the county sheriff of the time and place they will be engaged in spotlighting.
(10) The requirement that a county ordinance must be enacted before a person may use spotlighting to hunt coyote, red fox, striped skunk, or raccoon does not apply to:
(a) a person or his agent who is lawfully acting to protect his crops or domestic animals from predation by those animals; or
(b) an animal damage control agent acting in his official capacity under a memorandum of agreement with the division.
If I have read this right, you can use all the toys to hunt coyote! Someone let me know if I have missed something.
 

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FrankenHollow said:
YoZUpZ said:
Where does it say that "light enhancing" devices are prohibited? I have only heard of "light emitting" devices are prohibited.
tra
-From what I understand, night vision is legal IF it does not emit any infrared light (lots of NV goggles emit IR light to help you see better).
-Also Thermal imaging (FLIR) doesn't "see" light, it sees heat. So, even if "light enhancing" devices were prohibited, thermal imaging devices wouldn't fall under that.
"Heat" is infrared light. Infrared light is light. Light is light.
Night Vision enhances existing light. Thermal imaging captures infrared radiation, which is radiated as heat, not reflected as light, and then uses that information to create an image for you based on the heat/radiation readings. No "enhancing" of light takes place.

Two primary technologies are used for night-vision surveillance applications. These include image enhancement and thermal imaging. The basic concept behind image enhancement is to amplify the visible light in an area to enhance visibility. Thermal imaging on the other hand is a bit more complex. This technique refers to the process of capturing the heat from an object, which is undetectable to the human eye, and transforming it into an image that can be viewed. The purpose of this article is to seek to answer the question, how does thermal imaging work?

Thermal energy is a part of the electromagnetic spectrum. You cannot see thermal energy because it is emitted from objects as heat, not reflected as light. The hotter an object is, the more thermal energy it emits. However, all objects even inanimate ones, such as buildings, or even ice cubes, emit some form of thermal energy. Infrared thermal imaging cameras are able to capture this thermal energy and transform it into an image you can see.

The process by which a thermal imaging camera transforms thermal energy into visible light consists of five basic steps. These steps are:

Utilize a specially designed lens to focus the infrared radiation that is given off from all objects within the field of view of the camera lens.

Infrared detectors are then used to scan this focused radiation. The detectors create what is called a thermogram, or temperature map.

The thermogram is then translated into electric impulses.

The electric impulses are then sent to a signal-processing unit where they are translated into data. The signal-processing unit is a tiny chip that is embedded on a circuit board, which is used to translate the electric impulses into usable data.

Once translated, the signal-processing unit sends the data to the display where it then becomes visible to the viewer.
Since thermal imaging cameras work solely by capturing infrared radiation given off from an object, no light at all is required for the device to function. In fact, a thermal imaging camera can function optimally no matter what the surrounding lighting conditions, bright or dim
 

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Snaggle said:
If I have read this right, you can use all the toys to hunt coyote! Someone let me know if I have missed something.
You are correct... However, you can't hunt at night (30 minutes after sunset to 30 minutes before sunrise), unless you are hunting on private property with permission from the owner, or are hunting in a county where you have permission to spotlight.
 
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