Hunters facing charges stemming from hunting without a license may have more defenses than they realize. Looking to Kansas and Colorado as our examples, the fines and defenses to those fines can sometimes offer both residents and non-residents with avenues around harsh consequences.
Colorado requires every hunter to have a valid hunting license and a hunter education certificate in their possession while hunting. Failure to have these items on your person while hunting is a misdemeanor violation and carries fines depending on the type of license it is and the kind of hunting that you are doing. Failing to have a big game license will cost you twice the amount of the most expensive license for that species of big game, and earn you 15 license suspension points. For every license that is not a big game license, the cost is twice that of the most expensive kind of license for that species and earns you 10 license suspension points.
There may be defenses available to you if you are faced with a Colorado hunting license violation. For instance, was the license on your person or was it simply accidentally left in your vehicle or home? Can you prove that you actually had a license for that species? Actually having the license while it not being actually on your person may be a good fact to bring up to the prosecutor. Unfortunately, not knowing you needed a license will probably not help you in court.
Kansas does have a law that helps protect hunters who may have left their hunting license at home or in their vehicle. While hunting or fishing without a valid license is a misdemeanor offense that does carry heft fines, a defense is available where you actually do have the license, just not on your person. Specifically, the statute making hunting without a license a crime states that any person charged with this crime who can later produce a license that was valid at the time they received the Kansas hunting violation may have the charges dropped. Interestingly, the statute specifically makes this remedy only available to residents of Kansas.
If you receive a Kansas or Colorado hunting violation for failure to procure the required license, it is imperative that you talk to an attorney. Hunting Attorney Nathaniel Gilbert practices in both Colorado and Kansas with a special focus on protecting and guiding sportsmen and women. Nathaniel has handled licensing violations, felony hunting charges, and misdemeanor hunting violations, in Colorado and Kansas for hunters, guides, and outfitters.