The use of any artificial light while hunting is against the law in Colorado. Hunters may take the law at face value, but certain provisions within the statute itself are more restrictive than a cursory glance would reveal. Looking at the statute in detail as to the types of activities and accessories that are prohibited will help hunters in the field stay on the right side of the law.
Colorado Revised Statutes 33-6-127 provides that no individuals may use any artificial light while hunting or taking wildlife in the state of Colorado. While certain exceptions apply for certain individuals such as landowners and their families hunting pest animals, this rule applies across the board. Further, the act of hunting is very loosely applied in this particular statute. The rule goes on to provide that any person who “projects light into an area where wildlife may be found” while they are in possession of any firearm with ammunition in the chamber or magazine, or an uncased, strung bow, is in violation of the statute. Under this rule, having your firearm in your vehicle, with the chamber unloaded and the magazine loaded (legal under Colorado Revised Statute 33-6-125) while you use a spotlight in a field is a violation. A hunting ticket issued under this statute is a misdemeanor and carries a two hundred dollar fine and 20 license suspension points.
Additionally, this rule provides that any person that utilizes electronic night vision equipment, electronically enhanced light-gathering optics, or thermal imaging devices as an aid in hunting or taking wildlife outside legal hunting hours is guilty of a violation. This particular section includes the qualification that usage of these devices is only a violation of 33-6-127 if they are used outside of legal shooting hours for that particular animal. A hunting ticket issued under this particular section of 33-6-127 is a misdemeanor that carries a $2,000 fine and twenty license suspension points.
If you are ticketed for using artificial light while hunting, or for any other hunting, fishing, or trapping offense in Colorado, it is important that you at least consult with an attorney practicing in the area of Hunting Violation Defense before you plead guilty or pay your ticket. Hunting Ticket Lawyer Nathaniel Gilbert has defended hunting and fishing charges ranging from misdemeanors to felonies, and represented clients in administrative procedures to retain their hunting and fishing privileges after receiving too many points in the given time period. If you pay your ticket and plead guilty to the charges, you may be facing the loss of your preference points, hunting and fishing privileges, as well as ability to apply for any more points in the foreseeable future or entire lifetime.