Rules of engagement

Go home with a trophy, not a ticket. That’s the message from game wardens, who are reminding hunters that violations can result in fines and the loss of hunting privileges.

“Hunters must know their responsibilities,” wildlife manager Rick Basagoitia says. “Wildlife laws are written for both safety and to protect a valuable resource.”

Common violations include:

• Not wearing fluorescent orange: You must wear at least 500 inches of daylight fluorescent orange, plus a head covering of the same color. Camouflage orange or mesh orange do not qualify.

• Carrying loaded firearms in or on vehicles: Rifles must not have ammunition in the chamber while in or on any motor vehicles. For those riding ATVs, weapons (rifles and bows) must also be in a closed case and fully unloaded (chamber and magazine). Most accidents involving firearms occur in or near vehicles.

• Shooting from a road: Before firing a shot, you must be at least 50 feet off a designated state or county road, and just off Forest Service or BLM roads.

• License not voided: After you kill an animal, you must void the license immediately.

• Improperly attached carcass tag: The carcass tag must be attached to the animal. The best way is to cut a hole in the hide and attach with a tie. It is OK to wait until you get back to camp or to your vehicle to attach the carcass tag.

• No evidence of sex: Be sure to leave evidence of sex naturally attached to the carcass. Evidence includes the head, the ovum or the scrotum.

• Wasting game meat: Big game meat can begin to spoil at 38 degrees. To keep the carcass cool, remove the hide as soon as possible after the kill to allow air to circulate around the meat. Reduce the mass of the carcass by quartering and/or boning the meat. Place the meat in a cooler quickly (don’t hang outside for more than 36 hours).

• Shooting a spike-antlered elk: Hunters who hold a cow elk tag sometimes shoot spike bulls. Be sure of your target; it often can be difficult to see spike antlers. If you’re not absolutely sure, don’t shoot.

• Illegal tagging: You can only place a tag on an animal that you shot (no trading tags with other license holders).