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Need clarification and info in Tennessee Hunter Protection Act

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Well at least that's what I think I need.  I'm looking at T.C.A. 70-4-301-303 I could possibly not be looking in the right place.  Here's a quick synopsis of the situation...

 

I've heard this but would like to be able to back it up with written law.  It is my understanding that the hunter protection act supersedes local ordinance pertaining to not firing a gun within city limits.  (i.e. hunting in a safe area in city limits is okay, target practice is not.)  Can anyone point me in the right direction here or did I dream this up and I'm completely out of line?

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I think that just protects hunters from being harassed by non-hunters ala PETA.  Here in Clarksville, there is no ordinance against shooting within city limits, only a noise ordinance, so many areas can be hunted if other items are adhered to; such as distance from a road or dwelling.

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I am looking at post #10 in the below post, member K191145 posted something similar that may help:

 

http://www.tngunowners.com/forums/topic/93242-mom-wants-to-limit-firearm-discharges-in-knox-co/?hl=%2Bordinance+%2Bhunting#entry1337922

 

Quote

 

Tennessee Code Annotated § 39-17-316

(3) A person who subsequently acquires title to or who owns real property adversely affected by the use of property with a sport shooting range shall not maintain any action against the owner of the range to restrain, enjoin, or impede the use of the range except to the extent allowed by this section.

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The way I understand it, you can target shoot on your own property as long as you are not in the city limits and it is safe to do so. 

 

You can even hunt within the city limits as long as it is safe to do so, even if there is a municipal ordinance against shooting in town.  State hunting laws pre empt city ordinances against shooting while hunting within city limits.  You better have a good bit of room if you are gun hunting within city limits.  Of course some places are incorporated that really do not have any sort of development so it would be safe to gun hunt.

 

It seems like this concerned mother should not have bought a house in the country and needs to move in town.

He is saying what I believe true I'm just looking to find the written word.

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He is saying what I believe true I'm just looking to find the written word.

Did you see he made a reference to a specific Tennessee Code 39-17-316.

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Did you see he made a reference to a specific Tennessee Code 39-17-316.

I did, I went back and read the section in it's entirety and it looks as if that applies specifically to established shooting ranges. 

 

(3) "Sport shooting range" or "range" means an area designed and operated for the use of rifles, shotguns, pistols, silhouettes, skeet, trap, black powder, archery, or any other shooting activity.

I'm thinking that doesn't apply to an area primarily used for agricultural that is hunted on. 

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I did, I went back and read the section in it's entirety and it looks as if that applies specifically to established shooting ranges. 

I'm thinking that doesn't apply to an area primarily used for agricultural that is hunted on. 

Maybe OhShoot will belong, he probably can help.  He is usually very good at this.  Others too.  I would keep digging myself, but I have get outside for my Saturday Chores. 

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Maybe OhShoot will belong, he probably can help.  He is usually very good at this.  Others too.  I would keep digging myself, but I have get outside for my Saturday Chores. 

Yeah I figured as soon as OhShoot saw this we would have an answer, I've been scouring since I got up this morning.  I've heard too many dependable people tell me this, yet no one can seem to back it up.

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I did find this attorney generals opinion on the subject from 2001.  I think this is good enough, if anyone has anything else to add I'm all ears.

 

TN Attorney General Issues Opinion on Hunting in Cities
Tuesday, June 19, 2001 - by Richard Simms

It is legal to hunt inside metropolitian city limits.

That’s the opinion of the Tennessee Attorney General.

As long as you are on your own land or have permission from the landowner, are using an appropriate firearm, possess a hunting license and hunt in season, then hunting is legal anywhere in Tennessee. Put simply, the state's hunting laws supersede local ordinances.

The opinion follows a legislative battle when a couple of bills were introduced by Representative Gary Odum to give cities the ability to limit hunting in urban settings.

"It's a matter of common sense that you don't want people deer hunting in a subdivision with children about or shooting the squirrel off a bird feeder," said Rae Bond, executive director of the Tennessee Municipal League. Bond also said her organization wants cities to be able to enforce their no-shooting ordinances for safety reasons.

The Tennessee Wildlife resources Agency actively lobbied against the bills. “The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency is contacted routinely by homeowners with complaints about deer damage to landscaping as well as concerns about deer/vehicle collisions on our busy road ways,” said Dave Woodward, TWRA Chief of Information. “he combined harvest of deer in Hamilton, Knox, Davidson and Shelby counties was 2,728 in the 2000 hunting season. If anything, we need to increase the harvest of deer in these areas in order to curb population growth and maintain a balanced herd.”

"We certainly believe a landowner should be able to hunt legally on his own property or with permission of the landowner," said Allen Gebhardt, assistant director of the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency. "Our contention is that a hunter who would do something like that (shoot at animals in a populated area) is probably someone who'd hunt illegally anyway."

Even local law enforcement officials were surprised to hear about the attorney general's opinion that local anti-shooting ordinances are legally unenforceable in "hunting" situations.

In Memphis, police enforce those ordinances when they can by issuing citations or making an arrest and confiscating weapons. "We have an ordinance, and we enforce it," said Memphis police spokesman LaTanya Able. "When it's big game, and some people do shoot at deer, we call the game and fish people."

There are plenty of legitimate reasons that a person would want to shoot a wild animal on his own property in the city, said Gebhardt. "What about the guy who has a squirrel in his attic and wants to take out his .22 and get rid of it? Should we prevent him from doing that?"

For now, the Tennessee Attorney General says city governments can’t.

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It is my understanding that the hunter protection act supersedes local ordinance pertaining to not firing a gun within city limits.

 

I've heard too many dependable people tell me this, yet no one can seem to back it up.

I would suggest that you go talk to a Command Officer from the department that would be responding to a call of illegal shooting, and maybe a Wildlife Officer to address the hunting issue. Usually they are more than happy to fill you in. They would be the ones making decisions about what happens to you initially.

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I would suggest that you go talk to a Command Officer from the department that would be responding to a call of illegal shooting, and maybe a Wildlife Officer to address the hunting issue. Usually they are more than happy to fill you in. They would be the ones making decisions about what happens to you initially.

The local PD has been very clear that they don't care what we have to say.  Local game warden has told us that we are good to go because the land is zoned agricultural.  I plan to keep on hunting there and I am prepared to take it to court if need be, I figure the cost of an attorney to protect my honey hole is a lot less than the cost of a lease.  I just want to have my ducks in a row if we get there.  For whatever reason I cannot find the AGs opinion that I posted above on the TNAGs website, any help on that would be appreciated as well, I searched every opinion from 2001 and couldn't find anything. 

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The local PD has been very clear that they don't care what we have to say.  Local game warden has told us that we are good to go because the land is zoned agricultural.  I plan to keep on hunting there and I am prepared to take it to court if need be, I figure the cost of an attorney to protect my honey hole is a lot less than the cost of a lease.  I just want to have my ducks in a row if we get there.  For whatever reason I cannot find the AGs opinion that I posted above on the TNAGs website, any help on that would be appreciated as well, I searched every opinion from 2001 and couldn't find anything.

Then you probably should talk to an attorney. If the cops are going to arrest you; they are going to arrest you. They could charge you with something like reckless conduct that has nothing to do with the laws you think are protecting what you are doing. An AG opinion is not law and a Judge is not obligated to abide by it. But if you have the money to throw at it; by all means go for it.

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Bow hunt and the point becomes moot.

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Bow hunt and the point becomes moot.

City ordinance prohibits bow hunting as well, plus I really don't care to take up any other hobbies right now.

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City ordinance prohibits bow hunting as well, plus I really don't care to take up any other hobbies right now.

What exactly does the ordinance state?

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Get in touch with TWRA. This will protect you from local laws. I had an issue a few years back with metro pd and if it weren't for the TWRA officer then we would have been charged by the metro officers.
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What exactly does the ordinance state?

Here's the exact ordinance.

 

Sec. 16-33. - Guns, air rifles and projectiles.

 
 

(a)

It shall be unlawful for any person in the city to discharge any firearm, air gun, air pistol, air rifle, BB gun, bow and arrow, or sling shot capable of discharging a projectile, bullet or pellet, whether propelled by spring, compressed air, expanding gas, explosive, or other force-producing means or method. It shall also be unlawful to point such devices at people or to threaten to use such devices against people.

(b)

This section shall not prohibit the owner of land zoned agricultural and his invitees from firing shotguns with shot no larger (smaller shot number) than No. 4 shot so long as the gun does not send shot outside the property line.

(c)

This section shall not prohibit supervised firearms training using certified instructors with the approval of the chief of police. This section shall not prohibit discharging weapons in indoor firing ranges or at ranges approved, for safety, by the chief of police.

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Wow. That ordinance is absurd. I've never seen one so all-encompassing.

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Wow. That ordinance is absurd. I've never seen one so all-encompassing.

 

Yeah this was a cool place to live growing up, our population has tripled in the past 15 years or so, evidently that extra 20,000 we got were a bunch of liberal bed wetters. 

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Hmm, sounds like they went a bit overboard on that, probably get arrested for spit balls.

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Yeah I figured as soon as OhShoot saw this we would have an answer, I've been scouring since I got up this morning. I've heard too many dependable people tell me this, yet no one can seem to back it up.

 

Thanks and all, but 'fraid no sage advice here.;)

 

You've got a thorny situation where several areas of the law seem to butt heads, at least to some degree.

 

You've got 39-17-1314, which allows a city or county to regulate "The discharge of firearms within the boundaries of the applicable city, county, town, municipality or metropolitan government, except when and where the discharge of a firearm is expressly authorized or permitted by state law"

 

And also allows the regulation of "the location of a sport shooting range, except as otherwise provided in §§ 39-17-316 and 13-3-412"

 

But of course those two statues don't involve hunting.

 

Then you've got the AG's opinion from way back, two AGs ago, regarding hunting law being overarching, but as mentioned, that's not settled law or anything.

 

 

Wow. That ordinance is absurd. I've never seen one so all-encompassing.

 
Knoxville's is even tighter, though it doesn't mention archery (but might be somewhere else):

 

"Discharge of firearms. It shall be unlawful for any person, except such as may be authorized by law, to discharge or fire any firearms within the city.

Discharge of air guns, spring guns, etc. It shall further be unlawful for any person to fire or discharge any air gun or air pistol, spring gun or spring pistol, or other device or firearm which is calculated or intended to propel or project a bullet, pellet, air or similar projectile, within the city."

 

However, Knoxville statue does have this exception regarding hunting:

 

"Exception. Notwithstanding any other provisions of this section or any other provisions of this Code, nothing in this section is intended to prohibit the discharge or firing of any firearms by anyone lawfully engaged in hunting upon any property owned by the state and managed by the state wildlife resources agency which may be located within the municipal limits of the city."

 

Which still doesn't allow shooting during hunting on private property and of course we don't have any public land like that where the TWRA allows hunting in the first place, maybe we did way back when statute was first enacted or something, dunno.

 

- OS

Edited by Oh Shoot
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Kids can't shoot their BB guns or practice with a kiddie bow in the backyard? That's just nuts. I'd have a hard time believing there's any sort of enforcement beyond someone complaining.

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