Reminder: Equipment That Pope and Young and Boone and Crockett Won’t Let You Use

By author of Brow Tines and Backstrap

How Do You Feel About These Rules?

Ultimately, even if your lighted-pin capable sight doesn’t have batteries in it, and it’s rendered inoperable, you won’t be able to enter your harvested animal if such a sight is attached to your bow. (Shutterstock / Dean Bouton photo)

Fair chase — it’s a common term that we hunters often refer to. High-fence vs. free-range. Dogs vs. no dogs. This weapon vs. that weapon. It’s an age-old discussion. Nothing new.

What is (relatively) new is technology. And according to both Pope and Young and Boone and Crockett, some technology, such as lighted pins on sights, is deemed not to be fair chase.

Here are the respective organizations’ rules of fair for the game we pursue.

Pope and Young

The term “fair chase” shall not include the taking of animals under the following conditions:

  • Helpless in a trap, deep snow or water, or on ice.
  • From any power vehicle or power boat.
  • By “jacklighting” or shining at night.
  • By the use of any tranquilizers or poisons.
  • While inside escape-proof fenced enclosures.
  • By the use of any power vehicle or power boats for herding or driving animals, including use of aircraft to land alongside or to communicate with or direct a hunter on the ground.
  • By the use of electronic devices for attracting, locating or pursuing game or guiding the hunter to such game, or by the use of a bow or arrow to which any electronic device is attached with the exception of lighted nocks and recording devices that cast no light towards the target and do not aid in range-finding, sighting or shooting the bow.
  • Any other condition considered by the Board of Directors as unacceptable.

Boone and Crockett

For the purpose of entry into the Boone and Crockett Club’s records, North American big game harvested by the use of the following methods or under the following conditions are ineligible:

  • Spotting or herding game from the air, followed by landing in its vicinity for the purpose of pursuit and shooting.
  • Herding or chasing with the aid of any motorized equipment.
  • Use of electronic communication devices (2-way radios, cell phones, etc.) to guide hunters to game, artificial lighting, electronic light intensifying devices (night vision optics), sights with built-in electronic range-finding capabilities (including smart scopes), drones/unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), thermal imaging equipment, electronic game calls or cameras/timers/motion tracking devices that transmit images and other information to the hunter.
  • Confined by artificial barriers, including escape-proof fenced enclosures.
  • Transplanted for the purpose of commercial shooting.
  • By the use of traps or pharmaceuticals.
  • While swimming, helpless in deep snow, or helpless in any other natural or artificial medium.
  • On another hunter’s license.
  • Not in full compliance with the game laws or regulations of the federal government or of any state, province, territory, or tribal council on reservations or tribal lands.

Obviously, the vast majority (virtually all) of these rules no hunter can (or would) argue with. They’re rooted in true ethical virtue. That said, many hunters disagree with the rules against using sights with lighted pins. Even more, many hunters simply aren’t aware of this rule. And quite frankly, in today’s age, you can’t hardly find a sight that doesn’t have lighted-pin capabilities.

Ultimately, even if your lighted-pin capable sight doesn’t have batteries in it, and it’s rendered inoperable, you won’t be able to enter your harvested animal if such a sight is attached to your bow.

It’s important to note we don’t share this to incite argument. We simply share this to inform you. If you are hunting a record-book animal, hunting in an area that can produce them, or if you simply desire to enter every book-worthy buck you kill, make sure you follow the rules listed above, as well as all state and local laws. Because, as of now, these are still the fair-chase rules that entries are judged by.

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