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IDFG Shines Light Of Justice On Dark Practice Of Spotlighting

IDAHO FALLS - To many criminals, darkness provides a cloak to conceal their illegal activities, for others darkness itself is what makes their activities illegal. Driving around at night with a loaded firearm and shining a spotlight, headlights or any other artificial light to spot wildlife is considered spotlighting or jacklighting. No matter what the name, it's illegal for big game! In just the last three weeks, Upper Snake Region Conservation Officers have cited 26 individuals for this clandestine violation. According to Regional Conservation Officer John Hanson, "This spotlighting thing is really something! We've got people out there with everything from .22's and shotguns, all the way up to high-powered hunting and assault-style rifles!" While 26 citations have been issued, officers actually made many more contacts with people driving around after dark using spotlights who did not have firearms. Unfortunately, many of the individuals cited were holders of valid hunting licenses; but this criminal action removes them from the realm of responsible sportsman hunters and firmly classifies them as lawbreakers Firearms and spotlights used in allegedly illegal activities are often confiscated by IDFG as evidence for court; IDFG does not sell items connected to illegal activities, as is the case with some federal law enforcement agencies. IDFG is not allowed by state law to sell firearms forfeited in court; often they are used as teaching aides for hunter education classes. The actual disposition of items confiscated by IDFG is up to the discretion of the judge. Hunting at night with spotlights for such animals as raccoons is legal in Idaho, as long as the individual has a hunting license and is not shooting from a vehicle, or has the spotlight physically attached to the vehicle. Predatory wildlife such as coyotes may also be hunted using spotlights, but according to Idaho Code require written permission from the landowner on private land or from IDFG when on public lands. Citizens observing suspicious spotlighting activity should not attempt to take matters into their own hands. They should instead contact local law enforcement agencies or local conservation officers.