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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2007

    Default Possession of Fish or Wild Game

    Ok this deals with Michigan.

    The law states that you allowed 5 walleye per day. Ok let's say I go fishing on Monday. I catch my 5 walleye, I go with my 5 walleye and clean them, filet them, package them, then place in the freezer. Tuesday I go fishing and I catch my 5 walleye again. I do the same as I did on Monday. Wednesday I go fishing I catch 2 walleye and head home.

    So am I over my posession.

    This is discussed and debated on numerous sportsman boards every year. Why because people are scared of getting busted for being over there limit. They aregue that even after the fish is processed and frozen. It is still a walleye and counted as part of your limit.

  2. #2

    Default Re: Posession of Fish/Wildgame

    I can't speak exactly for Michigan, but I work for the Florida Fish & Wildlife Law Enforcement Division, and here's how bag limits typically work:

    Possession is counted as the number harvested per day and law enforcement looks more at constructive possession which can be proven in court (in the car, in a cooler in your tent, on your string, etc.), not stored possession which is nearly impossible to win in court (at least for fish - game is a different matter - if the limit is 2 deer per season and you've got 3 in your freezer, you're sunk). If you're catching your limit, taking them home, cleaning, and freezing them, and then going back out to fish again, you'll get away with it at least until some officer notices that you've made multiple trips. If they check you at 10 am and you've got 5, and they check you again at 4pm and you've got 3, someone will be watching for you in the future - because no officer is going to believe that you would have disposed of fish in order to comply with bag limits and keep fishing. At that point, they'll watch for opportunity to cite/arrest.

    Once you get them home, the ability to prove that processed fish in the freezer (assuming they are fully frozen and you didn't JUST recently stick them in there) are from the same day is about nil. However, say you're camping out for a few days, and are storing the fish in a cooler with easy access from the fishing site, your ability to argue that 5 are from yesterday and 2 are from today gets more questionable, and your liklihood for citation rises (officers are trained to recognize how old an uncleaned catch is, particularly by looking at the greying of the eyes and other factors). If it's just you, and you've got more than 5, on site, that's "possession". If there were, say, 3 of you, and there was a total of 14 fish, the officer has no way to show that 12 were yours, 2 were your buddy's, and the other guy got zilch. You'll get a stern "reminder" about bag limits and might get some extra scrutiny for a while. Fish #16 puts all 3 of you at risk.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2007

    Default Re: Posession of Fish/Wildgame

    The law states total posession is 10. The guide says your allowed 5 per day, 10 total posession. What is in question is what exactly does the word posession represent.

    The arguement is that if you have 10 fish at home. Even if it is processed in some way. Then you can not fish no more. Meaning you would have to get rid of at least one to go fishing for that species of fish again.

    When I look at the law. I see it as saying 10 in possession. Meaning I have 10 fish I have caught in my possession. Not 10 fish in the freezer cleaned and ready to be used as food.

    I uderstand what your saying about camping. Like if we go on a fishing/camping trip. We catch our limit for the day, and the next day. So we would be in posession of 10 fish each. Meaning a total of 20. There for we would not be able to go fishing for that paticular species the next day. But we could go fish for some other type of species.

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