Woman Charged with Violating Tennessee ‘Hunter Protection Act’

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Due to the rugged terrain in the East Tennessee mountain ranges, hunting bears with dogs has been a long-time, legal tradition in the state. It is illegal for anyone to purposefully interfere with any legal hunting activity in Tennessee, however a woman was recently charged with stealing a bear hunter's dog during a hunt. (Photo courtesy TWRA)

A Knoxville woman has been charged with violation of Tennessee’s “Hunter Protection Act” (see details below) for taking actions against bear hunters in Blount County, Tenn.

According to a TWRA news release, on November 2 Sandra Lucille Inman of Knoxville purposefully interfered with a legal bear hunt by catching and stealing a bear hunting dog from a Maryville hunter during a hunt. Inman has been charged with Theft of Property TCA 39-14-103, Violation of the Hunter Protection Act TCA 70-4-302, and Removal of a Transmitting Collar TCA 39-14-213.  Inman has not yet been assigned a court date.

The use of dogs to hunt bears is a traditional hunting method in Tennessee and throughout much of North America. Wildlife officers have fielded reports of theft of hunting dogs for many years and it is usually difficult to get a resolution for the hunter. In this cazse however, wildlife officers recovered the dog and were able to identify and charge Inman.

Details of that investigation have not been released although TWRA was assisted by the Blount County Sheriff’s Office.

A TWRA spokesperson said if you see hunting dogs in the area, leave them alone and never remove a GPS transmitting collar. If you have an illegal hunting issue or concern in East Tennessee, contact the TWRA Poaching Hotline for your area.

Tennessee Hunter Protection Act – TCA 70-4-302

(a) Any person who performs any of the following commits a Class C misdemeanor:

(1) Interferes with the lawful taking of a wild animal by another with intent to prevent the taking;

(2) Disturbs or engages in an activity that will tend to disturb wild animals, with intent to prevent their lawful taking;

(3) Disturbs another person who is engaged in the lawful taking of a wild animal or who is engaged in the process of taking, with intent to dissuade or otherwise prevent the taking;

(4) Enters or remains upon public lands, or upon private lands without permission of the owner or the owner’s agent, with intent to violate this section;

(5) Fails to obey the order of a peace officer to desist from conduct in violation of this section if the officer observes such conduct, or has reasonable grounds to believe that the person has engaged in such conduct that day or that the person plans or intends to engage in such conduct that day on a specific premises; or

(6) Uses a drone with the intent to conduct video surveillance of private citizens who are lawfully hunting or fishing without obtaining the written consent of the persons being surveilled prior to conducting the surveillance.

Learn more about bears in Tennessee here.

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