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Failure to Notch Tag

Although it can be charged in a couple of different ways in Washington state, the charge of Failure to Notch Tag involves failing to immediately notch the tag after the game is taken, or notching the tag but doing an incomplete job of it.undefined After the big game (or turkey) is taken the hunter has to remove the corresponding notch for both the day and the month. Unfortunately, there is little room for error, and if you make a mistake and get the wrong date it may make for a nervous trip home. Many of the cases that we work with involve instances where a hunter will leave the notch hanging in some way. The WDFW agents seem to have it in their head that a hunter is going to go home and glue or iron the notch back in and go steal a second deer. Another situation that we run into is the instance where, after the kill, a person gets so caught up in taking photographs that he forgets to immediately notch the tags. Many times a game agent is watching with his spotting scope. The law also requires that an individual also tag his or her deer prior to any field dressing being done. The tag must be preserved and kept with the deer until the last of it is consumed from your freezer.

In more recent years, there has been an emphasis in hunter education classes about the importance of “removing the notch” of the tag. In our experience, individuals cited for this offense are often older, life-long hunters who would never dream of attempting to re-use a tag. Yet, they are hauled into court and treated like a criminal. To our clients it often seems like WDFW doesn't have anything better to do. A person charged with a hunting violation has a right to a trial by jury and sometimes in these cases cannot be resolved prior to trial or dismissed.

Under Washington law, Failure to Notch Tag is a misdemeanor and is punishable by up to 90 days in jail and a $1,000 fine. There is typically no mandatory suspension of hunting privileges that accompanies such a conviction, nor is there a civil penalty in most cases.

If you would like to take about your case with an experienced criminal defense attorney, please call our office to set up an appointment for a phone or in person meeting.

Our firm has handled hunting cases since 1994 and we have defended a variety of hunting cases throughout the northwest.