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Armed man wearing blaze orange in deer blind: I wasn't hunting

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The Minnesota Court of Appeals on Monday ruled that a man who had been found wearing blaze orange in a camouflaged deer blind with a loaded 12-gauge next to him was ... hunting.

Roger B. Schmid had been found by a game warden in November 2011, and he admitted that he'd shot a deer the night before. But the officer took note that Schmid’s deer license did not have a bonus permit to shoot a second deer, and the warden cited him for the violation.

Schmid listed a number of excuses, including an argument that he was just observing nature. He appealed a jury ruling of hunting without a license, but the appeals court did not buy his protestations, either. Schmid argued unsuccessfully that he had not been caught "taking" a deer, according to court documents.

But the court ruled Monday that Schmid had been "pursuing" deer, and so by legal definition, had been "taking" deer. The court in a 9-page ruling carefully considered the meaning of the word "pursuing" a deer, and ultimately affirmed the jury ruling, noting that “pursuing deer includes Schmid’s act of entering deer habitat to intercept and shoot a deer."

Schmid's lawyer declined comment, the Star Tribune notes.

Minnesota wildlife officials somewhat routinely find themselves pursuing hunters who do not follow the rules, although the vast majority do. A north­ern Min­ne­so­ta bear hunt­ing guide last month was charged with using il­legal tac­tics in the kill­ing of bear and deer, the Star Tribune reported.

And four men were arrested last month after trying to flee conservation officers after they illegally spotlighted deer at night and shot at them, the DNR reported.

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