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Is it illegal for a convicted felon to go hunting?

On Behalf of | Apr 22, 2022 | Weapons Charges

Hunting is a sport that requires access to weapons. However, federal and state laws make it illegal for felons to possess a firearm, and they may find themselves in trouble with law enforcement if they go hunting with a gun.

Hunters can avoid weapons charges by learning what tools a convicted felon can use to hunt legally.

Avoid guns and rifles

A felon can not obtain a Firearm Owners Identification (FOID) card, which the state of Illinois requires for gun ownership and hunting.  If hunters have a gun but do not have this permit, the state can charge them with illegal possession of a weapon. This applies even if the person did not shoot the gun. Weapons charges may result in additional felony convictions, fines and lengthy jail sentences.

Depending on the nature of the previous convictions, felons may request to have their gun rights restored by petitioning the courts.  However, this process is time-consuming, and not everyone meets the qualifications.

Consider other tools and weapons

While convicted felons have to stay away from guns, other hunting weapons may work just as well. Tools such as bows and arrows and crossbows are not considered firearms and do not require a FOID card.  These types of weapons are adequate for hunting a wide variety of prey, and people only need a hunting license to use them.

Hunters can enjoy their hobby even if they cannot possess a gun or rifle. Understanding legal alternatives to guns allows them to pursue the hunt without breaking the law.