A recent checkpoint conducted by the Utah DWR in Wasatch County attracted a lot of attention from the hunting community. This happened on the first weekend of October, which marked the start of Muzzle Loader’s season. It is a primitive weapon used for hunting.
Many in the hunting community were unhappy with the checkpoint, taking to social media to claim government overreach and saying the DWR had no jurisdiction to issue citations.
The DWR drafted citations for open containers, driving with a loaded firearm, improperly restrained children and unlawful possession of a firearm.
DWR captain Chad Bettridge said checkpoints go through a multi-tiered process.
“There must be so many officers on the scene, so many security guards, for safety issues as it relates to the public, as regards traffic issues and things like that,” Bettridge said. . “Also, we have to have supervisors on site. Also, we have to fill it out, it’s like getting a warrant. So you have to fill out papers, present them to a judge, the judge has to read them, see if he judges that your reason for doing this checkpoint is valid, then signs it.
Bettridge said the checkpoints are not meant to surprise the public. They are advertised in newspapers and guidebooks in advance, and signs warn drivers as they approach the checkpoint.
“We put up signs and we say, hey, you know, the officers are in front. And when you come around the corner, and you see the signs, and you do, there’s a group of officers there,” he said. “And as somebody goes through the checkpoint, you know, we, we talked to them and said, Hey, you’re hunting or something, if it’s all legit, they’re there for maybe -be three to five seconds, and they continue right away.
According to Bettridge, wildlife conservation officers are certified law enforcement officers. He said these checkpoints are only for the safety of the public and wildlife.
“I mean, if someone is driving down the road and they happen to have an open container in their vehicle, we’ll make sure they’re not driving under the influence,” he said. -he declares. not being in this measure, they will receive a fine for open container in a vehicle. We can, you know, if, if they’re with somebody else who hasn’t been drinking, we can swap drivers or something, and just get them going.
Bettridge said more checkpoints are planned throughout the hunting season.