Administrative rule R657-63
Self defense against wild animals
Scroll to bottom of page to view a menu of all administrative rules
Date of Enactment or Last Substantive Amendment: November 10, 2015
Notice of Continuation: February 1, 2021
Authorizing, and Implemented or Interpreted law: 23-14-18; 23-14-19
R657-63-1. Purpose and Authority.
(1) The purpose of this rule is to define conditions and circumstances under which a person is legally justified in killing or seriously wounding a threatening or attacking wildlife animal.
(2) This rule is established and promulgated by the Wildlife Board under authority of Sections 23-14-18 and 23-14-19.
(1) Terms used in this rule are defined in Section 23-13-2.
(2) In addition:
(a) "Wild animal" means, for purposes of this rule, an individual animal that falls under the definition of "protected wildlife" as defined in Section 23-13-2.
(b) "Enter" means to physically penetrate the interior space of a structure with any part of the body, whether or not the exterior surface of the structure is ruptured.
R657-63-3. Self Defense.
(1) A person is legally justified in killing or seriously injuring a threatening wild animal when the person reasonably believes such action is necessary to protect them self, another person, or a domestic animal against an imminent attack by the wild animal that will likely result in severe bodily injury or death to the victim.
(2)(a) In determining imminence or reasonableness under Subsection (1), the trier of fact may consider, but is not limited to, any of the following factors:
(i) the nature of the danger;
(ii) the immediacy of the danger;
(iii) the probability that the threatening wild animal will attack;
(iv) the probability that the attack will result in death or serious bodily injury;
(v) the ability to safely avoid the danger;
(vi) the fault of the person in creating the encounter; and
(vii) any previous pattern of aggressive or threatening behavior by the individual wild animal which was known to the person claiming self defense.
(b) Notwithstanding Subsection (2)(a), a person who is legally located or traveling in a place where attacked or approached by a threatening wild animal is not required to retreat.
(c) In all cases involving a reasonably plausible assertion of self defense, it is presumed the life and safety of a human being is paramount to the life or safety of a wild animal.
(3)(a) A person shall notify the division within 12 hours after killing or wounding a wild animal under Subsection (1).
(b) No wild animal killed pursuant to Subsection (1) or the parts thereof may be removed from the site, repositioned, retained, sold, or transferred without written authorization from the division.
(4)(a) A person is not legally justified in killing or seriously injuring a threatening wild animal under the circumstances specified in Subsection (1) if the person intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly provokes or attracts the wild animal into a situation in which it is probable it will threaten the person, another person, or a domestic animal.
(b) Notwithstanding Subsection (4)(a), a person lawfully pursuing a cougar or bear with dogs may seriously injure or kill that cougar or bear when they reasonably believe such action is necessary to protect them self or another person against an imminent attack that will likely result in severe bodily injury or death.
(5) A person that kills or seriously injures a wild animal that enters a home, tent, camper, or other permanent or temporary living structure occupied by a person is presumed to have acted reasonably and had a reasonable fear the wild animal's entry presented an imminent threat of severe bodily injury or death to an occupant of the structure, provided the intruding wild animal is:
(a) reasonably perceived as an animal physically capable of causing severe bodily injury or death to a human being; and
(b) killed or injured while attempting to enter, entering, or occupying the involved structure.
A person that kills or seriously injures a wild animal without legal justification as provided in this rule and otherwise in violation of the law shall be subject to criminal prosecution under this Title and the rules and proclamations of the Wildlife Board.