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  1. #1
    Super Member N80's Avatar
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    Default Game Wardens and Property Rights

    This weekend I was down at my cabin. I turkey hunted Saturday morning, had no luck and came back to the cabin to relax. It was about 10 am (I should have still been in the woods but there was no gobbling) and I heard a truck pull up which is not unusual. We have lots of friends and relatives that pop in all the time.

    I get up and go to the door and its the game warden. I went out and introduced myself. Told him I'd been hunting that morning. He introduced himself as well. Real nice guy. Knows my local relatives. He is going to my nieces wedding next month. We chatted a bit. The he mentioned that he didn't know my cabin and such were down here. He just saw the open gate and thought he would see if anyone was hunting. I didn't think anything about it since I typically follow the letter of the law when it comes to hunting I told him to pop in any time.

    Anyway, I got to wondering. Do game wardens have the right to go on anyone's property just because someone might be hunting there? What if the property is posted? Can they come on the property if it is posted and the gate is locked?

    Anyone who knows me here at TBN knows that I'm a Don't Tread On Me type but I'm not really baiting anyone here. I'm sincerely curious about what the laws are and what rights to privacy a landowner has. I'm am also sure it is different from state to state but when you think about it, just because someone could be hunting on your property doesn't mean that they are or that they are doing it illegally or that that constitutes reasonable suspicion. Someone could be growing pot on my place too. Doe that mean that DEA can go on it looking for pot just because it could be there. All my life I've always just assumed the wardens can go where they want and I just accepted it. But now that I'm a landowner it does puzzle me a little and it seems like an interesting subject.
    George
    South Carolina

    "What is truth?" Pontius Pilate

  2. #2
    Elite Member Skyco's Avatar
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    Default Re: Game Wardens and Property Rights

    Good question. I live in SC but have some land in NC. One weekend one of my sons and I were target shooting. A deputy showed up, right past all the no trespassing signs, private road etc.
    Told us they had a call about our shooting, but it wasn't illegal so he couldn't stop us. Made me wonder- so WHY are you here?

    The really scary part was we were first aware of his arrival when he poked his head up above our backstop, still scares me to think of what could have happened...we weren't aware at first he was a cop...so I headed up the hill carrying my AR15...luckily I saw him before he saw me and laid the weapon down when I saw he was a cop, I still shudder to think of what could have happened...could have been a fatal misunderstanding, for one or both of us, if he had seen me heading for him carrying the AR before I saw him and realized who he was....


  3. #3
    Elite Member whistlepig's Avatar
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    Default Re: Game Wardens and Property Rights

    Seems to be the opinion of everyone I talk to that a game warden isn't allowed to go on anyone's private property unless they are asked to do so. That simply isn't true. They can go anywhere they want anytime they wish to do so. The game belongs to the state. In Ohio if you are hunting you are hunting Ohio's deer, turkey, rabbit's, etc. even if they are on your own property. I think this is a good thing.

  4. #4
    Super Member N80's Avatar
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    Default Re: Game Wardens and Property Rights

    Quote Originally Posted by whistlepig View Post
    I think this is a good thing.
    Which part do you think is a good thing? That the state claims to own the game or that the wardens can go anywhere that might have game on it?
    George
    South Carolina

    "What is truth?" Pontius Pilate

  5. #5
    Epic Contributor MossRoad's Avatar
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    Default Re: Game Wardens and Property Rights

    I also think that is a good question. Since you are on good terms with him, perhaps you could just ask him? Tell him you appreciate him checking and even ask him to check once in a while if you aren't there. But also ask him if he has to obey no trespassing signs, etc... or is it one of those deals where he can go on until someone says get off?

    Kinda a weird situation... we want them to keep an eye on things, bust poachers, etc... but we don't want them on our property without permission.

    I asked our local C.O. if he could keep an eye on my place from time to time, since I found a salt block, piles of carrots an a couple tree stands. I know he keeps an eye on it, because he busted someone cutting firewood out there... my in-laws! They had my permission and I was glad he checked.
    MossRoad

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  6. #6
    Platinum Member techwrtr2's Avatar
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    Default Re: Game Wardens and Property Rights

    I've always understood the fish & game folks have very liberal rights of entry and arrest as well as the ability to really make life difficulty for you if they think you might be poaching.
    I like to play in the dirt....
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  7. #7
    Epic Contributor MossRoad's Avatar
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    Default Re: Game Wardens and Property Rights

    Quote Originally Posted by N80 View Post
    Which part do you think is a good thing? That the state claims to own the game or that the wardens can go anywhere that might have game on it?
    Perhaps he might catch you sunbathing au natural?
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  8. #8
    Veteran Member scesnick's Avatar
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    Default Re: Game Wardens and Property Rights

    I had this exact problem last year. The DNR ( Dept of Natural Resources) pretty much set up shop right on my property to check hunters. They were looking forone particular guy that was road hunting. We knew who it was but wasn't about to tell the DNR. I don't really need my house burned down thank you.

    The first time I caught them just sitting in thier truck in my field I kindly asked them to move on, Which they did temporarily. The next day they were there again. I got a bit steamed. They left when asked again. Then, My wife was riding out our road ( which is 2.5 miles up over the mountain) and there they came again. She told them I was not happy with them being there everyday. They said "Well, just tell us the name of the guy road hunting and we will leave you alone". My wife declined to do so. SO, there they were the next day in my filed once again.
    I then hit the roof and called the head of the DNR. He said they have every right to be there under the "Open Fields" doctrine. I already researched the legallity of their actions and it says no where in that particular document that they are allowed to do what they were doing. So I told the head DNR officer that I am no idiot and read the Open Fields doctrine and I wanted him to specifically tell me where I can find it.. He could not do so. I then told him If they were not off my property in 5 minutes my attorney would be giving him a call.


    The point is. DO NOT believe anything the DNR tells you. Check out the law for yourself.
    Father, GNCC racer, KTM rider, Bow hunter, Farm owner.
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  9. #9
    Elite Member rekees4300's Avatar
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    Default Re: Game Wardens and Property Rights

    "He just saw the open gate and thought he would see if anyone was hunting."

    I guess that would constitute "probable cause" to investiagte? Not a good idea to mess with game wardens. They have the same power as a state troopers.

  10. #10
    Veteran Member scesnick's Avatar
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    Default Re: Game Wardens and Property Rights

    Quote Originally Posted by whistlepig View Post
    . They can go anywhere they want anytime they wish to do so. The game belongs to the state.

    This is absolutely not true. Who told you that ? the DNR themself? Because they will tell you anything and they know most people will take what they say as the true. You have a constitutional right to privacy and to be free of illegal search and seizure.
    They DNR CAN come onto your property with probable cause ( hear a shot, someone told them you were poaching, whatever) but they CAN NOT simply overrule the constitution and your right to own property and go where ever they want when they want.
    I suggest you read the law in your state and not become a "sheeple" It is your property not theirs.
    Father, GNCC racer, KTM rider, Bow hunter, Farm owner.
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