Skip to comments.No trespassing: Hunter keeps property boundaries in his sights
Posted on 02/23/2012 12:31:05 PM PST by GSWarrior
It happens to every hunter and angler: A trip is ruined when an illegal gate, fence or No Trespassing sign prevents access to public land.
In most cases, the hunter or angler gives up and goes elsewhere, which is just what the landowner wants and expects.
But sometimes a hunter refuses to back down.
Brandon Siegfried decided not to back down after being harassed by landowners illegally posting public land along Roan Creek near De Beque.
My buddy and I were turkey hunting up here and a rancher stopped his truck and asked us what we were doing, Siegfried recounted during a recent tour of Roan Creek. We told him, and he said there wasnt any public land around here.
Siegfried said he showed the rancher the BLM land status map and his GPS with the overlays of public and private land and the rancher backed off.
He just said, Well, it looks like you guys know what youre doing. Have a good day and drove away, Siegfried said.
But another rancher verbally abused Siegfried and his friend on a different trip, even though the two were sitting on a public road at the time.
Ive had several altercations in the (Roan Creek) area with uneducated ranchers uneducated concerning their property boundaries, Siegfried said.
On the surface, it seems most landowners are careful about posting their private land.
Other than the obvious reason protecting and enclosing domestic livestock some landowners have had past trouble with trespassers hunting without permission or leaving gates open or damaging equipment.
But Siegfried isnt interested in accessing private property. On the contrary, hes a dedicated public-land hunter and makes a huge effort to avoid private land.
Its just when landowners illegally block access to public land that Siegfried gets roiled.
I dont want to trespass, thats why Im doing this, he said. I want to be able to access public lands.
The question of access has many turns and convolutions.
Property lines laid out 100 years ago may or may not be accurate according to todays satellite-enabled survey systems.
Sometimes, a piece of property changes hands and the buyers have only the sellers word that the fence lines are the true boundaries.
And sometimes its just a matter of keeping a piece of hard-to-access public land private.
I asked one rancher if I could go across his property to reach some public land and he told me no, that he had some family that liked to hunt up there, Siegfried said.
It may seem quixotic to chase access to isolated parcels of public land, but in this case its about using legal means to access those lands.
You need to be able to read a map, both a topographic map and a BLM land status map, and to remember that arguing in the field with an upset landowner achieves nothing.
Siegfried uses maps along with a hand-held GPS that shows overlays of public and private land along with waypoints hes established to determine his location.
GPS isnt completely accurate, most systems can get you within 15 meters of a certain spot, which is why Siegfried always keeps up to 50 feet away from private land lines.
But hikers and hunters are increasingly using GPS systems, Google earth mapping and other resources to fine-tune their ability to locate public land.
As people work with computers and GPS, I think landowners are going to get called more and more on this, Siegfried said.
His efforts have led to the BLM correcting some land violations in Roan Creek.
This includes removing an illegally placed gate on County Road 232 (Carr Creek), removing two No Trespassing signs on Clear Creek that were blocking legal access to the creek and asking a rancher on Roan Creek to remove a fence and pasture blocking access to a well-marked BLM trail.
We just wanted the trail opened up and an understanding where the BLM is and who has access to it, Siegfried said. Im just glad to see the issues being resolved for the public land users.
I have two young boys and when they are old enough to go hunting with me, I want to have some place at to take them that isnt over-run by other hunters, he said.
By defintition, if the land is Public Land, then the people posting the signs are NOT the landowners — at least no more so than any other citizen...
This statement is not necessarily true. If the "property lines laid out 100 years ago" were laid out in accordance with a legally performed and recorded boundary survey, then it is the 'satellite-anabled survey system' which is inaccurate. There is NOTHING inherently inaccurate about property surveys performed 100+ years ago.
Sure, tell that to the state of Georgia.
However, I can understand why they do so. If you can defuse the situation and talk to them, you'll often find that some of those that use the public lands nearby trespass -- sometimes intentionally -- onto their private holdings. Sometimes they poach or trash the place too. I can understand their frustrations and suspicions.
Now a true story: Back in the 1980s, I was out in the foothills of the Sierra looking for this 19-acre piece of land that was for sale. I stopped on the side of the road by a creek and a truck pulled up. He asked me what I was doing and I told him. He told me I was on private land and to leave. I wasn't within 500 yards of private land (I had my topo maps and real estate maps with me) and prepared to show him that fact with my maps.
He got out of the truck and showed me his shotgun.
It was then I realized he was drunk as all get-out too.
I left. Lol!
Unless you're getting a complete steal, never close title without a new survey or an update of a recent one. Safe vs. sorry.
A young lawyer from New York came down to visit some of his friends in Tennessee. They decided to go duck hunting on some public land.
Early on, the lawyer hit a duck. The duck happened to fall down into a field enclosed within a fence. The lawyer told his buddies that he was going to retrieve the duck and climbed over the fence into the field.
About that time an old farmer pulled up on his tractor. The farmer looked at the young man and asked him why he was trespassing on his property. The lawyer promptly replied that he was getting his duck that he shot down. The farmer said not without permission, this is my property. The lawyer said that he would sue him for every thing that he had.
The farmer said, “Well, here in Tennessee we have a 3 kick law.” The lawyer looked puzzled and asked what is that. The farmer said, “I give you 3 kicks and you give me 3 kicks. The first to give up wins.” The lawyer looked at the farmer and thought to himself I can take this old coot.
The farmer hauled off and kicked the lawyer in the shin with his steel toed boot. Then kicked him in the stomach and last, in the head. The lawyer finally got back up and staggered for a moment. Then he said “Now it’s my turn.”
The farmer looked at the lawyer, smiled and said “You win, I give up. You can have the duck.”
Hmm, ... 1980’s ... Sierra foothills ... shotgun ... inebriated .... Sounds like the gentleman may have been a squatter, protecting his crop of weed.
Dang, dude, if I knew you were a freeper I'd have been nicer about it.
That's what I'm thinking.
You could have at least shared ONE of your Old Milwaukees from the 32-pack! Lol.
You are correct. You obviously have some experience with land surveying.
Those days are gone.
If a property line has been established for a hundred years it will stand up in court. We are always looking for corners and markers and many times they will be piles of rocks or old steel steaks and they are still valid in today’s courts. In some states a fence is all that is needed to establish a boundary line. No trespassing signs are not needed. We put them up so there can be no arguing with people who can’t read maps. Trespass and poaching is reported and charges pressed 100% of the time with me. If you are hunting on my land and kill a bird or animal even in season it is still poaching because you can not legally hunt here. Big got-ya! Crossing private land to gain access to public land is pretty cut and dried and established law in this state. If there is an easement then I have to let Joe public go through my land but they may not go off the road for any reason and then may not stop and block the road so others have to go off the road to go around them. If there is no deeded easement they can go around or go to hell but stay off of my property. This is backed up by both the law and my insurance company. It would cost me a lot more for insurance if I opened my land to the public.
I wonder how that rancher moved a pasture?
So, tell me, did you enjoy your 3 kicks?
Yep. The Old California is long dead and buried. My wife and I left the state in the early 90s. We still have relatives there that we visit often. Such a geographically beautiful place.
But I wouldn't go back to live there if you put a gun to my head.
Good article, GSW.
The article concerns a town in Colorado, but it’s likely the same conditions existed in parts of California back then.
For a number of years, I managed a 65,000 acre ranch in NM that was primarily US Forest Service land with intermingled blocks of deeded land.
During deer season there would be about 200 hunters on the ranch and nearly every year I would find at least two or three head of cattle shot and killed. These were not accidental shots; they were intended and in plain view.
I also posted the deeded lands and most hunters would respect that but there would invariably be some dummy who would park right by a No Hunting sign and walk onto private land! Did I trespass them? You bet I did and it would cost them a three year loss of hunting privileges.
My biggest complaint is that most of the camp sites were not cleaned up of litter. After hunting season, my employees and I would clean up the camp sites. I have pride in my management of private or public rangelands and I want the area to be clean of trash.
Another complaint that I have, and this really griped me, is that on the last day many hunters with campers would drain their septic tanks on the roads as they drove out to the highway. I think that is low-life and disrespectful of all landowners and users of land, private or public. They do this so they don’t have to pay the dump fee. They don’t realize this costs them more in the long run when they meet a disgruntled landowner.
We have had paying hunters on private land ranches and they are very respectful, appreciative, and interested in our management of wildlife habitat on our land. Many of them have become life long friends.
Most public land hunters are also respectful, appreciative hunters; but it only takes a few bad ones to ruin it for everyone else.
Because they're lying, greedy jerks?
Unless you're getting a complete steal, never close title without a new survey or an update of a recent one. Safe vs. sorry.Make sure to get title insurance as well -- that saved us a LOT of money.