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Helicopter to Access BLM?
Thinking about contracting a Helicopter to access a sizeable chunk of landlocked BLM land in Colorado for an elk hunt...Does anyone know the rules or legality surrounding this topic?
Check with BigFin. He has done it in Montana and probably knows about CO too.
If it’s Unit 40 I have heard rumors. “Total hearsay of course”. That the local ranchers call the game wardens about game harassment. Because they don’t want any one to be able To hunt the land locked govt land. I would check with the local authorities. Don’t rely on just reading the state laws.
How far away are we from drones being able to pick us up and drop us off quietly?
Drones lifting people up and transporting them is already a reality. Not commercially available but you can build your own drone transport… If you're crazy enough!
I only need it to get me about 6' off the ground:) Gonna need a big engine though!
IMO it seems unjust to have Government land that is inaccessible to the tax paying public. Stole the idea from Randy Newberg, seems crazy enough to work.
Seems like what it would cost to rent a chopper you could strike up some kind of cash deal with the landowner to drive/hike a crossed his land.
If it’s like most situations now, an outfitter has private land leased and uses that as a means to block public access to federal land. This allows outfitter to dramatically increase the land he has to himself and his clients! Seen it over and over again here in MT!
Would seem that as long as your on balm and didn't touch private to get there it would be fine. No land owner owns the airspace above it.bet it would pretty expensive to rent the chopper.
Google search reveals rental rates $300-1,000 an hour depending on size. Figure drop trip in and extract trip out, total rental 5 hours. $1,500- $5,000 depending on size of helicopter. Edited :a third trip to bring out meat!
Not many landowners going to let you walk accross and access “their elk” for cheap when even average hunts are 5Gs and primo area pushing 15Gs .
NOTE*** some helicopter rental sites clearly state : will only take off and land at paved airports no grass strips or undeveloped landing sites.
Best case Scenario ‘make friends with helicopter owner.’
I've done it five times with helicopter. I've tried and applied to do it in CO, only to find out that the BLM lands were enrolled in a RFW program and therefore I needed to get my tag from the RFW operator if I wanted to hunt those BLM lands. I declined to buy the tag from a RFW operator so I could hunt public lands. I ate the tags I had drawn in the public draw.
As for details, I can probably help you out. A few things right away.
1. USFS does not allow helicopter landings, only BLM.
2. You must land on an existing two-track or other motorized route.
3. Your transporter must be licensed for landing on BLM lands. Find the transporter with the BLM fire support contract or permitted for seismic work and you should be set.
4. Forget "jumping off a skid" as an idea to get around the two-track idea. You'll never get a transporter to allow that.
Probably a few other questions. Ask here or PM and I'll do what I can. If you plan it right, you can minimize your airtime, you'll be surprised how inexpensive it is when split among 2-4 people.
Interesting thread...in particular, the notion of using drones to lift one off the ground by only 6'. Supposing that the drone technology supported that...would it be trespassing to "hover" over someone else's ground at say 6'? 25'? 100'? As long as your boots aren't touching the ground, then how high up would one need to be so as not to trespass?
Jdee. I think most would rather pay more for a chopper out of principle.
Never heard of it before..... what is a RFW program? Can someone lease up BLM hunting rights? The rancher that has BLM grazing leased can control hunting or has private tags associated with it? Never heard of such a thing as that regarding BLM land. Must be just a CO thing? CO control over BLM land or CO state land?
FAA considers navigable airspace as being above 500'. Unmanned drones can fly below that. The USSC ruling on private ownership of airspace (the infamous "corner-crossing" dilemma) didn't specify how high it goes, only that it exists and is part of private property rights.
If you owned your own helicopter would you still need to be licensed to land on BLM?
TD, CO has a program euphemistically called "Poaching For Wildlife" (actually Ranching For Wildlife) where they get guaranteed tags to sell in exchange for allowing a few peasants like you and me to draw tags for the ranch through the regular public draw. Hill Ranch, Silver Spur, etc.. The ranch gets to effectively set their own seasons and weapons. Many of the Famous TV Hunters are filmed there, especially the rifle elk rut hunts.
I was not aware that BLM could be locked up like that, even if the surrounding private was enrolled in RFW. Other BLM can't be leased for hunting.
TD asked, "Never heard of it before..... what is a RFW program? Can someone lease up BLM hunting rights? The rancher that has BLM grazing leased can control hunting or has private tags associated with it? Never heard of such a thing as that regarding BLM land. Must be just a CO thing? CO control over BLM land or CO state land?"
I had never heard of it either. But in CO, a RFW operator can petition the BLM to allow him to enroll the BLM lands in his RFW operation, thereby increasing his enrolled acreage and the number of tags allotted.
At the time I applied for a film permit from BLM, Three Forks Ranch has BLM lands enrolled in their RFW operation. I was told my public deer and elk tags I had acquired would not be eligible for use on the BLM lands enrolled in the Three Forks Ranch RFW program.
Maybe it has changed, but I doubt it. There is some prime elk and deer hunting on those landlocked BLM lands and it would not have been very expensive to fly in with a helicopter when split among three guys.
But, unless the law has been changed by the CPW Commission or the Three Forks Ranch no longer enrolls those lands, it is not an option to hunt those BLM lands unless you have a RFW tag purchased from the Three Forks Ranch.
Yeah, I know what you are thinking; WTH?
So, if drones could fly over, with today's high power rifles capable of crazy long range shooting could you shoot from one piece of public land over a piece of private land and into another piece of public land. My gut is repulsed at the idea but what would the letter of the law be?
In Alaska no helicopter for anything related to hunting is allowed. Even in an emergency rescue you must leave all gear and game behind.
In Alaska no helicopter for anything related to hunting is allowed. Even in an emergency rescue you must leave all gear and game behind.
In Alaska no helicopter for anything related to hunting is allowed. Even in an emergency rescue you must leave all gear and game behind. Sorry x2
In Colorado it is illegal to shoot over private property.
Apauls, say that was allowed. How do you intend to retrieve the animal you just killed?
Blm ant state land hunting rights can NOT be leased. Landowners who's land locks tons of acres of blm and state land sell " Ranch Only " tags, then illegally allowing the clients to take advantage of all of those acres of public land. It's revolving cycle that imo will never be stopped.
Splitlimb, in CO the rules are different than wherever you're from. Almost all state land in CO is leased to adjacent private owners and public access is not allowed unless the CPW lease hunting rights from the State Land Board.
And as Randy explains, landlocked BLM can be registered as part of the RFW program so illegal for the public to access even if you helicopter in.
If what Randy is saying is true, that's just scandalous. While there's precedent for states making rules for federal land hunting (ala WY wilderness rule), a state allowing individual ranches to block public land from public use for financial reasons is just... oh wait, WY wilderness outfitter welfare...
They may be able to do it, but it's BS. It's not right.
How many acres of public land are not public because they are landlocked by private property? Does this happen in states other than Colorado?
Up here in NoCO where I live there are thousands of acres of landlocked and checkerboard where only adjacent landowners can access. Exists in pretty much every western state that has National Forest and BLM..
The thing to remember is that just because it is held in a government trust for "the people" doesn't mean the people can legally access it for recreation.
All state land in new Mexico is leased as well. For ranch purposes, grazing cattle etc. Only time a private land only hunter is allowed to hunt any leased state land is for antelope hunts through our A-Plus system . As far as leasing the state land it does happen, to graze cattle.
There's a guy in Nevada who owns a rocket, you may be able to hire him to send you there ballistically
Big Fin's Link
Splitlimb, I've seen first hand alright. In a walk in only area my buddy and I we're hunting a few years ago, we watched as RO (I'm assuming a written permission slip in tow) hunters, accompanied by "guides" in pick ups drove them thru the gate hunting the public side on blm. So yes, it happens quite frequently. Illegaly.....
Here it is verbatim, from the CPW Commission Rules on Ranching For Wildlife:
"Federal and State Lands - Ranches may include Federal land in-holdings if they are completely surrounded by the enrolled ranch lands and there is no public access to these lands by legal road or trail. "
Link provided. Look to Part II, Paragraph C,
Big Fin is correct (no surprise). The BLM isn't blocking access, they are just saying its ok for the State to include a parcel in this program. When that happens its like the WY wilderness law. Your tag good for unit "X" simply is not valid on RFW property in that unit. My understanding is that you could still helicopter in there to camp, fish, and likely to hunt any species that isn't part of the ranches RFW program. Most folks aren't aware that RFW ranches can include landlocked public.
I'm not a fan of RFW or the way our landowner tag system is set up. RFW was recently expanded to a Bighorn sheep program. I think we over-valued the right to access the land and under-valued the ram tags the ranches get.
The reason it's BS is that the entire reason for the RFW program is to reimburse land owners for wildlife eating grass on their land to encourage them to not make decisions that negatively affect wildlife. There's ZERO reason to reimburse landowners for wildlife eating grass on land that does not belong to them.
Some people here need to read the CFRs applicable to landing aircraft within each land designation. Luckychuky you’re wrong you do not leave the animals and gear. I fly helos in Ak and I know of situations when we were used to extfil animals and gear but it’s usually because someone was illegally accessing restricted areas.
Dude - that is not exactly accurate in all situations. I can't speak for non-emergency situations. For emergency situations and the Coast Guard has to respond to the scene to recover an injured hunter or fisherman, they often will not haul out all of their gear and animals. They will recover the injured person, maybe a personal pack or two and go. Many a rescued hunters had to leave their gear/critters and come back to get it later. They rarely tow boats (like duck/deer boats) that are left behind unless it is declared a nav hazard or some other unique, official reason. That's not just in AK but the other states too. It gets into safety, liability and precedent issues. Many years ago when I first went in the CG, there were stories of commercial fisherman who would stay out and fish, run out of fuel and then call the CG to tow them back in for free. The CG eventually wised up to that.
Thank you to John.Bonez for starting this thread. Big Fin and Jaquomo provided a lot of facts that should upset everybody who thinks that public land is open for public use.
This issue infuriates me, to know all these greedy ranchers locking up public land are getting away with it. and taking game that is a public resource, all for their own. (I know not all ranchers are greedy just in case you took that wrong). It just makes my blood boil, because I was directly affected by it when I lived in Montana. Tried to get on public land to hunt, but would have had to cross about 30 feet of private to get on. They refused, and I ended up going in on about a half day hike just to get to a spot I could have accessed in 20 minutes if they hadn't locked it up. Its total BS, and wrong. And even more infuriating that some govt. agencies condone it and even support it with funds.
Having access is one thing, having convenient access is another whole issue.
"Forget "jumping off a skid" as an idea to get around the two-track idea. You'll never get a transporter to allow that." Don't agree. It probably varies.
That is CRAZY!!!!!!!!!!!! So some ranchers are actually getting paid(from our tax dollars) for land they do not even own???!!! Only in AMERICA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! : (
How are they getting paid from tax dollars? The RFW program simply issues tags to the ranch to distribute as they want, and they let some public hunters at no charge as part of the deal.
Trapperkayak, as our county sheriff told me when I asked if they woukd prosecute me for corner-jumping all the checkerboard in our area, "People pay a premium price for land that adjoins public. If you want to access that area you should buy some land like they did". He also said they would absolutely prosecute me (and do) if I was on NF since I had to prove how I got there legally.
I've had multiple meetings in the same unit year after with wardens because of ranchers posting public land as private, trying to deny access , things of that nature. Went over our maps and showed him how I would be accessing certain areas of the checker board by crossing corners just to avoid accusations later from the greedy rancher, this one is truly a greedy bastard!
Splitlimb, you're lucky they don't prosecute for corner jumping where you are. In my area the game wardens don't prosecute because they can't prove "intent to hunt", so they turn it over to the sheriff for trespassing and he issues the ticket.
Just curious, what makes that rancher especially "greedy"?
Splitlimb: NM is gray when it comes to corner hopping (i.e. crossing diagonally at an X-shaped intersection of 4 property lines). It's not spelled out as "legal" but it's also not spelled out as "illegal" (some other states specifically define it as "illegal"). I've gotten differing answers when asking people in NM. One particular sherrif, who may happen to be the landowner's brother, may treat you differently than another.
OK Jac- I thought this was a Federal Program. Evidently it is a (CO)state program? Where does the money actually come from then?
Grasshopper is more familiar with the budget than I, but as I understand it there is no money involved besides the license fees paid by the (mostly NR) hunters who hunt the RFW properties. So CPW makes money from licenses, ranchers make money from outfitted hunters, and a few general hunters get to hunt a $15000 ranch for just the price of a license.
Well, IMO it still ain't right if they are getting money for public land that they do not even own!
Carl, I couldn't agree more. To bring more frustration to the table, we had SEVERAL pictures, eye witnesses, and hunters willing to testify that there were RO clients elk hunting on state, and blm where we were . Three wardens showed up to camp we turned everything over to them including pictures, and only one of the three seemed to want to go take action about what was going on. We were told they were going to build a case and charge the rancher ,because he was aware of what they were doing , and all the hunters . On one occasion a trio of RO hunters saw us photographing them they literally ran to their UTV drove as fast as they could to the private property and RAN into the woods. It was swept under the rug.
I don't blame the landowners. Their job is maximizing the return on their investment. When a business is given inventory for $0.00 and can sell it or leverage it to bring in thousands, it only makes sense that they participate and look to grow that program. It's us (the CPW) that I feel isn't valuing our wildlife high enough. When the Hill Ranch, Three Forks, etc sell at a premium price partly due to "my" wildlife adding value to their land, we don't get a check.
I hadn't looked in on this thread as I have no intent of renting a chooper....in 2004 or 2005 I served as a sporstmans rep on the RFW review committee. I will have to dig up my final report and recomendations. The ranches were ABSOLUTLEY not allowed to hunt any adjacent public lands - it is a private lands program only. Jerry Apker has now retired, not sure who runs the program now, but I will find out.
"He also said they would absolutely prosecute me (and do) if I was on NF since I had to prove how I got there legally." Guilty until proven innocent? It's possible you could have hired a helicopter. It shouldn't be your burden to provide evidence of that, but rather for the other side to get pictures of you climbing the fence to get in or pics/casts of your foot prints (tip: just wear oversized boots that don't match up to your regular ones).
I think Big Fin and other are being fed a line of BS about RFW and landlocked lands. The document referenced at Big Fins link is program guidelines for enrollment, not regulations. While I am not an attorney and not giving legal advice, you can't be written a ticket based on "guidelines". Citations are written based on regulations and statutes. Regulations for RFW are found on page 27 at the link, and I can't find squat on public lands restrictions for the pubic.
RFW might have some mention in Colorado revised statutes, I will look at it later.
If anyone choppers in, and gets a ticket for hunting public land - I'll give you a benjamin for your attorneys fees in a go fund me fashion.
The guidelines Big Fin posted just says the landocked fed land may be included in the RFW contract. Does it say anything about excluding anyone else with a regular season tag?
I can't find anything in CRS, the question in my mind is does the rancher have an exclusive right to use to use lease in place that would prohibit public use? I don't know if the BLM or FOrest Service does that sort of thing, one could call to investigate.
Further, I would call Heather Duggan, chief law enforcement officer at CPW. Tell her you have read the regulations as found on CPW web page under the "about us" link, and reviewed CRS, and believe you have the right to go hunt those publicslands with your valid license. I'd then ask her if there was any specific regulation that would prohibit you from doing that.
I can't find anything in CRS, about RFW - but that doesn't mean there isn't. I would ask Heather.
I did find the following in CRS. If someone post public land or INDICATE as private - 20 point violation, which I believe is loss of hunting priveledges, and a whopping 150 fine
Based on my recollection RFW operators are not allowed to hunt on public land, it defeats the purpose of the program. There has always been a push to get more ranches enrolled, which some like and some don't. They often suggest reducing the acreage requirement, but lowering that just further privatizes wildlife
I'm no lawyer either :^) , but the CPW map of Three Forks shows a bunch of landlocked BLM included. http://cpw.state.co.us/learn/Maps/ThreeForks.pdf
If I was going to chopper in, it wouldn't be to three forks. The review committee I served on came about based on folks complaining about the northwest region. CPW manages those GMU's for maximum hunter opportunity, and the ranches try to manage for quality animals. It is a conflict of objectives and you know how that elk migration works as they head west to winter.
Who wants to partner up on a chopper into unit 40? I think it takes 4 points, so I am a few years out.
Anyone doubting Three Forks has/had BLM lands enrolled in the RFW program, I suggest you call the CPW office and ask if Three Forks currently does, or ever has, enrolled BLM lands in their RFW program. Unless the CPW staff, local RFW coordinator, and the BLM all decided to feed me the same false story, I suspect they will tell you that in 2009-2013, and probably yet today, Three Forks enrolled landlocked BLM lands in their RFW program and hunters were not allowed to hunt those enrolled landlocked BLM lands unless they purchased a tag through the RFW operator, which in this case was Three Forks Ranch.
Here’s how to get extracted.
If the RFW offered the peasants the same dates their big money guys get or even the access then it would be an alright program. Right now it is a joke and not very well supervised. The new sheep allotments are a disgrace.
Lou, I corner hopped several sections and there were openings between the fences in the corners to 'let you through'. I fail to see how that could be 'illegal' as long as you are not setting foot on any private chunks of corner. Since it was all delineated by barbed wire fence, the property was easy to distinguish between public and private, and with the maps I had, I cannot imagine being prosecuted for staying on public land even when hopping over the corners. I'd do it again in a heartbeat and let them try to bust me for trespassing. I don't think they would win in court (I could be wrong, if they are crooked sobs). I'd have crossings documented on video, and fight it tooth and nail if they tried. This was in Montana when I did that, in the 80s. I was not hunting.
TrapperKayak: the reason that Big Fin did it and others are considering all of this is because corner hopping (especially if you filmed it) is currently prosecutable in most states.
Corner crossing not being allowed should be changed. It has been enforced but only one way. Lets say a rancher that borders Forest Service has a grazing allotment that starts July 1st on the public adjoining his ranch. In June, one of his steers stretches his neck through the barbed wire to grab a bite of grass from the Forest side of the fence. Does anybody think a ticket for illegal grazing would ever be issued? Of course not.
If that rancher doesn't have any public grazing but corner crosses Forest to get cattle to another piece of private property that he adjoins at a corner, would he ever get a ticket for crossing the Forest the opposite way we aren't allowed to cross at the same corner?
If a baling twine salesman a rancher doesn't like, see's the rancher in his field, stops on the road walks to the rancher's fence and stretches his arm over his fence line waving to him, would the sheriff write the salesman a trespassing ticket?
Those are silly examples but no sillier than a property owner crossing a few inches of airspace to lift a foot from his own property and set it back down on on his own property.
Have there be cases of corner crossing successfully prosecuted? I don't remember any, but I could be mistaken.
Not sure. I know it has been enforced, meaning a ticket issued, but not sure about defendants losing in court.
CC may or may not be cited in WY, it's on a county by county basis. Game wardens will not cite regardless.
Trapperkayak, the USSC already ruled that corner crossing is illegal. This has been hashed-out in previous threads. The question is whether local LEOs enforce it. In my county they do, mostly because there are so many "corners" leading into otherwise landlocked parcels and now with GPS people are getting bolder about it.
I don't agree with the ruling but but it is what it is. Sheriff is an elected position and influential constituents carry more weight than some guys from out-of-town who want to hunt someone one else's exclusive landlocked chunk of government trust land.
So do rfw have to buy a usage permit to guide on BLM or national forest like other Outfitters in Colorado?
We charge several guys each year for corner jumping, and most time the f&g charges them with criminal trespassing with the intent to hunt. Several guys last year spent the night in jail and had to bond out. A law is a law, and it doesn't give anyone the right to disobey it cause you disagree with the law. The area we protect is ownered by someone out of state, not a rancher. It's not marked, just fenced. The homeowners want it protected cause several years ago, a hunter sprained his ankle and search and rescue was called in. The man actually tried to sue the land owner. So, we watch it, have cameras up and the local sheriff love getting the call.
I have a very hard time believing someone would get convicted of trespass with intent to hunt if they are corner hopping their way to a chunk of public land, never stepping on private, and an even harder time believing someone would get convicted of it.
What does the sprained ankle have to do with corner hopping? How could the guy sue the landowner if he was on public land when he sprained his ankle? If he did it on private it means he was trespassing and that's a totally different issue.
I see absolutely zero problems with corner hopping and will do it with a clear conscience, if necessary. If I have to pay a trespassing fine someday, so be it. It will still be cheaper than paying for trespass fees.
NoWiser, your comments about breaking the law with a clear conscience are pretty funny considering your posts on the e-bike threads! Seems like your ethics are situational depending upon what's good for you.
People are prosecuted for corner-hopping, and the USSC ruled on it in the Leo Sheep Company case. That's the bottom line.
My personal ethics are based on what I believe is right and what is wrong. I firmly believe it is wrong to keep the public off of their land when they can access it without stepping foot on private property. This has absolutely nothing to do with my thoughts on e-bikes (which I stand by.)
Do you think it's ok to lay off the brake and go 56 mph down a hill? Or for a 20 year old to come back from deployment and have a beer with his dad? If you think either of those make a person unethical I guess your above argument holds water and I'm selfish.
Great response, NoWiser. Situational Ethics explained. Nowhere in the Forest Act does it say the public has a right to access land held in the government trust. It is not the "public's" land. That's a common misconception. What the USSC ruled is that you are trespassing if you cross corners.
I just got off the phone with our sheriff a few minutes ago after discussing this very topic. We're working together on a strategy to bust some weekend folks who are trespassing to get into NF and causing problems, who believe the same way as you. I don't think he would buy your "what I believe is right and wrong" explanation while taking a ride into town in the back seat of the Sheriff's Department SUV...
The leo sheep company case has absolutely nothing to do with corner crossing. It was a road easement dispute across private land. Someday it'll get figured out but for now, I call the Leo and go from there. Where I'm hunting the game Dept doesn't write, deputies don't write, and the county da doesn't prosecute.
The Causby case established airspace above private property and the Leo Sheep Company case ruled that there is no access from one corner of government land to another at the corner. (you are correct, they wanted to build a road but the USSC ruling was broader than that. It specifically addressed access at corners).
Much like other discussions where the law is sort of fuzzy (see: pedal-assist bikes) it's up to local LEO whether they want to cite someone and test the law.
You can't get cited in wyoming, I know guys that are trying. One LO put 2 signs at the corner so you have to push thru them and they still can't get a ticket.
I hope to one day own a section that gives me access to the 4 national forest sections around it that no one can get to, and maybe more on the drive in. Or 40 behind some huge ranch.
This is from the USSC case and ruling document on Leo Sheep Company:
"These sections lie to the east and south of the Seminoe Reservoir, an area that is used by the public for fishing and hunting. Because of the checkerboard configuration, it is physically impossible to enter the Seminoe Reservoir sector from this direction without some minimum physical intrusion upon private land. In the years immediately preceding this litigation, the Government had received complaints that private owners were denying access over their lands to the reservoir area or requiring the payment of access fees. After negotiation with these owners failed, the Government cleared a dirt road extending from a local county road to the reservoir across both public domain lands and fee lands of the Leo Sheep Co. It also erected signs inviting the public to use the road as a route to the reservoir."
An earlier court ruled that the checkerboard sections had an implied "easement" to allow crossing at the corners. The USSC reversed that ruling and determined that there is not an implied easement because there is no way to do it without "minimal physical intrusion on private land". So effectively, the USSC ruled against the federal government in this case.
Is a 2' wide human really an "intrusion"? The bigger issue is that in the eyes of the court it appears private property rights (and the right to use adjacent government-owned property) trumps the general public's right to access for recreation. Montana tried to pass a state law allowing corner-crossing but it didn't pass. Too many influential property owners with checkerboard situations, probably.
Bob, you're lucky:
"The Wyoming Game and Fish Department is willing and able to investigate suspected corner crossing with intent to hunt or fish and refer those cases to county prosecutors, said Scott Edberg, assistant chief of the department's Wildlife Division."
This is what it looks like just east of my place. Great deer hunting and pretty good elk hunting. And every one of these property owners has the Sheriff dispatch on speed dial.
"Bob, you're lucky:
""The Wyoming Game and Fish Department is willing and able to investigate suspected corner crossing with intent to hunt or fish and refer those cases to county prosecutors, said Scott Edberg, assistant chief of the department's Wildlife Division." "
It's not luck
Note : "with intent to hunt". That refers to intent to hunt the private land and at that, becomes a criminal trespass issue. They refer that issue to the DA because the Game Dept wardens can not cite for criminal infractions (Title 6).
I talked to the Dept Chief Warden a cpl weeks ago and told him I drew a unit XX Elk tag and was going to corner cross, who's property was adjacent, and asked him point blank if he or one of his guys would write a ticket. He laughed and said, "I'll give you the dept's stock answer then we can discuss". "We suggest you don't corner cross." "Now, the reality is, it depends." "If you cross into private with intent to hunt that private, or you enter land you know is private because of signage, verbal communication, etc., it's criminal trespass and we refer those to the Sheriff." "If you cross from BLM to BLM, we will not write a ticket." I asked if a Deputy would write me up and the answer was "not in that County". "The issue is on a county by county basis in the state of Wyoming, dependent on the County DA's interpretation of the circumstances of the individual incident". I asked about the oft mentioned "airspace" and he dismissed it.
I also talked to the Game Dept Law Enforcement Coordinator on Wednesday and asked the same question regarding crossing in the unit I drew. "That County DA does not prosecute for corner crossing if you go from public to public, but, I think they do in 33333 County."
Good for you, Bob. You did your due diligence, unlike some guys who just decide to go for it because they don't agree with the laws.
I spend quite a bit of time in that "33333" county and pretty sure they do prosecute. Lots of checkerboard NF from the original railroad grants, and some influential property owners.
I believe this is being looked at wrong. I think if the public has no access then nobody should be allowed to hunt the isolated public land, even the contiguous landowner. Animals need safe zones too, here is how you make some.
I have three words to describe those that have the sheriff on speed dial, real estate welfare. They are no better then the people that abuse gov. assistance, entitlement mentality at its finest.
I have the sheriff and game warden on speed dial because I and my neighbors have to deal with all sorts of scum-sucking dirt bags who ride ATVs around on private property, tear down gates, poach fish, hunt on other people's posted land and claim "they didn't know", camp on private property and claim it's National Forest, etc.. Basically believe they're entitled to do whatever they want wherever they want just because they can.
The main reason I have LEOs on speed-dial is because the courts tend to frown upon us shooting them ourselves.
Love your last line. :) I used to hunt a checkerboarded area back in the early 90s. It was a mess because for 30 years prior to my first year hunting, nobody said anything and it was all considered public land. My dad and his friends actually created many of the roads in the area when I was a kid but I didn't hunt it until I was 22. Quite a rude awakening when I got there and the private land was suddenly off limits. I will admit to cutting a few corners back in the day, but I certainly wasn't like the people you describe not being able to shoot. Or at least I hope I wasn't. It was a long time ago.
Crossing a few inches of airspace for a few seconds...good grief (!) it seems silly to me that is a ticketable crime to some wardens/etc. (clearly not all per above) any more than speeding by a fraction of a mph for a fraction of a second...
Objectively speaking, however, I probably would have a different view as a private landowner esp. if there were abuses.
"any more than speeding by a fraction of a mph for a few seconds ..." If this was enforced, imagine the anger of the public even though strictly speaking there was a crime (assuming radar was dead accurate).
There is legitimate debate of the spirit of the law vs. the letter of the law...
Used to be nobody got a ticket for anything less than 5 mph over the limit. That was supposedly the margin of error for radar. Therefore if it went to court it was thrown out because they could not prove the validity of the reading(within 5 mph). Not sure if it is still true with newer technology.
Corner hopping...what’s ur verticle???
If you cross a fence right at the corner your feet need not be on private land at any time. Only your body would have crossed airspace for a few seconds and only for a very tiny amount of airspace. Arguably trespassing as to be for a reasonable amount of time such as a few minutes? Regardless, this is approaching a theoretical and certainly an extremely temporary infraction somewhat similarly to going 70.001 miles/hr for a few seconds in a 70 mph zone. By what parameters is this considered to be "real"? Arguably, one rounds down not up, meaning 70.001 is 70 mph...and similarly for a very brief time interval (seconds).
What also would be interesting would be a defense in court asking any citation to be dismissed on the basis of lack any.evidence of airspace violation (photographic, etc.).
Of course, the other side might argue there MUST have been airspace violation. But again with no evidence? I think the odds are good the case would be thrown out and certainly a waste of taxpayer's money esp. if there was no private land abuse.
While I find this all interesting, I'm not versed in legal defences, so perhaps someone with more expertise than me can give their opinion of this and the other issues above.
I slowly drove through an intersection with stop sign once and got pulled over. Cop asked if I knew what he pulled me over for and I said no. He told me I ran the stop and I told him I slowed down and that’s pretty much the same thing. He pulled out his baton and starting whacking me upside the head and the asked, “Do you want me to stop or slow down?”
David, it's sort of like claiming you "only put the tip in". Either you did or you didn't.
In my county if you are in there you have to prove how you got in there. If you crossed at the corner you get arrested for trespassing.
"Private land abuse" is a nebulous term. I might argue I wasn't abusing private land by only crossing a mile of it on foot early in the morning in the dark before the landowner was even awake. The property owner would argue someone is abusing by corner crossing to a section of government land that the property owner paid 5x the surrounding per acre price to have access to that NF section. Nowhere does it say that the general public is guaranteed access to any land held in the government trust.
Either it is, or it isn't private land. As this thread indicates, some jurisdictions look the other way, others don't.
The issue is the determination of who owns that single point where the corners meet. The, say they rule that "point" is public because clear ownership can't be determined, can one cross over that point without being over the private? Nope. I'd personally like to say there should be a buffer, small enough to walk, but not drive at these points, but I do understand that infringes on private property rights.
How does the government (BLM or Forest Service employees for example) access these landlocked sections?
Jaquomo, If the county you live in is in the USA you don’t have to prove anything. It is the governments job to prove guilt, you are presumed innocent unless proven otherwise. Doesn’t matter what county you live in. Too many people try to prove their innocence, which often assists the governments case against them. If a LEO has enough evidence to cite someone they will, doesn’t matter what you say to them. If the LEO is asking for your side of the story they probably aren’t trying to help you talk your way out of a citation.
The trouble with that Dogman, is that often times in the case of infractions and misdemeanors, all the "proof" that is necessary, is for the LEO to say you did it. Try fighting a traffic ticket where the cop says you were going 10 mph over the limit and you say you weren't. When it comes to your word against the cop, that's always enough proof for the judge.
Idy, yes but the cop registered you going 10 mph over the speed limit with radar. That's proof. Just saying he thought you might be going 10 mph over the speed limit wouldn't impress any judge. It may be that too many people do talk themselves out of a dismissal. If you don't say anything and there is no photographic or similar evidence, I would think it's an easy dismissal unless the judge owns land with corners, etc.
Lou, that's a funny and good response, but in reality there could be "borderline" cases but I'll refrain from detail.
Perhaps, more importantly if you don't admit you put the tip in, where is the evidence? The other side has to present medical or other evidence including of course a confession. Let's hope you can't be convicted of rape, etc. just because a woman claims you raped her.
" If the county you live in is in the USA you don’t have to prove anything. It is the governments job to prove guilt, you are presumed innocent unless proven otherwise. "
For precisely that reason, if the other side doesn't show up, the matter would be dismissed. They have to prove your guilt. This really is an important tenet, in many countries if charged you are presumed guilty and it is up to you to prove otherwise.
So many people when confronted by the LEO saying “I think you were going 10 over” have to say “no way! I was only going 6 over!” Bam, you just admitted guilt. If you say nothing it is on them to prove it.
"including of course a confession"...meant to say "and/or a confession" per Dogman's post.
Very good information on this thread, but as is so often the case these days much of it is VERY disturbing...
If you are in a landlocked section with no legal access then you have to prove how you accessed it legally. When I was a Park Ranger we had an understanding with the courts in the county that we wouldn't cite someone for something outside the accepted legal definitions. That was one of the first things they drilled into us when we were deputized. So long as we did that, unless the defendant could prove otherwise, violations stood no matter what hare-brained phony legalese excuse the perp came up with. And we heard some real doozies.
I suppose someone might go silent and try waiting the LEO out, as in staying in that section until he got tired and left, or died of old age. But as often happens with other violations the LEO could simply run the license number and visit the guy at home later, cite him there, make him prove in court that he accessed it some other way than at the corner (helicopter?).
You can come up with all sorts of theoretical "what ifs" and wave the Gadsden flag in court, but bottom line is that the USSC ruled on airspace and also corner crossing for recreational access by the public. The only question is whether the LEO in that jurisdiction wants to cite it or not.
So is corner crossing wrong or right, Jaq?
“Just saying he thought you might be going 10 mph over the speed limit wouldn't impress any judge. ”
Oh, that’s right.... Nobody EVER got stuck with a speeding ticket before radar was invented....
You’re overlooking the fact that in hunting/fishing regulations, there is no guaranteed presumption of innocence; in many/most cases the prosecution need only provide enough proof to create a reasonable belief.
And it’s not worth arguing about, because as soon as somebody wins a court case on the premise that it was some kind of “minute” infraction, we’ll be seeing every corner fenced off for a yard, and then 10 feet and then 20 and so on.
Weasels will be weasels on either side of the fence.... literal or proverbial.
NoWiser, I know where you're going with this. Yes, I believe It is wrong because there are hard laws tested at the USSC level that say so. I also believe in private property rights, which the USSC has ruled are violated by corner crossing.
If LEOs in an area specifically say they won't cite for it (like our local sheriff with AR magazine limits, for instance) then its up to the individual to decide how and whether to comply. Its still breaking the law while LEOs decide to look the other way.
Thanks Jaq. Nothing wrong with that, I was just curious. If you truly feel it is wrong I can understand where you are coming from and why you disagree with me.
For me its about private property rights, which I believe are extremely important. As our sheriff articulated, if someone pays a premium price for land adjoining NF with the understand that corner-crossing is illegal, then they should expect trespassing to be enforced, whether or not it's "just a little bit". He suggested I buy a section adjoining checkerboard if I want legal access. He also pointed out that there are millions of acres of BLM and NF with clear legal access on our area, and maybe I should look there to do what I want to do.
Not gonna be a problem once I get (semi)retired..... put together my Highlander, shock suspension, 31" tires, vg's, etc...... get my pilots license again..... just a half a step landing behind a copter and as private plane and pilot none of the commercial regs of fly for hire as it's not a commercial activity on fed land.
I know a couple guys that have done it. The biggest issue I understand from one of em is having to draw down on the landowners/cowboys you catch that are about to slash your tires and cut up your plane.....
Things get nasty out there. When I was a kid we floated in on a river (navigable water) to hunt a BLM quadrant that was pretty well landlocked. Had been planning and mapping it out for months. An hour later the landowner was there with a shotgun threatening us with it. Crazy old fart, we told him call the cops, it's public land. Nope. It's his land, he worked it, it's his. Was gonna blow a hole in the drift boat and we might be next, so we left. Went straight to the sheriff and he said technically we were right..... but he recommended not going there again, the guy was crazy and being right isn't so satisfying after you've been shot. We asked about the threats with the gun..... sheriff said he wasn't going to do anything about it and to let it lie. Found out later they went to high school together a hundred years ago...... times may have changed, I don't know.... but back then it was quite a lesson for a kid in right, wrong.... and who ya know.... or didn't know....
Like I said before... You have a big campaign contributor and pillar of the rural community who sponsors 4H and the rodeo team getting corner-crossed by two Sitka Commandos with Pennsylvania plates.
Wonder who will get the tip of the scale of justice??
Jaq, A citizen doesn’t have to prove anything in court. That is up to the government. They have to prove you guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. Guys that have to prove their innocence end up making the case for the govt. If a LEO has enough evidence to write a citation they write it. You can simply ask if you are being detained or arrested, if you aren’t you can say have a nice day. You have to prove nothing. Maybe you parachuted in there. Who knows...that is up to them to prove. Not saying they won’t get a conviction, but in America the rules are the same when it comes to presumed innocence, whether you are hunting or walking the streets.
So how do Forest Service or BLM personnel (or people doing work for them) get access to these landlocked sections?
Dogman, I know how it works. I was an LEO, deputized in three counties. Now I manage security at two big private fisheries.
People make up wild stories. I've heard some doozies. The LEO's case is simple - there is no legal access to that section without trespassing unless you get in and out by helicopter. But dang, you forgot the name of the helicopter pilot and don't know how to contact him to verify your story.
At the end of the episode, you pay a fine, then go on social media and complain about injustice and government abuse of the Little Man, and locking the public out of "our" land.
Some very pertinent discussion here about air space: https://phantompilots.com/threads/flying-over-private-property-is-illegal.104094/
I think the landowner would not be guaranteed a win, esp. if no harm was done. Most importantly, the landowner would have to prove the boundary lines were precise and I mean down to the inch.
Additionally if the land in one of the quadrants was owned by a different land owner he would also have to be willing to sue (and afford an attorney). Keep in mind if they lose, they could be liable to pay court fees, attorney fees, and more.
Importantly, those quadrant junctions in reality may not be so tidy and if they are off just by a few feet or perhaps even inches, the so called imaginary point could be crossed w/o the hunter having violated any legal airspace (and see above link) and certainly no touching of private land by the hunters feet/body.
Two can play this game of precision, and the cost of a formal survey goes beyond what the landowner might pay and even so, it could be contested by a counter survey, a more accurate gps, and so forth.
While I may seem to be supporting the contrary position, in reality I'm opened minded. As I said above there is the letter of the law and the spirit of the law. There are tons of laws on the books that are never enforced, so I don't blindly follow all laws.
Yes, I do believe strongly in private property rights and could argue the other side...but there is a point of reduction ad absurdum esp. if boots never touched the private property.
"There are tons of laws on the books that are never enforced, so I don't blindly follow all laws." I meant to say tons of crazy (often funny) and outright stupid laws that people often rightly ignore..."
So in the spirit esp. of the first list should we add "one cannot wave one's hands or other body parts" across a land boundary line even for 1 second" ?
Or more accurately and somewhat less cheerfully, ""one cannot move one's hands or other body parts across a private land boundary line at an altitude of less 83 ft. for more than .00000000000000000000000000000001 seconds even if no one and no habitable building is within miles without written permission from the landowner due to airspace limitations"
Why 83 ft? See: https://phantompilots.com/threads/flying-over-private-property-is-illegal.104094/
"Ladies and gentlemen of the jury....should we also prosecute individuals who recklessly discard the laws of having an ice cream cone in their back pocket or walking backward at sunset? -- Or should we quit wasting taxpayers dollars and dismiss this case without prejudice?"
"...who owns that single point where the corners meet."
"...the so called imaginary point..."
"...the landowner would have to prove the boundary lines were precise..."
It's not a single point or an imaginary point, it's a mathematically defined point at the intersection of two lines. And it doesn't have to be defined precisely to prove a violation, as wherever it exists precisely, you would have to have crossed it.
The bottom line is the rule sucks, and everyone has an opinion about it. Either accept that you can't cross the corner or be prepared to pay the fine/trespass violation (and possible points against your hunting privileges) , or pay to fight it in court to get it changed.
Don't know where you got your 83' but here are the actual regulations in 14 CFR 91.119;
§ 91.119 Minimum safe altitudes: General. Except when necessary for takeoff or landing, no person may operate an aircraft below the following altitudes:
(a)Anywhere. An altitude allowing, if a power unit fails, an emergency landing without undue hazard to persons or property on the surface.
(b)Over congested areas. Over any congested area of a city, town, or settlement, or over any open air assembly of persons, an altitude of 1,000 feet above the highest obstacle within a horizontal radius of 2,000 feet of the aircraft.
(c)Over other than congested areas. An altitude of 500 feet above the surface, except over open water or sparsely populated areas. In those cases, the aircraft may not be operated closer than 500 feet to any person, vessel, vehicle, or structure.
(d)Helicopters, powered parachutes, and weight-shift-control aircraft. If the operation is conducted without hazard to persons or property on the surface -
(1) A helicopter may be operated at less than the minimums prescribed in paragraph (b) or (c) of this section, provided each person operating the helicopter complies with any routes or altitudes specifically prescribed for helicopters by the FAA; and
(2) A powered parachute or weight-shift-control aircraft may be operated at less than the minimums prescribed in paragraph (c) of this section.
Jaq, if I am on a section of BLM that could be accessed via helicopter and I am asked to “prove” how I got there, my response would be that is your job. The individual has absolutely zero burden to prove anything. None. No LEO is entitled to have it proven. They can figure it out. Since you are/were a LEO maybe you have seen this video. https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=d-7o9xYp7eE I guess the rancher that is upset about someone accessing landlocked public can go out and buy or rent himself a helicopter, cheaper (renting anyways) than a section of private ground that blacks public access. If a LEO wants to play hardball and violate a guys rights two can play at that game. https://mobile.nytimes.com/1986/03/06/us/high-court-rules-that-police-are-liable-in-wrongful-arrest.html
I have plenty of friends who are LEO’s btw, and appreciate the job they do, but some, as in all professions go a bit far.
No doubt many LEO's are overzealous. Part of the reason why I got out. If you're on a chunk of BLM accessible by helicopter you're unlikely to be bothered by anyone besides the outfitters. I'm referring to the big timber stuff in Colorado where no helicopter access is possible so people either have to walk, bike, horseback in.
Ziek, it is an imaginary point like the concept of infinity. On the other hand, yeah it's there somewhere but if you took a microscope you couldn't find it with absolute precision but with a more powerful microscope you could get closer and closer, etc.
Your comment, "it doesn't have to be defined precisely to prove a violation, as wherever it exists precisely, you would have to have crossed it." is very relevant, but the other point I made is, where the dispute is, such as at a fence juncture precise? Who put the fence there and did the put it at the PRECISE intersection? It's unlikely to be super precise. It could be many feet off. It could actually be many feet or many inches or even just a few inches off, in which case anyone could cross there w/o violating airspace.
Re: 83' if you looked at the link I provide, you would see where that came from. There was court precedent cited.
Re: you citation on altitude minimums, did you even read that closely? It did not prohibit very flight over sparsely inhabited areas. Btw, I'm an ultralight, weight shift, fixed wing, and helicopter pilot (sorta' a helicopter pilot as I don't have my rating yet).
And just to add, swing a leg over a fence (or maybe there isn't even a fence!) is not flying in airspace.
I doubt I ever will be involved in this legally, I just find it amusing/interesting. I'm not an that versed in legal matters, but logically I think a judge would decline to take this seriously except maybe in a small claims court and only then if there was provable damage. No damage, I don't think there could be any case at all. Have any of you ever been to court? I have, and this seems to be absurd unless some provable damage occurred. And what evidence? Video, photographic, plaster casts of prints, etc.? Guilty until proven innocent? This is all somewhat troubling, I have to say although yes I believe I could make a case for the other side. But in general, I would think any penalty should be appropriate to the damage done to the land owner, wildlife, or the state. Swinging a leg thru a few inches of airspace in a remote area and making a criminal case about this is truly absurd. Maybe I'm missing something here? Yes, I could understand it if fences were cut, privacy compromised, etc.
"very flight" should read "very low flight"...
I sighted the regs. because the OP asked about helicopters. The crux of the issue relates not to flying over the private parcel, but landing on the public. Whether or not that is legal, is much more difficult to determine. There may be different restrictions in different areas, depending on local ordinances.
And airspace has no relevance to trespass laws. The rancher could legally install a corner fence on his property that just extends 8 feet in both directions at the corners that would prevent a person from just "stepping over" the corner. So if he can do that, does he have to do it to prevent the act? Keep in mind that in Colorado private property borders don't even have to be physically marked for a trespass to occur.
The fact is, no matter how stupid you think the law is, it's been challenged in the past. Technically, the law is the law. If you have the time, money, and inclination to challenge it, good luck. We're all routing for you.
Ziek, it's also illegal in some states to have an ice cream cone in your back pocket. In others it's illegal to walk backward at sunset. "Technically the law is the law".
You can also be on a public hiking trail and decide to take a short cut across a field and be guilty of trespassing. Are we terrified of the consequences so that we always religiously stay on the trail and never even cut across a neighbourhood lawn or school ground?
You can also merely walk up to some one's front door to say "hi" and be guilty of trespassing....think about that. In fact, wouldn't entering some's home property be more serious than a remote x spot crossing?
I have no dog in this fight, but it all is quite interesting....