Contributors to this thread:
If you drive a motorized vehicle on land that is in block management and enrolled as walk in only, you are trespassing! Our ranch is one of the longest participating in area 700. We are in the top 10% for hunter days in 700. We are type 1 sign in box, and park/walk in only. Our ranch offers the only non-boat access into Seven Blackfoot drainage except for a sliver of BLM that is all but unwalkable. We offer virtually every species of big game and most upland game. I have been vocal in my family when it comes to keeping our property open to the public. Especially because of the amount of BLM that would be landlocked were it not for our participation in the program. Now the rant. I know people cheat; our ranch is spread out and we cannot monitor hunters. This a.m. a pickup with Lake County plates blew past our parking area and drove virtually to the elk; about 1-1/2 miles in. Myself and another party from North Dakota followed them in. They were in elk. Whether they killed anything I don't know. They were still in the timber when I left. Their info has been turned over to FWP and they will be receiving a trespassing ticket. My question is this: How do the hunters of Montana and elsewhere expect to have places to hunt if we don't figure out a way to stop this crap? We have had private lease offers to match our block management payment. As stated above I have always vehemently opposed this. But my resolve is fading a little. The rest of my family is either neutral or would lean toward private lease. Please offer up some ideas. The warden can write a ticket. So what? 100.00 fine, life goes on? This is a problem that we hunters have to fix. I'm guessing less than 10% are the issue. How do we convince them to stay home? I'll end by asking this; how would you feel if you looked out the window in the morning and saw my 3/4 ton pickup parked in the middle of your lawn.
First of all, thank you for allowing access, very much appreciated!
Second, I have no idea other than a LOT heavier fines for these people. I don't know that a lease would be any better, maybe but, maybe not.
I hope things improve though, the future of hunting is riding on access and $$$$$$.
I am not implying anyone reading this would do this. The last question was meant to be rhetorical. To add to my post, block payments are not going to make or break our ranch. My understanding is they were established as an incentive to open ones property to access public game. We feed the game year round, put the fences back up when it tears it down, fence it out of our haystacks, etc.. the payment was supposed to be a little payback for all that. But there is a segment of the hunting population that feels that payment entitles them to run us over. A hunter told me once that "we had to allow him to hunt because we were in block". He found out differently when he received a certified letter from me informing him he was never to step foot on our property again. Please spread the word to those you know who lean toward the SLOB hunter end of the scale. What we have in this country isn't perfect, but it's damn sure better than a majority of places in the world when it comes to the middle class. I want my grandkids to have what I have.
Thank you so much for providing access. I have hunted this area extensively, and have killed 2 180+ mule deer myself in the vicinity over the past 20 years, and will continue to hunt in the Musselshell breaks and surrounding areas, but I have also witnessed gross misuse of roads that are supposed to be closed, especially in all the wilderness study areas in district 700. My initial advice, is if FWP can provide you with the name and contact info of those who trespassed, then obviously ban them from hunting there again, but I'd also consider suing them for your loss of time and causing worry, along with causing worry and potential loss of access to the rest of the public, hunters or not, who may lose the access if this doesn't stop. Also, the fines and punishment for these offenses is nothing. They'll probably recieve a $100 trespassing ticket, and it's up to the warden's & judge's discretion if the individuals lose their hunting and fishing rights in MT. What should happen, is if you used a vehicle or other personal property to commit the offense, than those items should be confiscated and sold at auction, very similar to what would happen to a burglar or someone convicted of a serious drug offense, such as drug dealing. If you could lose your new $40k pickup, all hunting apparel, weapons, packs, etc to the State of MT for violating trespassing & fish/game laws, which will then be auctioned to the public for a pittance of their actual worth, and used to fund FWP law enforcement activities, conservation & access easements, and species conservation, I think complete douche bags would think twice about not following the rules.
You're exactly right - if access such as this is lossed, all forms of public land recreation and access will be gone soon, leaving these lands to the overly wealthy, leaving ordinary MT residents with glorious views of inaccessible public lands forever. One thing I would seriously consider if your family is contemplating leasing access/hunting rights to an outfitter (which I personally HATE, and believe corrodes MT greatly as a state for future generations), is require hunters to use a mapping app on a smart phone that tracks their every move throughout their trip, and require them to sync their track when they're back in service so you can check their tracks. It will be incredibly easy to know if they've turned off the track because everything is time/date stamped. If they don't provide the information or turn it off, have language written when providing access that they will pay a monster fine, and if they can't pay, then again all their personal items used to access your property will be forfeited to the state, law enforcement, or to you personally since you had to waste your time doing the backchecking. This technology exists. I work for the state developing these applications right now, and am working with several landowners on my own to get access to public lands. They're open to it because it's very easy for them to use the technology, and they can see exactly where I was at, every day. So, if there's an issue, they know exactly who was there. This stuff infuriates me as a native Montanan, and someone who follows all regulations to a tee for fear I may lose my hunting and fishing privelages. If I can't hunt, fish, ski, and run on public lands, I may as well be dead. Please don't shut it down - work with FWP, BLM, local law enforcement, and landowners to figure out a way to maintain access that will free up your time, and hold those accountable in a big way for potentially ruining it for the rest of us who go the extra mile to do it right. I think the percentage of people who cheat is more like .5%, but they destroy it for everyone else. PM me if you want to talk more.
I need to make a correction. The only thing you'll be cited for is driving off road, not trespassing as long as you have a block management sign in slip. This according to our warden. Whoop-t-do huh! Can y'all tell I'm still a little hot????
To me, if you're considering closing access because of this, which will affect all of us in a major way, then it's the same as trespassing. If the person(s) knew he/she was driving on a closed road, it's the same as trespassing. If you can't walk 1.5 miles in somewhere, you shouldn't be hunting, period. If a person hasn't maintained their body to perform well for something you love to do (such as accessing elk in prairie badlands), that's on you. If handicapped, I really feel for you, but you can legally get permission to road hunt in certain areas where it's legal, or connect with people/groups to assist you in getting out in the field, which is important. I've lost access over the years at various locations because other people (NO ONE IN MY PARTY or anyone I knew) couldn't follow the rules setup by the landowner, which I just don't understand. I'd like to know who drove off road, so I could communicate to them personally what they're potentially causing the rest of us who don't suck to lose. Please don't shut it down - ban them and let us know who did it.
Thanks for those words. To be honest I wasn't sure how this would fly. I said I was weakening, but I always get my second wind. Hunting season is almost a marathon here. By thanksgiving most of us have had enough. With the Lodgepole fires its putting more hunters in a smaller area. I've talked to 2 parties that said they used to hunt in the Musselshell/Lodgepole area. Rifle season is going to be interesting to say the least. I agree it's probably only .05% that screw it up for everyone else. I just wish they'd find another interest, but I suppose they are just as annoying on the golf course as they are in the field .
Of course - I feel for those who do the right thing by providing opportunity, but then must police people or something similar because they're screwing up. As I told you I nearly applied for the rifle tag in 798 this year, and if I'd have drawn, hunting would've been interesting, as you say, in the least. Glad I went with 799-20, given I drew and the extent of the fires this year. There will always be idiots who feel they need to cheat, even in recreational activities, to gain a perceived upper hand. I'm sure by the end of the season you and yours are happy to see us all go - it's a long season, and I'm sure it creates extra work and worry. Hope you guys faired OK during/after the fires this year and good luck for the rest of the season.
Sorry to hear about this it seems to be state wide issue. There is Block management north of the Jercho Ranch and it is constant traffic from ATV to trucks in getting firewood. Often time they stray to far on to the Jercho and thus causing many issues. Write the commission with your issues and maybe they will address the issue. Thanks for allowing hunters and the the real ones who care really mean that.
Cubdrvr, great job on turning them in. I think what you really need is for all other hunters to turn in the people who break the rules. In fact they need to go out of their way to get the information like their license plate etc. to make sure they are caught. Truth is that there is a lot of cheating going on, but it is hard to catch those guilty, so when we get the chance, we all need to turn them in. It's too hard for landowners, or FWP to police what is going on, so other hunters need to help.
Exactly, and I was implying that in previous post.. We have to do it because they have to be caught red handed or it won't stand the legal test. They're assumed innocent. They know the odds of a warden showing up at any given time are minuscule . Use that camera phone and document. The warden yesterday asked if I'd been close to the vehicle. I replied "yes, about 5 feet from it as I was writing down license number". The implication was that had I only observed from a distance and gotten vehicle info from the sign in box, that wouldn't have been good enough. Unfortunately it was the one day all season where I'd left my phone at home, but sounds like with my being right there will be adequate. Definitely going to be making some calls tomorrow to get some clarifications. Was told that since violators had a block slip they couldn't be cited for trespass and any game taken couldn't be confiscated. My question is; is not that slip a contract between landowner and hunter? If he violates the terms of the ranch stipulations written on the back of the map is the contact not null and void . Definitely some changes needed. I feel that slob hunters are costing us just as much as the high profile trophy poachers, it's just a lot more subtle. How many drop out of block because of the slobs? Another rhetorical question. Well never know, but I'm sure it's a factor in a lot of cases.
I would only lease to private parties I have full control over. Not enough wardens to catch trespassers, and unfortunately current laws oftentimes require too much evidence to prosecute. No good neighbor puts their land in block.
i think one of the biggest things is, the people that dove down the road, are the same people that do this no matter block, private , blm ect,,,,, it has to do with blatant disregard of rules in everday life most likely, i realize its a lot of work on landowners part to referee block management, but landowners with private ground complain about the same behavior, at least the tickets are for tresspassing and are bigger, but, how many guys that have been cited once quit their behavior, i bet its a small number,,,,
thanks for your continued support of our block management program, i hope it works in your favor ,,,
Rod... THANK YOU for being so generous with your land. It is truly a privilege to get to access your property. Its a bummer that such a small % of slobs can ruin, or potentially ruin the opportunity for the rest of us. I look forward to hearing what your further investigations into this bring on the real rules. It sounds like a bunch of bs to me that more can't happen to this / these guys. At the very least, they should never be allowed on your ranch. Please keep us posted. Best of luck hunting this fall!
Thanks for participating in Block Management. We hunt it when we draw a Breaks tag. Those guys would most likely drive in even if it was not in the program. Ruins it for everyone. There is a guy this year who is writing on the trucks at a sign in box. "Hunt somewhere else" will need to be buffed out of my truck. "Go home" on another rig as well.
Only way to stop those types is to prosecute if you can catch them.
I am surprised that you can't hit them for trespass if it is a walk in only section?
I have not hunted the property you have described, but I want to say "THANK YOU". It is very much appreciated by many residents, such as myself. I can only imagine your frustration with this type of behavior from a few. I agree with you that when a hunter signs-in at a sign-in box .... they are agreeing to the terms that are stated on the information provided. Please don't let these a$$holes ruin it for the rest of the folks who are given access to your property (FWP block management). Again, Thank you.
Because the FWP Warden or other employee(s) cannot be everywhere all the time, we as citizens need to step up and police ourselves to help stop this kind of behavior. This is what it is going to take. It is unfortunate that someone has to be told that driving into a closed area is "wrong". It boils down to values. I for one, again, want to thank you for allowing the public access to your property and would request that this act by one or a few affect the others that appreciate the opportunity and do not take your generosity for granted.
Thanks and you are all welcome. Got some questions answered by our Region 7 block mgmt. supervisor/manger. He confirmed what was told me by the warden. Only tickets will be violation of block rules and driving on closed road. Small fines in both cases. No confiscation of game (I have no idea if they killed anything or not) and no trespass. He agreed the block sign in slip is a contract. So basically if a person feels lucky they can do what ever they want and if they get caught it might cost a couple hundred bucks. I recall a couple years ago when an elk was confiscated because a couple gentlemen in their excitement took some harvest pictures before tagging the animal. I know because of the social media coverage in that instance that major changes were made in the "rules". I am pissed to the point I am ready to go to the legislature if necessary, but am wondering if this can be changed within the Department. Anybody know??? Would this be regulatory or would there have to be statutory changes?
I believe more than fines a loss of hunting privledges for a year would get the slob hunters attention. It would keep them out of the field if nothing else lol.
What if you would just tow his truck and require him to pay you a $500 trespass fee in order to get it back? Or however much you need to make it worthwhile.
Can't-as long as they have that slip I'm being told my hands are tied except to turn it over to the warden. This has been a real eye opener as to how few rights we have in this situation.
Feel your pain cubdrvr! Two years ago we pulled all of our land out of Block Management because of the very same thing. People driving where they should have been walking, leaving trash (toilet paper and piles of crap everywhere) leaving gates open, the list goes on and on. We just got fed up with it. We have alot more than 10% stupid so-called hunters that had no respect for the property they were on. The F & G wrote tickets but the fines were so minimal that it never phased anyone.
I know two ranches who were in block management and experienced similar situations. Too bad some hunters ruin it for other hunters. Seems like more ranches may be going back to walk up and ask hunting, our leasing to resident hunting individuals or clubs from the larger Montana cities. At least they let people hunt.
Totally support Block management. With out guys like you cubdrvr there would be a lot less land for Montanans to access. I will back you 100% and have personally called F&G on people doing what you said. Working together is the solution. Thank you cubdrvr!
For those landowners that want to make Montana like Texas...well you know where you can go!
publish the persons license plate # and description of their truck on this website.
Thank you so much for allowing access to your property. It's a really big deal. I have never personally hunted your land and don't really even hunt in that area. However, I have hunted many BMA's and spend a lot of time trying to get access figured out in the offseason. They are a huge benefit to us and the future generation of hunters. They are not a right or a given. My hat is off to you sir as I know the pressure must be mounting to take a lease and shut er down....and I wouldn't blame you if you did. It's a sad thing.
Long story short, those fines are pathetic. They should be through the roof. Someone is allowing you to use their land, follow the rules!!! It's not complicated but I'm sure getting those fines changed would be a lot of work.
Was the gate locked? I know that probably creates more hassle for you coming and going but would eliminate the ability to drive in for those without a key. Or game cams set just past the gate on the inside at license plate height to ensure everyone who drives through gets a ticket and can be banned from future access. I know myself and others on this site would be willing to help pay for the cost of the locks and cameras if that is something you would be interested in or think would help. Let us know if we can help it that is a possible solution.
Matt this particular chunk has the county road running through it so there aren’t any gates (cattleguards on both ends). Its also several miles from our main ranch and also a detached parcel. So unless we have cattle there it doesn’t get checked that often. I think we’ll probably try some short fences with locked gates across the 2track. If they drive around that, at least they won’t be able to plead ignorance which is what usually happens. I’m meeting with the warden today for my official statement. I’ll ask if the camera thing will work. The way he questioned me as to whether I’d personally witnessed the situation last Saturday makes me think it wouldn’t be strong enough. The warden supervisor told me today that the reason they don’t write trespass even though the hunter is is in violation of the block/ranch rules is the courts pretty consistently throw them out. So they try to write tickets that will hold up. Again perps get the leniency. I made it clear I was not in any way upset with the wardens, as they have to work with what the lawyers and courts will allow. That’s why I’m thinking changes will have to come through legislation.
Ok gotcha. Makes sense on the gates. I agree, laws would have to change. I have no clue who to go to about that! Everything regarding legislation makes my head hurt. Frustrating stuff. It's a damn shame your having to waste your time chasing this stuff down. I wish some people weren't such assholes. Sorry. If anything comes up that you can use Bowsiters help......you know where to find us. Thanks again from what I hope would be the majority of uses that appreciate and respectfully access your land. Matt
Thank you cubdrvr for participating in the BMA program. Please let us know if there is anything that we can do to help. I really like the idea of substantially raising the fines. Thank you again!
I think all the paperwork is complete. Probably will be their hometown warden that shows up at their door. I think they do these after the season winds down so might be awhile. I’ll report back when I know end results. Thanks again for the responses. I pleases me to know that serious hunters know how important this issue is.
To piggy back....
I took my wife out this morning (Rifle opening day) to try and help her get a buck. No dice at our 1st spot. 2nd spot was a piece of overlooked (or so I thought) public land that held some deer during archery season. It is walk in only and clearly posted. On our way in we see a truck parked 500 yds into the property. I was pretty miffed as I was fairly certain he was on the public land side. We did a quick jaunt and decided to call it. As we were leaving I commented to my wife how irritating it was, and how I wish a game warden could be around to nail the guy. Sure enough, not 2 minutes later I see the warden pull up to the truck. As we were walking out of the fence (Right next to the big "Walk in only" sign) the warden came over to talk to us. Super nice guy, and I immediately asked him about the truck. Sure enough they had blatantly drove right past the sign and parked way in the boundary. He said they weren't there, but that he was going to go back and wait for them. Considering he is a tri-county warden it was pretty fortuitous that he happened onto those guys. Sometimes the good guys win.
Cubdrvr, I completely understand your irritation, and also want to thank you for opening your land to the public. There are bad apples in every sport, but there are many of us that are not that way, and are just as frustrated as you when it comes to this nonsense. Hopefully these turds will get hammered hard enough they won't do it again.
Montana Big Game Pursuits, Ernie Jablonsky, poaches mountain lions. Along with trespassing, this is also what hunters do not need.
cubdrvr, I also wanted to thank you for having your land available in the BMA. I truly hope they nail the guy hard for trespassing. Please keep us informed. I totally agree on stricter and heavy fines for such law breakers.
Myself and two good buddies hunted area 700 this year as nonresidents for the very first time. Having never been in Montana before we purchased the Onxhunt app and downloaded maps for this very reason to know exactly where we was at and on who's land we was on. We signed appropriately at every place we hunted. As we had no cell service the app with previously downloaded maps was awesome. We actually witnessed some local folks driving roads with paper maps that didn't know where they were and asked us for advice. We took advantage of the walk in only areas and never actually hunted till way off the road a long way. We all totally enjoyed the hunting and couldn't believe the amount of land available to hunt. However we frequently saw vehicles way off road driving around glassing and "hunting"! We had to assume it was landowners hunting their own land but had no way to know and no cell service to report anyhow. I'd assume it's a daunting task for the local wardens to cover the amount of land that's available to hunt. Anyhow just wanted you to know there are some good folks out there and very much appreciate you and your family allowing your land to be hunted. Thank You!
Oh we enjoyed the hunt and was all successful in filling our tags! What incredible land you live in! Larry Cooper WV
Ya Larry, it’s the same old story; every time I get belly full of the crap someone will leave a note or a comment and tell me how much they appreciate having opportunity on our place and my confidence is restored (at least for a little while) LOL.
Received a pm from an individual who had an incredible elk hunt with his daughter on our property/BLM this fall. It’s all good! And I will give closure to this thread when the warden gets back to me.