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Old 05-11-2010, 10:03 PM
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Default A question about the rights of game wardens.



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If i am walking around and hunting, does a game warden have a right to search my backpack and body?
If i am not hunting (i dont have a firearm/weapon/fishing pole on me and am not carrying any hunting or fishing license) and just hiking, does he have the right to search my body or backpack?
If i am near my car, does he have a right to go into my car and search all around?
Not looking to break any laws or anything, i just really want to know my rights, especially in the presence of those really nosy kind of wardens who love it when i give up my rights.
Old 05-11-2010, 10:28 PM
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not without a warrant or probbable cause
and they have the right to pat you down for weapons as all law enforcment are
good rule of thumb if you dont have anything to hide why worry about it
Old 05-11-2010, 10:34 PM
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I like to have "probable cause" defined as relates to game wardens. I'd also like to know differences in their authority say between something like "regular" land vs something like a wildlife management area, or a wildlife preserve (assuming their in the latter to prevent poaching). In essence I'm wondering if a game warden is under the same restrictions or rules as an ordinary policeman on the street. I admit I haven't a clue but will be reading this thread with a lot of interest. I can't foresee a game warden needing to contact a judge and obtain a warrant to check the trunk of your car for hidden game on a wildlife sanctuary or wildlife management area. I hope this isn't the case as I'm not big on intrusion by L.E. no matter the color of their shirt, be it kacki or blue.
Old 05-11-2010, 10:37 PM
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PS-I hope we receive some ligit responses and not conjecture.
Old 05-11-2010, 10:43 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Katrina Guy View Post
I like to have "probable cause" defined as relates to game wardens. I'd also like to know differences in their authority say between something like "regular" land vs something like a wildlife management area, or a wildlife preserve (assuming their in the latter to prevent poaching). In essence I'm wondering if a game warden is under the same restrictions or rules as an ordinary policeman on the street. I admit I haven't a clue but will be reading this thread with a lot of interest. I can't foresee a game warden needing to contact a judge and obtain a warrant to check the trunk of your car for hidden game on a wildlife sanctuary or wildlife management area. I hope this isn't the case as I'm not big on intrusion by L.E. no matter the color of their shirt, be it kacki or blue.
I believe that they are governed like all other LE except there probable cause might be theres a smudg of blood on your bumper and your wearing cammo in a natnl park
all the run ins I have ever had with the game wardens in my area were civil what are you doing fishing? thats cool can i see your fish and your licence? there all the prpper length and licence is good have a nice day
Old 05-11-2010, 11:29 PM
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According to a policeman, I know, in Alabama, they like to have a wildlife officer, on joint task forces.
The reason given is that they (wildlife officer) don't need to have a warrant to enter a home if they have reason to believe that pouched/illegal game is in the dwelling. I'm not sure if he meant a state officer or a federal officer.

Here in Florida, wild life officers have the same arrest/ticket issuing, etc, as a regular policeman.

The reason is that some years back, the legislature passed a law that any state or local agency that carried a firearm (wild life..fish and game, etc.), had to go thru the LE academy, just like a deputy or any policeman. This certified them as law enforcement officers.

I'm starting to think there are only 3 of us, in the state, who can't arrest someone or give out a speeding ticket. I don't know who the other 2 are, but I'm giving them the benifit of the doubt, that they are out there somewhere.
Old 05-11-2010, 11:57 PM
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From what i know about hunting in California is that a Game warden can ask to see your shotgun, or any firearm on you for that matter, and make sure you cannot load more than the legal amount of rounds into it. For example, in California you cannot have more than three rounds in a shot gun at any given time while hunting on public land. So basically one in the chamber and two in the tube. But on private land they cant. Granted this may have changed in the 6 or so years since i too the hunter safety course when I was a teenager.
Old 05-12-2010, 12:01 AM
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You'll be fine just pick up any mess you make and be respectfull to them..If you act like an anarchisist you'll have problems...
Old 05-12-2010, 12:08 AM
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It varies greatly by state. In some states they have much more power than other law enforcement, in my state PA they do not need a search warrent in most cases. In other states their power is much less.
Old 05-12-2010, 12:30 AM
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Alright, so im guessing if you were holding stringer of fish or a squirrel or rabbit in your hand the warden would have a right to ask for a liscence, check your guns, and make sure the game you caught was legal, but he couldnt check your backpack for anything. Im not a poacher or anything, but like what if you or a friend had something that was legally objectionable in their pack but harmless, thats all im going to say.
Old 05-12-2010, 12:50 AM
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They must be fully sworn LEO's to arrest or do a search of your body or property. This applies to federal, state or local officials acting under offical authority and within the scope of their employment.

To do that they must have probable cause, justified by at least two articulable facts ie, blood on a bumber, horns poking out the back or for fisherman.. a fishing rod in hand, fish flapping from a stringer in the other hand. They can also do what's known as a Terry frisk, patting down for heavy objects or weapons to be sure it's safe. They cannot look in your pack, pockets or the trunk of your car without PC. They can ask and you can let them and it's your fault if they find a rope to hang you with. Never let them search your car or your bags or anything else. If they have to ask, don't let them.

They often do whatever they want and it's up to you to challenge it.

Be polite no matter what. Belligerence is never a favorable trait in court.

Game Wardens here are fully sworn state troopers who work Fish & Wildlife protection, checking on hunters, fisherman and commercial operators. They also investigate defensive shootings of wildlife.

Having a wildlife officer along on a raid so you can claim suspicion of hiding game or whatever to avoid a warrant is an intentional violation of 4th Amendment, which DEMANDS that all searches be reasonable, with officers acting in good faith. That is known as Fruit of the Poisonous Tree. You can look these Supreme Court cases up. They discuss warrants, exclusion, good faith, searches, and stops. Good stuff to know.

Byers v U.S. (1927)
Terry v Ohio (1968)
United States v Leon (1984)
New Jersey v TLO (1985)
Katz v U.S. (1967)
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Old 05-12-2010, 12:52 AM
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From my understanding in NY they have the right to search person and vehicle with "probable cause" which pretty much gives them the right to do as they please, same as border patrol. Ive heard of people getting pulled over by state/local police for untaxed cigarettes from the indian reservations and when a LEO would as to search their vehicle and the driver would ask for a warrant they would just call NYS Fish and game Warden fo Border Patrol to not have to get ahold of a judge.
Old 05-12-2010, 01:29 AM
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In California they have to observe you actively fishing or hunting to stop you. They can ask for a license. If you have one, you are on your way. They can look to make sure you aren't over the limit. Trout fishing, they can lok for extra trout if they have probable cause.

Once they do catch you in violation they can seize everything you have with you at the time. Boats, cars, trucks, guns fishing gear you name it. The fine can be steep too.

I did see a fishing without a license case where the judge gave the guy an option. $750 fine or bring me back a lifetime fishing license and case dismissed. Cost of the license, $750. Judge told the guy he never wanted to see him do it again. Dude brought in the license and got the case dropped. It's common with that judge.
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Old 05-12-2010, 01:41 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by greasetrap View Post
From my understanding in NY they have the right to search person and vehicle with "probable cause" which pretty much gives them the right to do as they please, same as border patrol. Ive heard of people getting pulled over by state/local police for untaxed cigarettes from the indian reservations and when a LEO would as to search their vehicle and the driver would ask for a warrant they would just call NYS Fish and game Warden fo Border Patrol to not have to get ahold of a judge.
You may have heard that and it may have happened but that is the kind of stuff a lawyer lives for. A hundred things wrong with that scenario. Border Patrol and Customs and Border Protection can only search things and people coming across the border or into the country. Only BATFE can go after untaxed cigs and they rarely do. No magistrate worth the paper his law degree is printed on will sign a warrant you described.
Old 05-12-2010, 04:49 AM
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best thing to do would be call your local fish and wildlife department and ask them. It has to vary locally, and the fed will have different rules, so check with them for your area as well. Might as well get to know the folks at the ranger station.Take the initiative to walk in and introduce yourself. Once they see you are legit you probably won't get hassled. Very scary out there from their point of view. Lots of illegal stuff going on which could get them killed by stopping the wrong guy.
Old 05-12-2010, 05:26 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FarmerJohn View Post
good rule of thumb if you dont have anything to hide why worry about it
That's exactly the logic they use to circumvent your rights.

They're not different than any other law enforcement. Treat them with respect and be polite when you tell them you don't agree to any searches, and don't fall for the BS when they tell you that you're not agreeing to a search is probable cause for them to do a search. It isn't.
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Old 05-12-2010, 08:41 AM
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I've personally never had any problems with wildlife officials. I used to hunt yearly on State Wildlife Management Area, they would always be at the check out/weigh station and never searched vehicles or anything. They were always polite. Hoorah. Thread question wasn't how polite Game Wardens are but what are the limitations of their authority.
So these statements to the effect, treat them nicely and with respect and you won't have any problems is horse sh_t. Same with any member of Law Enforcement.
So many people, in here too apparently which is scary, have this attitude across the board with L.E., since I've got nothing to hide you are welcome to search my car, kind of mentality which empowers them and erodes your rights to the extent that that mentality is so broad and so wide spread then when someone objects over constitutional grounds, then indeed they must be hiding something otherwise why would you deny LE from searching. It seems we all loose.
So it appears, thus far on the thread, that probable cause is needed as I suspected to search backpacks or car trunks, probable cause is an interpretive line.
Old 05-12-2010, 11:04 AM
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this is the def. of probable cause as it applies to ALL LEO's ............A reasonable belief that a person has committed a crime. The test the court of appeals employs to determine whether probable cause existed for purposes of arrest is whether facts and circumstances within the officer's knowledge are sufficient to warrant a prudent person to believe a suspect has committed, is committing, or is about to commit a crime. U.S. v. Puerta, 982 F.2d 1297, 1300 (9th Cir. 1992). In terms of seizure of items, probable cause merely requires that the facts available to the officer warrants a "man of reasonable caution" to conclude that certain items may be contraband or stolen property or useful as evidence of a crime. U.S. v. Dunn, 946 F.2d 615, 619 (9th Cir. 1991), cert. Denied, 112 S. Ct. 401 (1992).

It is undisputed that the Fourth Amendment, applicable to the states through the Fourteenth Amendment, prohibits an officer from making an arrest without probable cause. McKenzie v. Lamb, 738 F.2d 1005, 1007 (9th Cir. 1984). Probable cause exists when "the facts and circumstances within the arresting officer's knowledge are sufficient to warrant a prudent person to believe that a suspect has committed, is committing, or is about to commit a crime." United States v. Hoyos, 892 F.2d 1387, 1392 (9th Cir. 1989), cert. denied, 489 U.S. 825 (1990) (citing United States v. Greene, 783 F.2d 1364, 1367 (9th Cir. 1986), cert. denied, 476 U.S. 1185 (1986)).

When there are grounds for suspicion that a person has committed a crime or misdemeanor, and public justice and the good of the community require that the matter should be examined, there is said to be a probable cause for, making a charge against the accused, however malicious the intention of the accuser may have been. And probable cause will be presumed till the contrary appears.

In an action, then, for a malicious prosecution, the plaintiff is bound to show total absence of probable cause, whether the original proceedings were civil or criminal
http://www.lectlaw.com/def2/p089.htm
Old 05-12-2010, 11:04 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by justin_baker View Post
Im not a poacher or anything, but like what if you or a friend had something that was legally objectionable in their pack but harmless, thats all im going to say.
Any time any LE wants to check something that seems fishy, tell them something like "I do NOT give you permission, but I won't resist". It makes it look like you have nothing to hide, yet if they search you without permission or a warrant, it's an illegal search.
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Old 05-12-2010, 11:15 AM
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From an interview with a Texas Game Warden


http://www.gosanangelo.com/news/2009...k-no-longer-a/

What authoritative powers do you have over other law enforcement agencies?

We have the same as any other agency. One thing that separates us from others is we have the right to enter private property and inspect for hunting and fishing violations
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