Part II JOE SHOULD HAVE…
What went wrong for Joe and what could he have done differently?
Well you see Joe was from Arizona where the trespass laws are a little different. Down there a landowner has to post his property to keep unwanted persons off his land. Joe didn’t take the time to research Colorado’s laws and just assumed they were similar to Arizona.
Arizona’s trespass law states "reasonable notice prohibiting entry". So if the land is not reasonably posted against entry or trespass you are ok to hunt it. Not so with Colorado, it states in the CRS 18-4-504 "A person commits the crime of third-degree criminal trespass if such person unlawfully enters or remains in or upon premises of another". Colorado law does not require the landowner to either fence or post his land to keep unwanted persons off his land.
Joe could have saved himself a lot of grief if he had either asked for permission to hunt the property in question or had a GPS with maps installed that show when you are on public/private land.
Joe was also taken in by the personable game warden and didn’t think he was under investigation when he was asked to show the location of his kill and afterword when he knew he was under investigation he thought by cooperating his problem would be less severe which in reality is not normally the case.
Joe had the right to ask, when questioned about the kill site by the officer if he was under investigation and at that point should have not answered any more questions. Joe when charged with the above offenses should have been ready to call a good wildlife lawyer rather than to continue to incriminate himself.
Joe’s second big mistake was not using an experienced wildlife lawyer to represent him at the administration hearings which resulted in Joe losing his hunting privileges for five years.
Joe was guilty of trespassing, but a good wildlife attorney more than likely could have negotiated a plea bargain and may have been able to end it at a trespassing charge with no loss of hunting privileges. As a sportsman always be prepared no matter what comes your way.