Trespassing

Trespassing even if done inadvertently can ruin your day. Take the case of an unnamed hunter in Colorado who was hunting in an area of 5-20 acre homes and home sites mixed with a smattering of national forest.

He thought he knew his way around the private land from the forest service map that he had taken along.

The hunter, let’s call him Joe, was quietly still hunting through the semi-open ponderosa pine forest, enjoying the early morning as the sun peaked over the distant mountains. Joe was seeing a lot of signs and was starting to see some does heading for their bedding area. As Joe moved along the low ridgeline hoping to catch a glimpse of one of the big bucks he heard roamed this stretch of woods.

Joe was a little concerned with the lack of fences and terrain features on his forest service map, he was a little unsure of whether or not he was encroaching into private land. But Joe thinking that his ignorance and lack of other people around made it safe for him to continue his hunt.

As Joe crested the ridge he saw a nice 4X4 mule deer buck looking at him. Joe took a knee and fired. Upon approaching the downed buck he could see that he had shot a very nice buck. After dressing the buck Joe made the short drag to the road and while loading the deer into his pickup the game warden pulled up.

The game warden admired Joe’s deer and after a little chit chat he asked Joe to show him where he had killed the buck. Joe took the warden to the spot and the warden marked the "gut pile" on his GPS. The warden then informed Joe that he was on private land and that the landowner had filed a trespass complaint.

Joe’s nightmare was just starting, he was charged with trespassing, illegally taking a deer and ultimately under the "Samson Law" charged with illegally taking a trophy animal. Joe’s fines ended up totaling $22,000 and after a Colorado Parks and Wildlife administration hearing Joe’s hunting privileges were suspended for five years. Joe’s privileges were also suspended in the 37 other states that are members of an interstate compact of which Colorado is a member. See compact http://wildlife.state.co.us/RulesRegs/LawEnforcement/InterstateWildlifeViolatorCompact/Pages/InterstateWildlifeViolatorCompact.aspx

Part II JOE SHOULD HAVE…