Warden search authority?

Originally Posted By: 6724Originally Posted By: bigsky_songdogsOriginally Posted By: RadioOriginally Posted By: fw707Originally Posted By: RaspackMy question is, does he have the authority to open a closed vehicle and start pulling weapons out, that were NOT visible from the outside, and inspecting them?

In my opinion, the answer is yes.
And here is the reason he did:

Originally Posted By: Raspack As the warden drove up and got out of his vehicle he said he would like to check licenses, any game we had taken and wanted to check guns. We both showed the requested paperwork and pulled the few dove from the ice chest. He then proceeded to open the back door of the truck and start pulling guns from the vehicle.

Your paperwork and doves were evidence you and your friend were hunting, so he had a legal right to check the guns used to take the doves.

In my opinion, he should have shown a little common courtesy and requested your consent first.


Agree with the above. Also the weapons were in plain sight if looking in the vehicle from outside, so it was not an illegal search by any stretch of the imagination. Pretty rude of him, but he was within his powers. You sure he wasn't one of the "Full of myself" agents on the TV show?
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This is a state by state issue. That crap might fly in the communist republic of CA but not in MT. Checking licenses , animals, etc is fine but here atleast a Warden has no authority to check a vehicle without permission, a search warrant, or exigent circumstances that would have to be articulated well to constitute a lawful search.

i would have to agree, in colorado your vehicle is considered an extension of your home. just because i have a fresh elk head in front of the house or in the garage, does not mean that the warden can walk freely into my house to check guns. like i said before, i am no attorney, BUT, i think any information/ evidence found in the truck without a warrant or consent would be thrown out by any objective judge.

but, i have seen personally law enforcement violate rights, mine. i was checking a rifle in at the airport once and there were some county cops hanging out, they came over to "inspect" my case, they wrote down the serial numbers off my rifles. pretty sure they have NO business in checking serial numbers without probable cause or consent. this was back many years before 9-11.

most of the law enforcement people that i have dealt with, both good and bad, know very little about the law and hope their "victim" does not either. when called on their behavior many have backed down.

If an elk or head is in sight at someone's home, yes the warden does have a right to ask for tags proving it was legally taken. If it was he would have no reason or desire to check guns. A vehicle has laws pertaining to driving around with loaded weapons, and establishing you are hunters with guns visible from outside the vehicle would give cause and the right to check to make sure those guns were unloaded.

As far as a citation for improper magazine plug? He didn't write it because he didn't have any way to prove you had or were using that shotgun in the field, a judge would have thrown it. He was just trying to give you a heads up for what could happen if you were checked while out shooting.

If a warden doesn't see a fisherman without a license actually using a pole in the water he can't write a citation for fishing without a license even if there is a pole sitting there not being used.
 
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A vehicle has laws pertaining to driving around with loaded weapons,...
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The sentence might have better been started "In California"

Wyoming has no statutes regarding transport of firearms in vehicles.
Loaded is legal. Even chamber loaded. One can't assume someone is hunting, just because there is a gun in the car. Not everyone who shoots, hunts, i.e., one of my daughters. But she does pack.

In our State, generally, if there is a Bucking Horse on the license plate, there is probably a gun in the car. Guns are an integral part of Wyoming culture, especially the rural parts.
 
Originally Posted By: FursniperThe officers had justification to inspect the firearms to make sure the birds they were shown were taken by lawful methods. In this case, the firearms in the vehicle could be searched for without a warrant. A motor vehicle is also mobile which creates an exigent circumstance to search without a warrant.

I believe the search was lawful, but the officers did a poor job in how they handled their hunter contact in the field.

In AZ for example, there is actually a state statute that enables wildlife officers to search without a warrant. This statute only applies to wildlife officers, not for all AZ state peace officers.

ARS 17-211(E3) states in part,
E. Game rangers and wildlife managers may, in addition to other duties:

1. Execute all warrants issued for a violation of this title.

2. Execute subpoenas issued in any matter arising under this title.

3. Search without warrant any aircraft, boat, vehicle, box, game bag or other package where there is sufficient cause to believe that wildlife or parts of wildlife are possessed in violation of law.

4. Inspect all wildlife taken or transported and seize all wildlife taken or possessed in violation of law, or showing evidence of illegal taking.

5. Seize as evidence devices used illegally in taking wildlife and hold them subject to the provisions of section 17-240.

6. Generally exercise the powers of peace officers with primary duties the enforcement of this title.

7. Seize devices that cannot be lawfully used for the taking of wildlife and are being so used and hold and dispose of them pursuant to section 17-240.


That looks like another illegal law.
 
Outlander..... Game Wardens need to be able to inspect wildlife that hunters/fishermen have in their possession in the field for compliance. That's their job. If you have nothing to hide, you should have no worries. No need to be so paranoid that you are feeling like a criminal (according to your other post).
 
Originally Posted By: FursniperOutlander..... Game Wardens need to be able to inspect wildlife that hunters/fishermen have in their possession in the field for compliance. That's their job. If you have nothing to hide, you should have no worries. No need to be so paranoid that you are feeling like a criminal (according to your other post).

I am not agreeing or disagreeing with the law. Just pointing out the government is contradicting its own law, the constitution. According to their rules, they need to make amendments to allow for these field compliances. No, I have nothing to hide but don't like being accused of crimes I never committed either.

 
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It would just be wonderful if wardens were taught to be courteous to hunters at least till a law is broken. I have worked close with some wardens in the past and they were good guys. I also have ran into several that treat everyone as criminals right off the bat and they just do it for kicks in my book. That is not acceptable behavior and should be eliminated.
 
at least they did not detain you for 2 hours running the serial numbers of all the guns in the truck, which we have had done. He ran all 4 guys in the truck for wants and warrants. This happened to me several times when I lived in Ca. going down the interstate, we were dressed in Cammo coming back from hunting. The Warden turned around and stopped us. We were nice, gave the warden permission to search, all was in order. He found out that we had been predator hunting, had 32 or more tails in our possession, and 2 hours later we were on our way. We showed our Mexican Hunting permits and Mexican gun Permits. We never had a cross word, and he kept asking leading questions trying to trap us into some kind of admission of a crime committed. We were all real nice people, and shocked was/is an understatement. This was 20 years ago. We were treated like sewer rats, just because we predator hunted.
 
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Quote:If you have nothing to hide, you should have no worries.

I really hate that term when a search topic is brought up. I interpret it as You should be willing to forgo or give up all your rights if you didn't do anything illegal.
 
Yup, it's usually said by people who have little understanding of the Bill of Rights and the premise behind true freedom.



Tex
 
Originally Posted By: OutlanderOriginally Posted By: FursniperOutlander..... Game Wardens need to be able to inspect wildlife that hunters/fishermen have in their possession in the field for compliance. That's their job. If you have nothing to hide, you should have no worries. No need to be so paranoid that you are feeling like a criminal (according to your other post).

I am not agreeing or disagreeing with the law. Just pointing out the government is contradicting its own law, the constitution. According to their rules, they need to make amendments to allow for these field compliances. No, I have nothing to hide but don't like being accused of crimes I never committed either.



It is not a contradiction. Probably outdated language, but it says "sufficient" cause which means probable cause. The same standard as any other Leo. It doesn't matter what the Leo's assignment is or where it is. Unlike Hillary they ALL have to operate under the same constitutional amendments.
 
Originally Posted By: littledawgOriginally Posted By: OutlanderOriginally Posted By: FursniperOutlander..... Game Wardens need to be able to inspect wildlife that hunters/fishermen have in their possession in the field for compliance. That's their job. If you have nothing to hide, you should have no worries. No need to be so paranoid that you are feeling like a criminal (according to your other post).

I am not agreeing or disagreeing with the law. Just pointing out the government is contradicting its own law, the constitution. According to their rules, they need to make amendments to allow for these field compliances. No, I have nothing to hide but don't like being accused of crimes I never committed either.



It is not a contradiction. Probably outdated language, but it says "sufficient" cause which means probable cause. The same standard as any other Leo. It doesn't matter what the Leo's assignment is or where it is. Unlike Hillary they ALL have to operate under the same constitutional amendments.

4th amendment
Quote:The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

OK, I am not a lawyer, but I see this as needing an issued warrant for reasonable searches. So now I am even more confused. How is a "Terry stop" and search really constitutional? I suppose the courts say it is, but lots of people think they got lots of rulings wrong. Obamacare for instance.
 
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Originally Posted By: littledawg
It is not a contradiction. Probably outdated language, but it says "sufficient" cause which means probable cause. The same standard as any other Leo. It doesn't matter what the Leo's assignment is or where it is. Unlike Hillary they ALL have to operate under the same constitutional amendments.

That is 100% correct.
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I believe game wardens are given more authority than police because it would be nearly impossible to enforce game laws if they didn't.

There are limits but they are going to be slightly different depending on the state. If you live in a state where loaded weapons in a vehicle are legal then they have no reason to check them. If a game warden tells you that you did something illegal and doesn't cite you for it I would take that as a warning to go fix the issue.
 
I have a question I have always been curious on, which touches on this.

Several years ago a buddy of mine in Indiana had a picture of a game warden on his trail camera on their families property. He was unaware of why the GW was there, and was never approached by them. Years before that, here in ohio, several GW showed up a buddies farm. The "barn" where they stay is a ways off the road, and not readily accessible with out 4 wheel drive or a key to the gate. Several GW walked up the hill off main road. Come to find out some one had heard shooting and told the GW the land owner was poaching deer if I remember correctly. All because they did a lot of shooting. There was no illegal hunting going on or parts to illegally taken game.

Now, while I could understand the second situation, I am a little unclear on the first situation. Do GW have the right on to property with nothing more than a "tip", no warrant? Both of these situations were second hand information, and years ago. I am sure there were more details to it than that. However I am just curious what is "allowed"?

I personally have never had an issue with a GW. We used to get check every opening day of dove season, as we were hunting public land. Same thing every time, license, bag limit, and check gun for plug. As a rule of thumb, I like to stay legal in my hunting so I don't worry much about it. While I KNOW there can always be a bad apple in the bunch, as with any profession, I have had decent experiences so far.
 
Brian, this is just one sentence I copy/pasted that pertains to your question. You can read the entire section for the details.

"OHIO REVISED CODE 1531.13

Any regularly employed salaried wildlife officer may enter any private lands or waters if the wildlife officer has good cause to believe and does believe that a law is being violated."


You can read the entire section regarding officer authority here:


http://codes.ohio.gov/orc/1531.13




 
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You're welcome.
If you want to take a while and read Supreme Court decisions on "curtilage" and "open fields doctrine" you'll see the reason so many people mistakenly believe that wildlife officers are exempt from the 4th Amemdment.
 
I agree. The US constitution would Trump this State Law. If I were a judge on the US Supreme Court I'd rule that this State Law was Unconstitutional. You can't search people, their homes or possessions without probable cause and a search warrant from a judge. So I would vote to strike down this state law.

I read the US constitution strictly as it's written.

Originally Posted By: Outlander
Fursniper said:
The officers had justification to inspect the firearms to make sure the birds they were shown were taken by lawful methods. That looks like another illegal law.
 
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