PDA

View Full Version : Trespassing in MODOC county



Corndog
09-06-2001, 10:34 PM
I just returned from my Antelope hunt in Modoc county. ###When I arrived there, the first thing I did was pick up a 2001 Modoc county map. ###I then proceeded to the Rocky Prarie where I found the map to be a very handy and accurate tool. ###However, if you read Modocer's email about trespassing, I think it was incorrect. ###The last day of my hunt, I changed areas and went to the heart of antelope country, ###about 10 miles north of Likely, on the east side of 395. ###According to the map it was all BLM land. ###However, I drove through about 4 fences before getting to the spot I wanted to hunt. ###I was nervous about being on private property (after all, Modocer said that if the property was fenced, it was private!) ###I thought I might have taken the wrong road so I checked my GPS coordinates against those on the map. ###I wasn't within 5 miles of Private land... ###So I hunted and shot me an antelope. ###The whole time, I was worried that a game warden (or Modocer) was gonna appear and bust me. ###

Two things to point out here. ###

Buy a county map. ###It shows all the roads, and who owns the surrounding land.

Two, if it is fenced and not posted, its not necessarily private. ###

Who fences this BLM land? ###Is it mutual use? ###There were no crops or cattle, just fences.

(I'll write about the Antelope hunt later)

Speckmisser
09-07-2001, 09:05 AM
BLM land can be fenced, usually before the BLM buys it. ###The ranchers are still using the land, but they can't keep you off of it. ###It's also common to put a gate across a public access road or trail to keep livestock in. ###By law, the gate can't be locked if it's a public right of way, and if it isn't posted (or if the fencline isn't posted around it, 3 signs to a mile), you can go on in. ###Consideration for the rancher suggests that you close the fence when you go through, by the way. ###

If the gate is locked, it's generally best to take it up with the authorities (DFG and/or BLM), rather than shooting the lock off. ###However, if you know you're in the right and you're way back of beyond... well, locks are cheap. ###

A lot of caveats to this, by the way. ###The tresspassing law is pretty specific, once you really read it. ###That's always a good way to start. ###Read the law and pick it apart. ###And remember, the land owner is NOT always in the right. ###

ranchwife
09-09-2001, 09:30 PM
I am glad that Modoceer scared you into being aware of where you are to the point that you purchased a map and were careful of where you hunted. ###I respect the fact that you double and triple checked where you were - it shows that you have respect for the land owner (or are just terrified of Modocer). ###Yes, there are a lot of fences in Modoc county; did you notice how many cows there are? ###In this county ranchers buy allotments that allow them to graze their cattle on public land. ###In order to effectively move their cattle and keep other cows from joining their herd, the allotments are fenced - both separating the allotments and separating pastures within the allotments. ###It is true that just because the land is fenced doesn't mean that it is private land. ###Most people aren't as considerate or as aware of where they are and as a result hunt wherever they wish - private or public. ###Thank you for knowing where you were and respecting the fences.
As for Speckmisser - it is because of people like you that Modocer and other land owners restrict people from hunting on their land. ###How would you feel if you put a lock on your back yard and someone shot it off? ###Gates are locked for a reason, regardless of whether or not is is private or public land. ###If a gate is locked, please do not break an entering, even if you are "way back of beyond." ###

Corndog
09-09-2001, 11:27 PM
Ranchwife and Speck. ###Thanks for the info. ###I don't think Speck meant any disrespect towards Ranchers or landowners. ###However, I believe he does have an issue with people putting locks on (yours and my) BLM land. ###So would I, but this wasn't the case. ###I was just nervous with all those fences around. ###Even though navigation is a big part of my living, I've been wrong enough times to know that I could screw it up. ###



By the way, Modocer didn't scare me into buying a map. ###I was just poking fun at him. ###I would buy a map whenever I hunted in an area with a lot of interwoven private/public land.

Speckmisser
09-10-2001, 04:08 PM
Hey Ranchwife...

First off, you should know me and my principles a whole lot better before you go on about how "it is because of people like you that Modocer and other land owners restrict people from hunting on their land." ###Or are you one of these people who just scans posts for inflammatory words and phrases, and goes off half-cocked? ###I guess it is possible that you misunderstood my post, and somehow think I do advocate shooting the locks off of people's gates, but the respectful thing then would be to validate this belief, rather than sit and accuse. ### The fact is, there are a whole lot of places in CA that I don't even hunt, simply because the public/private boundaries are too confusing, and I don't think I could be sure I wasn't trespassing inadvertently.

Nowhere did I suggest crashing the gates onto private property (such as someone's backyard). ###I have no disrespect for decent landowners. ###I'd never intentionally and with disregard damage or destroy any private property. ###My momma taught me better than that, and if that weren't enough, I come from a place where trespassers are more likely to get shot than get arrested. ###

But there are real a--holes out there who lock gates onto BLM or other public lands. ###There is no "good reason" for this action, because if there were the lock would be accompanied by official signage from the governing body (BLM, FWS, etc.) designating the road or trail as Closed. ###This is in clear violation of the law, and the onus is on the lawbreaker (the person who locked the gate), not the citizen who is being barred from public land. ###While it's never completely appropriate to take the law into your own hands, there are times when the line of justice gets pretty danged blurry. ###

Personally, I think shooting off a lock is a dangerous trick, and I'd probably turn back and find a warden who will not only come cut the lock, but who will also generally locate the person who placed it and set that individual straight. ###

In one case, I did have a game warden ADVISE me to either shoot the lock or drag the gate down with my truck, since the nearby landowner insisted on locking the gate every hunting season. ###I chose not to do so, but someone else the next day did. ###The farmer called the police and complained, then reset the gate. ###The next week, he was cited for illegally blocking public right of way. ###The person who pulled the gate down was neither charged nor vilified for his actions.

This is different, by the way, from truly landlocked public lands. ###In many states it has been common practice for landowners to buy encircling parcels, totally locking in huge pieces of public property (this has been big business in places like Colorado and Montana). ###While I personally hate to see it, I recognize that there is no redress available, and without permission, there is no legal way (or right) to cross over to the public parcel. ###Most states where this was common are now passing laws which provide for public access, and create rights of way for public use. ###

There are scofflaws on both sides of the argument, Ranchwife. ###While private landowners are pretty heavily set upon by the public and the government, they are certainly not all innocents. ###Likewise, all hunters are definitely not the "bad guys".




(Edited by Speckmisser at 4:09 pm on Sep. 10, 2001)

karstic
09-10-2001, 04:21 PM
You go Speck...

It's good to see a well worded post like Speck's every now and then. I kinda missed his philosophysin'

mudhen
09-10-2001, 06:23 PM
Speck is just simply dead on correct, legally and ethically. ###If that lock is improperly on a public (or a certain private) access gate, it is coming off every time if I have the legal right to pass. ###And I mean any valid legal right, regardless of what one landowner may think is the law.

Just yesterday I had a minor run-in with some hunters in San Benito county. ###They claimed I was getting involved with a 40 year plus dispute over boundaries. ###They were not familiar with basic legal principles of tenancy in common, easments, right of ways, life estates, granting of access licenses, etc.
They had little knowledge, if any, of basic F&G codes about trespassing. ###

But they were extremely vocal about the 40+ years of hardship in dealing with my particular landowner.

Our discussion ended up very friendly after a little clarification, but I couldn't help ask one question ; Why put up with this for 40 years? ###Fencing, posting 3 signs/mile, and maintaining that fencing is all part of landownership. ###A landowner has certain duties and maintaining boundaries is one of them!
If my car brakes fail (because I failed to maintain), and I hit another car, I don't blame that other car for being in my way!!! ###Fix the damn brakes!!! ###Or try a real estate lawyer for cripes sakes!!! ###

But their main fear was avoiding a range war - for that I can't really blame them - it can really get ugly out there - but to let it go on for 40 years.......

mudhen-CA

huntducks
09-10-2001, 08:09 PM
Speck

I have to agree with you and have seen many a instance where BLM was locked up tight by a land owner or someone else, I do know that a old hunting friend of mine use to lock up some NFS land every year with his lock on opening day of deer season, he use to tell me when he went drove out, that it turned around every vehical after him as he could see where they made a U- turn in front of the gate, he use to post land down at the sea during opener of dove that he had no clue who it blonged to or if it was public or private, until one year the real owner showed up and shot all his signes down.

I hunt down at Cibola and the Cibola sportsman club use to post land that blonged to the state of AZ. it was right next to there goose field with in 70yds of a pit blind, I wached the GW give a guide a ticket one day for hunter hairesment as he was chasing off some guys that did not know better, if you stood right at the corner of the property you could get some good shooting as geese worked right into the field, I would not hunt there if they were using the field just out of common courtesy, or I would wait until they shot and the birds flew back towards the refuge.

Even with a GPS and maps you are never sure

hunter mike
09-10-2001, 10:16 PM
Well said Speck, keep up the good work! ###

Fubar
09-10-2001, 10:56 PM
Now that we have discussed this trespassing thing for a while, I have a question. How many of you landowners will let people hunt on your land if they ask you for permission? If not, I would appreciate a why not. ### ### ###Thanx ### ###Fubar

wavesfr
09-10-2001, 10:58 PM
I too agree speck.I'm tired of the the land lock thing Myself.They buy up the land surrounding the public land.Then the public land pretty much becomes they'res too.That's just not right!Of course we could get there via helicopter.But who has the means of that?We should'nt have to go to that anyways. ### ### ### ### ### ### ### ### ### ### ### ### ### ### ### ### ### ### ### ### ### ### ### ### ### ### ### ### ### ### ### ### ### ### ### ### ### ### ### ### ### ### ### ### ### ### ### ### ### ### ### ### ### ### ### ### ### ### ### ### ### ### ### ### ### ### ### ### Most land owner's act like we're scum of the earth.I'm a little tired of that too.Just cause.I'm not rich or My grandpa did'nt leave Me some land.Then We have no rights?Crap they get million's of dollars a year from the goverment.Just cause they say they farm.Then try to keep us out of our own tax bought land? That's not right.I too have came across gate's with locks.Wich are public domain.That's bull crap.If I know for sure I have no problem hooking the gate to My bumper.It just sucks that everything is about money now days.

jerry d
09-11-2001, 02:37 AM
Ranchwife,

Just out of curiosity, are you suggesting that public land, such as BML/National Forest, where grazing permits have been granted are sometimes fenced into allotments.

If so, do the permit holders normally install locked gates on this land to "effectively move their cattle and keep other cows from joining their herd" or is it really to keep, what they believe to be, "unauthorized persons" off the land. In either case, how do they justify such actions knowing it's unlawful. Whatever happened to the "cattle gates" across the road that didn't need a swinging gate.

Hope you take all the responses to your response in the spirit in which they were given and can understand why so many may seem hostile toward ranchers that "lock off" public lands. As you can see this is a "big deal" to many who must literally fight for "permission" to hunt these public lands.

No doubt ranchers have their share of problems with trespassers and I fully support any action they may take to stop trespassers but have no sympathy for those that use any means available(locks, false claims, threats, or whatever)to keep the public off land where they have every right to be, just because there's a grazing/mining permit involved.

One such rancher, with a grazing permit, attempted to run us off National Forest land using "doctored" maps, that he conveniently had in his possesion, and threats of arrest until we insisted he follow through with his threat to call the local sheriff.

To use your analogy of "gates are locked for a reason, regardless of whether or not it is private or public land", how would you feel if I fenced and locked your local neighborhood park that bordered my property and kept you and your children out. Bet you wouldn't tolorate that for one minute.

I think all we want is the opportunity to use public land, that belongs to all the people, for whatever legal purpose we so chose with out a hassle.

I'd bet you would find an over whelming percentage of hunters respect private property vs those that don't.

BigDog
09-11-2001, 05:15 AM
I have to jump in here too seeing as this is a very touchy subject with the Big Dog. Since I started hunting in Ca. I have been running into this problem. And growling the whole time.
I have never cut a fence or lock. I have called the BLM and DFG though.
It is just unacceptable for ranchers to get grazing rights on public land and then lock them up to keep us out. If you go look at the property around Lake Sonoma, that is what you will find every year. I personally have called about locks on gates where the BLM has gotten them removed. Two weeks later, it was there again. Next season it was there again.
I have seen the same thing all over northern and central Ca.
Out and out trespassing is wrong. But so is keeping us off of our property.

doghouse95
09-11-2001, 09:30 AM
I'm ranch raised. I always make sure I know where I am, but I do not put up with anyone
putting a lock on a gate that is on public land. ###You don't have to shoot the lock off, just
carry a large pair of bolt cutters and cut it off. ###It's la lot quieter, and doesn't draw as much
attention.
I've been known to leave a note explaining just how much fence I can take out with a
single pair of fence pliers if they lock that gate again.
Know where you are, and always respect private property, but never put up with someone
trying to keep you off of public land.

doghouse95
09-11-2001, 09:35 AM
I'm ranch raised. I always make sure I know where I am, but I do not put up with anyone
putting a lock on a gate that is on public land. ###You don't have to shoot the lock off, just
carry a large pair of bolt cutters and cut it off. ###It's la lot quieter, and doesn't draw as much
attention.
I've been known to leave a note explaining just how much fence I can take out with a
single pair of fence pliers if they lock that gate again.
Know where you are, and always respect private property, but never put up with someone
trying to keep you off of public land.

Modocer
09-13-2001, 01:27 PM
Corndog it was nice to hear that you did your best to stay off private land. I wish more people would fallow your example. You did bring up a good point, alot of the BLM and USFS cattle alotments are fenced. THe fences are there to seperate grazing alotments or pastures within the alotment. A good map will show the public and the private land. The fences are build in cooperation between the goverment and the ranchers. Usually the goverment buys (using our grazing fees) the fencing material and the ranchers build the fence. The last numbers that I have heard on the cost of building a fence is $5000 per mile. If you want a cattle guard add another $5000.
As for the locks on there gates, there are two possible explanation the first could be, the road that you are on is part of the USFS/BLM's policy of road closures/roarless areas or the second is that the ranchers have had problems with people leaving the gate open allowing the cattle to get out. If the cattle were to get out and cause a wreck we are liable. Those of you who are advacating destroying there gates, you had better think twice about it, not only would you be destroying GOVERMENT property, you could cause an accident.

ranchwife
09-13-2001, 03:47 PM
Thanks for your support Modocer! ###Some poeple don't realize that when they go through a closed gate that they need to reclose it once they are through - even though it is an inconvenience. ###If people would learn to reclose the gates, maybe ranchers wouldn't have to lock the gates. ###Oh, I was wondering if people are too lazy to climb a fence and walk? ###Or is walking just a nobel concept?

Yes, Jerry d, allotments are fenced off (at least on the Modoc Forest) - to keep neighboring cattle heards from mixing and/or being where they shouldn't. ###No, locked gates are normally not installed. ###If the gate is continually left open (allowing herds to mix and/or get onto roads/highways), however, then the rancher may be forced to lock the gate - usually the governing agency USFS/BLM is notified. ###The lock is not to keep people out, but to keep the cows in and alive, and possibly protect people. ###Ranchers are liable for any deaths/injuries to people caused by their cattle on roads.

Speckmisser
09-13-2001, 11:58 PM
Modocer and Ranchwife,

Just wanted to throw in a couple things...

First of all, in my initial post I clearly advocate consideration for the rancher and closing the gates as we pass. ###I have no issues with closed gates, whatsoever. ###

Secondly, if a gate on public land is locked as part of a program such as roadless areas, etc... ###that gate will be marked and posted clearly by the official body that placed the lock. ###

I'll only add, finally, that it's not always ranchers that put those illegal locks on the gates. ###I've known hunters to do the same thing to keep other hunters out. ###And while I've never experienced it first hand, I imagine the anti-hunters have been known to lock a gate or two as well. ###

If the locked gate onto public property isn't officially marked and designated, there is no law against forcing entry. ###In light of Ranchwife's closing paragraph in her last post, that should be an important note for ranchers who feel that their only option is to lock the gates. ###No matter what else, that land is public property.

Bottom line is, as I said before, I have utmost respect for landowners and their private property. ###I go out of my way not to trespass, and so far I've done a pretty good job of it. ###This is what got me started in the first place...Ranchwife's jumping to conclusions about my hunting ethics, or lack thereof. ###I feel very strongly that only by displaying the highest ethical standards as hunters will we be able to keep our sport alive. ###



(Edited by Speckmisser at 11:59 pm on Sep. 13, 2001)

jerry d
09-14-2001, 12:56 AM
ranchwife,

Thanks for the info.

I still think a cattle guard would be the best answer for allowing public access. At $5000 a pop I suppose it could get expensive but, what the hell, from what Modocer said it's government money and would probably be wasted somewhere else. Those things must be gold plated.

I thought Calif. had a range/stock law and if you hit livestock you paid for the loss. Years ago my brother hit a cow that walked out in front of him in the middle of the night and it cost him $65 for the cow plus his insurance didn't cover the cost for replacing the front of his car and the windshield.

Cow's foot came through the middle of the windshield and the car was dang near covered with cow poop.

By the way, one of the questions on the Hunter Education Exam addresses open and closed gates and we stress the importance, and reason, for leaving a gate as you found it - open or closed.

overdrawn
09-14-2001, 06:25 AM
I like the "Big Bumper" idea. If the gate is closed to keep the cattle in and protect the public from injuries from accidents on the hiway and the rancher from injuries to his/her pocket book. Then why is it not just latched? don't see any need for a lock, the cows are so dang stupid they are not gonna unlatch the gate and walk away. I'm sick of landlocked pulic land, and am also sick of the stupid cows in areas where I hunt, such as national forest. I think alot of these landowners think they can hoard the land and keep the lower incomed folk out, if I am clear on what land it is the lock is gone!

rusman66
09-14-2001, 11:55 AM
Well as soon as the enviromentalists find some nats ass to protect in your neck of the woods, they will find a reason to run the cattle off the public land like they are doing out here in the Mojave desert. So you all wont have to worry about the cattle fences at the very least.