Are Game Warden Checkpoints Legal? Can A Game Warden Really Search My Car?

With a record number of hunters expected in Kansas for the 2016 hunting season, Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks has stepped up their enforcement levels for game and hunting violations.  Checkpoints have been announced for the coming weekend in multiple locations (Click Here for more information on locations) that will allow game wardens to inspect licenses, equipment, and any game taken by hunters.

Identifying different species is crucial in staying legal.  If stopped by a game warden, keeping your limits separated and species identified will help you avoid a hunting ticket.

Identifying different species is crucial in staying legal.  If stopped by a game warden, keeping your limits separated and species identified will help you avoid a hunting ticket.

At a game warden checkpoint, you may be asked to produce your license, equipment, and any game that you and your party have taken.  If you refuse to produce the game in your possession or allow a warden to count and inspect the game you have, you may be cited for a violation and receive a hunting ticket.  Additionally, if you refuse to allow the warden to search or inspect your equipment, coolers, vehicle, or blind, you may be issued a separate citation.  K.S.A. 32-1004 makes refusal to allow your game or equipment to be inspected by a warden an unlawful act, but you still have rights and defenses that can be evaluated by an attorney.  Refusal to allow the warden to inspect your game or equipment can often be justified in a court of law.

Colorado specifically provides for check stations in their wildlife regulations.  Per Colorado Revised Statute 33-6-111, the Colorado Parks and Wildlife officers are allowed to establish checkpoints for the purpose of inspecting game and equipment of hunters.  People who encounter these checkpoints but fail to allow for the inspection of their licenses, game, or equipment may receive a hunting violation.  However, before paying and pleading guilty to the hunting ticket, you should speak with an attorney to evaluate your possible defenses. 

Nate Gilbert, attorney in Colorado and Kansas, has defended hunting violations in Colorado and Kansas.  Before pleading guilty and paying any fines associated with your hunting violation, consulting with Nate about possible defenses will help determine your best options.  You may have a good defense that once pled in Court could result in charges being dropped.