Hunting Law

What is Illegal Sale of Wildlife? Guides and Outfitters May Face Steep Fines and Felony Charges for Breaking Hunting and Outfitting Laws with Their Clients

What is Illegal Sale of Wildlife? Guides and Outfitters May Face Steep Fines and Felony Charges for Breaking Hunting and Outfitting Laws with Their Clients

Outfitters, guides, or hunters facing charges of illegal sale of wildlife face possible felony charges and lifetime hunting suspension among other harsh penalties.  Consulting with Colorado Hunting Violation Lawyer Nathaniel Gilbert can help you make your best decision when faced with Colorado Hunting Violations.

What Is A Colorado Hunting Violation?

What Is A Colorado Hunting Violation?

Hunters, fishers, and outdoorsmen may face suspension of their hunting and fishing privileges in Colorado for more than just violations of the state's hunting and fishing laws.

What Are Colorado Hunting License Suspension Points: Losing Your Outdoor Privileges for Hunting and Fishing Violations

What Are Colorado Hunting License Suspension Points: Losing Your Outdoor Privileges for Hunting and Fishing Violations

Colorado hunters and fishermen who receive hunting violations may face suspension of the hunting and fishing license for the foreseeable future.  Addressing the ticket immediately before receiving another violation down the road is absolutely crucial for your best chance at retaining your outdoor privileges.

What Is The Fine For Trespassing In Colorado?

What Is The Fine For Trespassing In Colorado?

Trespassing in Colorado can carry hefty fines and possible license suspension for the hunter or fisherman who pleads guilty or pays the fine without consulting with an attorney.

What is the Fine For Hunting Without a License?

 What is the Fine For Hunting Without a License?

Hunters can find themselves facing a dilemma if they hunt without a license, and can be subject to heavy fines and loss of hunting and fishing privileges if charged with Hunting Violations.  Are there any defenses available for being without this crucial certificate while in the field?

Do I Need a Kansas Hunting Violation Attorney?

Do I Need a Kansas Hunting Violation Attorney?

Do I need a Kansas Hunting Violation Attorney? If you are charged with a big game or deer hunting violation in Kansas, the fines for poaching deer can quickly become a staggering amount, especially for poaching a trophy deer.  Before paying any deer poaching fines or pleading guilty to charges of illegally killing big game in Kansas, you should consult with an attorney to understand your rights and defenses.

What is the Fine for Poaching a Deer in Kansas?

 Fines for killing a deer illegally can vary based on the number of convictions you’ve had in the past, the size of the deer, and the method used to kill the deer.  The base fine for violations involving big game in Kansas can range from the minimum of $500 to the maximum of $1,000 for a first time offense.  K.S.A. 32-1032 sets the fine for deer poaching in Kansas as well as a possible jail sentence of up to 6 months and a misdemeanor conviction.  For a third, fourth, or fifth conviction of illegally killing big game in Kansas, there is no maximum fine, meaning the judge could order you to pay steep costs associated with the sentence depending on the circumstances surrounding the offense.  Additionally, the jail sentences can range from a minimum of 30 days to 90 days.

 In addition to these fines, Kansas has also imposed “Trophy Fines” which vary depending on the size of the deer.  For whitetail deer, a trophy buck is considered any buck with an inside spread of at least 16 inches.  For mule deer, a trophy buck is considered any buck with an inside spread of at least 20 inches.  When the illegally killed deer meets the trophy criteria, the fine is set at a minimum of $5,000.00.  The judge could possibly order you to pay additional money, but it will at least be $5,000.00.

 Finally, the State of Kansas has authorized the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks to seek restitution from individuals that poach deer in Kansas that have a gross antler score of 125 or more.  This formula is defined as:  (gross score - 100)² x $2.  For example, if you illegally kill a deer with a gross score of 160, the restitution fine would be $7,200.00

 In addition to any of these fines based on the actual killing of the deer, you may face additional fines depending on the method used to kill the deer.  Shooting from a public road, trespassing, and hunting out of season carry their own fines that would be tacked on to the fines listed above. 

 If you are charged with illegally killing any deer in Kansas, you should know that you have options.  Consulting with an attorney is advised as soon as you are issued any charges in relation to illegal hunting in Kansas.  Often, a plea bargain or agreement can be reached with the state that could drastically reduce the monetary amount you owe in your case.  Nate Gilbert, attorney in Colorado and Kansas, has defended illegal deer hunting and poaching cases in Kansas and uses the expertise gained in these cases to help hunters assert their rights in a court of law.  Consulting with Nate will help you and your family deal with the stress of illegal hunting charges and get you back on your feet.

 

What Is My Outfitting Contract Required To Have?

Outfitters and their guides in Colorado are regulated by the Department of Regulatory Agencies (DORA).  For outfitters establishing their business, DORA has several requirements related to how those business are conducted within the state of Colorado.  In addition to rules on advertising, guarantees, and insurance requirements, DORA requires Outfitters to have certain provisions contained in their contracts that they use to provide outfitting and guiding services to consumers.

DORA requires Outfitting contracts to have six specific provisions.  These provisions are: 1) The types of services to be provided, 2) Dates the services are to be provided, 3) Transportation arrangements and whether or not transportation is to be provided, 4) Actual costs of the services, 5) The ratio of clients to guides that will be maintained on the trip, and 6) The outfitter’s own policy on cancellations and refunds on deposits or costs.

While there are no specific requirements for each of these provisions and what they must look like, they absolutely must be contained in your contract in some form.  Failure to include these provisions in your contract for outfitting services will prevent you from being able to maintain any action to recover funds owed to you under that contract. 

Nate Gilbert, attorney in Colorado, has worked with these specific provisions provided by DORA on both ends: preparing compliant contracts and documents for Outfitters revamping or just starting up their business, as well as helping Outfitters respond to complaints from DORA regarding outfitting contract deficiencies.  Scheduling a consultation with Nate regarding your outfitting services contracts BEFORE you violate these rules will help your business run more smoothly and efficiently as well as keep your outfitting compliant with Colorado law.

Do I Have to Wear Blaze Orange in Kansas? Big Game and Pheasant Hunting Regulations

Do I Have to Wear Blaze Orange in Kansas? Big Game and Pheasant Hunting Regulations

Blaze orange is required for hunting various species in different states.  Kansas requires blaze orange for firearms elk and deer hunting.

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

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

Colorado and Kansas game wardens often establish check points to aid in their investigation of possible poaching or hunting violations.  Knowing your rights and defenses to tickets received at a checkpoint is crucial knowledge as a hunter.

Can I hunt private land in Kansas that is not posted? Kansas trespassing, criminal hunting, and written permission laws.

Many hunters from across the nation will be converging on Kansas towns in the coming days for pheasant and quail opening weekend followed quickly by the rifle deer seasons.  While some may have family farms to return to or other private leases to hunt, others will be trying their hand on public lands and looking to find other private land that may be available.  The laws concerning where you can hunt are crucial when looking for that new honey-hole, especially for non-resident hunters unfamiliar with the nuances of Kansas hunting regulations.

Hunters may not hunt private land in Kansas without permission, even if it is not posted.  “Criminal Hunting,” is defined as hunting private land or water without the owner’s permission in statute K.S.A. 21-5810.  If you find private property that does not have signage saying “No Trespassing,” you still must determine the owner and get their permission before hunting the property.  This is different than some states with earlier pheasant seasons that hunters may be accustomed to, such as North Dakota.  Unless the land is clearly posted as public ground, such as Kansas’ “Walk In Hunting Area” land, you must have the permission of the owner before hunting there.

 Purple paint is legally recognized as "No Trespassing" in many states, including Kansas.

Purple paint is legally recognized as "No Trespassing" in many states, including Kansas.

Where property IS posted, hunters in Kansas must carry written permission in their possession while hunting.  Kansas statute K.S.A. 32-1013 states that posted property in Kansas, that has signs saying any variation of “No Trespassing,” “No Hunting,” or “Private Land,” requires all hunters who are on the property to have written permission.  Verbal permission from the owner of the land, no matter how long you’ve known the owner or have hunted the property, is not enough and will result in trespassing tickets for your group. Purple paint on posts, fences, or trees surrounding the property also counts as “posted” property for the purposes of this statute.  Essentially, if there are signs or purple paint on the property you are hunting, you must have written permission to show the game warden if asked.

If you receive a trespassing ticket, you have a few options and should consult with an attorney before simply pleading guilty and paying the fines.  Nate Gilbert, attorney in Colorado and Kansas, grew up in Kansas and has defended trespassing charges for hunters in both Colorado and Kansas.  Drawing on the experience Nate has in dealing with these charges, a consultation with Nate will help you determine your best course of action and whether you have any defenses available.  

Can I Fight A Hunting Ticket?

Can I Fight A Hunting Ticket?

The decision to fight your hunting violation is a big one and shouldn't be taken lightly.  Whether it is one small charge, or multiple charges with thousands of dollars in fines and multiple points assessed, you should consider consulting with an attorney about your rights and what possible defenses may be available to you. 

How can I evict hunters from my lease?

How can I evict hunters from my lease?

Hunting leases can be great opportunities for hunters and landowners, but are still subject to the same penalties as more common commercial leases for both tenant and landlord.

How Do I Get a Landowner Tag In Colorado?

How Do I Get a Landowner Tag In Colorado?

Landowner tags can be a lucrative offer for Colorado sportsmen, but failing to know and follow the rules for the tags can result in hunting violations.

Can I Fight a Trespassing Ticket?

Can I Fight a Trespassing Ticket?

Fighting a trespassing ticket can seem like quite an undertaking, but consulting with an attorney is a great place to start to see what options you may have.

Is Wanton Waste of Game a Felony in Colorado?

Is Wanton Waste of Game a Felony in Colorado?

Hunters charged with either of Colorado's waste of game violations should consult with an attorney prior to pleading guilty to charges of this hunting violation.

Fishing on Private Property in Colorado: A 20 Point Offense

Receiving a ticket for fishing on private property can be a frustrating situation.  Often it is merely a mistake and no real harm was intended and indeed, you may not have even caught a fish, but still receive the violation.  If you receive a fishing violation in Colorado for fishing on private property without permission, you need to speak with an attorney before paying the fine and pleading guilty.

The particular statute governing fishing on private property reads:

C.R.S. 33-6-116. Hunting, trapping, or fishing on private property: (1) It is unlawful for any person to enter upon privately owned land or lands under the control of the state board of land commissioners to hunt or take any wildlife by hunting, trapping, or fishing without first obtaining permission from the owner or person in possession of such land.

Trespassing in Colorado, whether for fishing, hunting, or trapping, results in 20 license suspension points.  20 or more license suspension points in a five year period results in a hearing before the Wildlife Commission and possibly, loss of your hunting, fishing and trapping privileges for the coming seasons.  In essence, a violation for fishing on private property could put your elk hunt this fall in jeopardy. 

If you are on private property, you may wonder how the Colorado Parks and Wildlife officer who issued you the fishing ticket got out there without permission.  CPW officers are allowed onto private property to investigate fishing, hunting, or trapping offenses without permission of the landowner.  There are limits to this power, but CPW officers are given a wide authority on enforcing wildlife statutes.  Additionally, you still have defenses available even if the officer is allowed to be there such as your 4th Amendment rights against unlawful search and seizure.  An attorney can help you determine any defenses that may be available to you.

Finally, trespassing in Colorado is a strict liability crime.  Essentially, it does not matter whether you meant to or not.  Trespassing is an offense regardless of if you crossed onto private property purposefully, or “with intent.”  Again though, this does not mean that just because an officer says you were trespassing, that you do not have defenses to this accusation.  How was the location determined? Where was the officer when he/she saw you allegedly trespass? Is there evidence to the contrary?

If you receive a fishing violation for fishing on private property in Colorado, The Law Office of Nathaniel Gilbert will help review your case and provide a free consultation.  You have nothing to lose by calling an attorney and getting help deciding what your best options will be.  Often, fishing violations are able to be handled for a flat fee with no lengthy hourly billings. Before you just pay the fine and plead guilty, think ahead and talk with an attorney—Your elk hunting buddies will thank you.

Leasing Property For Hunting and Fishing

If you've hunted or fished public land before, you've probably thought about getting your own private hunting ground.  The pressure on public land can lead a great number of outdoorsmen to seek out private ground to buy, though the most common approach is to lease established farm ground.  Leasing a farmer or rancher's property can carry risks and responsibilities and should not be entered into lightly.

When approaching a landowner to inquire about a hunting or fishing lease, you need to have your ducks in a row.  What will you be hunting? What are the seasons for that animal? What kind of equipment will you be using?  Do not assume that every farmer or rancher immediately knows what all will be entailed in a "Deer Hunting Lease" or a "Duck Hunting Lease" or "Bass Fishing Lease."  It is in your best interest to have all of the information about your particular desires for the lease in mind and written out before you even think about approaching someone.  

Additionally, be prepared to retreat from some of the things you ask for.  A rancher may not like the idea of rifles on his property between September and November while cattle still graze on the grass, while he may be open to late season hunts in January after the cows have been moved to harvested corn fields.  This illustrates how important it is to be completely prepared with exactly what you are looking to do.  Finding out in September that the farmer doesn't want rifles near his place may leave you without a spot to hunt.

When you sign a lease, you are looking to be the exclusive user of that property for that purpose.  Your lease absolutely must reflect this.  Many state's laws state that the individual who leases the property for crops or grazing also leases the hunting rights to that property and may invite guests of his choosing to hunt.  Likewise, a landowner may not realize that even if you are there to deer hunt in December, that may mean his kids or grandchildren cannot duck hunt during or before that time.  What does your lease say about activity on the property before the actual season that you wish to lease it for? 

A common pitfall often seen in hunting leases is the failure to provide for unavoidable or unforeseen circumstances.  A farmhand may not know of the existing waterfowl hunting lease and drain the pond or flooded field that the hunters planned to hunt.  Who is responsible for filling the pond or field again? Was the draining a necessary action to prevent loss or damage to the farmer's crops or property? Your lease absolutely must provide for common eventualities like this that may leave your hunting property completely worthless for the whole season and give you no recourse for reimbursement.

At The Law Office of Nathaniel Gilbert, an attorney who actually hunts and fishes and understands the nuances and details special to hunting and fishing leases will review your lease or draft an entirely new lease for you and your hunting party.  Call Nate Gilbert to set up an absolutely free consultation to talk about your hunting and fishing needs.