hunting law

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 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?

Can I Fight a Kansas Hunting Violation?

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Receiving a Kansas hunting violation is never a pleasant experience.  Whatever the circumstances and whatever the reason, hunters facing charges for hunting mistakes face an uphill battle.  When you do receive a hunting violation in Kansas, you should know that you do have options and possibly defenses. You may just pay the violation or choose to fight it, and though the choice may seem simple enough, neither should be taken lightly.

If you do receive a hunting violation, you may choose to just plead guilty and pay the fine.  You should understand that paying the fine is pleading guilty to the charges and waives any defenses you may have had.  You won’t be able to come back later and try to reopen the case to fight the charges.  Whatever charges you plead guilty to will be on your record and you could even lose your hunting privileges.  Some charges may actually involve jail time, and pleading guilty could have you facing serious time away from your job, family, and friends behind bars.  However unlikely for hunting violations, you should understand that it is a possibility for some offenses.

That being said, choosing to fight a hunting violation is not a decision that should be taken lightly.  The process of fighting the charges of illegal hunting can be long and somewhat draining.  Hearings, motions, negotiations with the State, arguments, and possibly even a trial can be a daunting thing for someone unfamiliar with the justice system to face. 

The best thing you can do when you receive a Kansas hunting violation is consult with an attorney.  Nate Gilbert, a Kansas native, outdoorsman, and attorney has built a practice dealing with Kansas hunting violations and defending hunter’s rights in courts in Kansas as well as Colorado.  Consulting with Nate when you receive a hunting violation is free and will help determine the best options for you and what defenses you may have available.  

Can You Hunt Big Game Such as Deer or Elk, Over Bait in Colorado?

Can You Hunt Big Game Such as Deer or Elk, Over Bait in Colorado?

Colorado does not allow the baiting of deer, elk, or other big game.  But what counts as baiting and does it only apply to hunters?

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 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 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.

"Artificial Fly and Lure Only" Fishing Regulations

Colorado has many fishing areas that have special regulations on the kinds of methods you may use to fish.  One such regulation is that of "Artificial Flies and Lures Only."  In 2014, Colorado Parks and Wildlife Officers gave out nearly 100 tickets for "Fishing With Bait in Fly/Lure Only Water."  If you are cited for fishing with an unlawful bait your first call should be to your attorney for a free consultation on your rights and defenses.  However, let's look a little closer at what exactly this rule means to help avoid this problem in the first place.

Click here for the 2016 Colorado Fishing Regulations Brochure

Click here for the 2016 Colorado Fishing Regulations Brochure

Bait is defined in the Colorado Parks and Wildlife Regulations as: "any hand-moldable material designed to attract fish by the sense of taste or smell; those devices to which scents or smell attractants have been added or externally applied (regardless if the scent is added in the manufacturing process or applied afterward); scented manufactured fish eggs and traditional organic baits, including but not limited to worms, grubs, crickets, leeches, dough baits or stink baits, insects, crayfish, human food, fish, fish parts or fish eggs."  The definition is unsurprising to most anglers, save for the portion regarding spray attractants.  The trouble here is, for most spray attractants that would be applied to otherwise legal flies or lures would leave very little in the way of identifiable scent for a human (CPW officer) to detect.  You could just receive the ticket based on having the spray attractant visible in your tackle box even if you're not actually using it.  

Artificial flies and lures are defined as: "devices made entirely of, or a combination of, natural or synthetic non-edible, non-scented (regardless if the scent is added in the manufacturing process or applied afterward), materials such as wood, plastic, silicone, rubber, epoxy, glass, hair, metal, feathers, or fiber, designed to attract fish."  Again, the definition is not surprising to most anglers but does give a very bright line rule for fishermen and women to consult and follow.  

If you do receive a ticket for fishing with bait in fly or lure only water, you need to call The Law Office of Nathaniel Gilbert for a 100% free consultation regarding your rights, defenses, and any repercussions that could come from pleading guilty and paying the fine.  Finding out too late that your fishing violation compromised your once in a lifetime elk hunt this fall could be devastating.  

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.

Colorado Fishing Checkpoints To Be In Full Force This Summer

Colorado Parks and Wildlife often set up check stations in order to inspect fishermen in Colorado and their gear, vehicles, and landed fish.  These check points can be set up anywhere, but are most often situated on the roads leading out of popular fishing areas.  While the CPW wardens and officers conducting the check points do have a certain amount of authority, you still retain rights as an individual.

Colorado Revised Statutes 33-6-111 (2) states: The division is authorized to establish check stations, as needed, at locations within the state to aid in the management of wildlife and the enforcement of articles 1 to 6 [of the laws governing hunting and fishing in the state of Colorado]. Persons who encounter check stations, whether in possession of wildlife or not, shall stop and produce licenses issued by the division, firearms, and wildlife for inspection by division personnel. Any person who violates this section is guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction thereof, shall be punished by a fine of one hundred dollars and an assessment of five license suspension points.

When you approach a check station after fishing, you are required to produce your fishing license and any fish you have in your possession.  If you fail to do so, or refuse to do so, you will receive the fines and suspension points as outlined in the statute.  However, officers of the division of Colorado Parks and Wildlife are limited in their power at check stations.  

C.R.S. 33-6-101(1) states that any CPW officer has the authority "to open, enter, and search all places of concealment where he or she has probable cause to believe wildlife held in violation" of the Colorado fishing regulations may be concealed.  This statute applies to both motor vehicles and vessels--Everything from a paddleboard or canoe to trucks, jeeps and RV's.  Once an officer has "probable cause" to believe that some evidence of a fishing violation may have been committed is concealed somewhere in your motor vehicle or vessel, they may search those motor vehicles or vessels.  Refusal to consent to a search is NOT probable cause to search.  You have every right to refuse a search of your motor vehicle or vessel.

If your vehicle or vessel was searched and evidence was found that allegedly indicated a fishing violation or other crime had occurred, you need to consult with an attorney before making any decisions.  The Law Office of Nathaniel Gilbert will take your call and provide a 100% free consultation so there is no downside to calling.   


Samson's Law: Colorado Hunting Violations Grow Horns

Samson's Law: Colorado Hunting Violations Grow Horns

Samson's Law governs special fines for trophy animals illegally taken in Colorado.  Stemming from an infamous trophy elk poaching case, the law levies monetary charges based on the size of the "trophy."

Kansas Turkey Season Just Around The Corner

Hunters in Kansas are gearing up for what should be a stellar turkey season.  The bands of brutal thunderstorms that sweep across Kansas plains in the spring will hardly stop the most die-hard turkey hunters in pursuit of long beards and sharp spurs.  

Important tips to remember while in the field gunning for turkeys this spring:

  • Hunting on land posted as "Hunting by written permission only" or designated with purple paint without physical, written permission from the owner of the property in your possession at all times is Trespassing.  It truly does not matter how long you have known the owner, how many beers your grandpas had together, or even if you've been hunting there for years without a problem.  For turkeys in Kansas, trespassing while turkey hunting under this rule is a misdemeanor and punishable by at least a $500 fine.
  • Using any kind of spotlight while you, or another member of your party, is even in possession of a firearm is illegal.  There are exceptions for agricultural or livestock purposes, but try not to be holding your turkey calls and wearing full camouflage while checking cows.
  • Before transporting your downed bird, make sure to attach the tag to the turkey's leg as described in the regulations.  Failure to tag the bird before you move it can result in receiving a ticket.  Forget your pen? Forget a zip tie? 

As always, if you receive a ticket for unlawful hunting in Kansas, reach out to The Law Office of Nathaniel Gilbert for an absolutely free consultation to discuss your rights and any available options that you may have.  Just paying the fine and pleading guilty may come back to haunt you later down the road.  A Kansas hunting violation can have consequences that may affect next year's hunting seasons or your summer fishing plans.


Hunting Leases For Your Farm/Ranch Ground

Today's farmers and ranchers are in a unique position to capitalize on the current overwhelming popularity of hunting.  More hunters means less available public land for those hunters to enjoy.  It won't be long before those hunters seek out private land to hunt and hold as their own private hunting area.  If you own land or water features in Colorado or Kansas that you do not personally hunt (or even if you do) then you could benefit from leasing your huntable ground to a hunter or group of hunters.  Before you start listing your land, there are a number of concerns that you should consider.  In the following paragraphs, I'll touch on some very basic concerns that a new owner may have regarding the prospect of leasing their land.  Obviously, leasing your Colorado or Kansas farm ground will require additional considerations, but these points will get you headed in the right direction.

1) Who Will Be On Your Property?

This may be the biggest concern of leasing your most valuable asset to someone.  Are you leasing to an individual? Can that individual bring guests that you are not familiar with and how many at a time? Is the person leasing your land an outfitter that will be charging other people to come onto your land?  These are big questions that you and your lease drafter or attorney will need to go over in detail.  Leasing to outfitters or guides or companies that charge per-hunt fees to other groups is a very different situation than leasing to a father and his son or daughter.  Increased traffic, unsafe conditions, and general wear and tear on your land may keep you from leasing to an outfitter company unless concessions are worked into a lease that provide for those types of considerations.

In Colorado, guides and outfitters are regulated by the Department of Regulatory Agencies which maintain records of compliance, discipline, and complaints and also requires minimum insurance for outfitters to provide.  Checking these resources if a Colorado outfitter wishes to lease your ground may save you headaches from dealing with a company with a a history of complaints.  This in turn, also gives you another avenue if the outfitter is found to be in breach of the lease or disrespects your property.  Kansas outfitters are not regulated and can even provide guiding services on public land.  While it may be a little more difficult to do your due diligence on the outfitter wishing to lease your property, it will be more than worth it should an issue arise.

Additionally, a hunter who pays a goodly sum to lease your land may not appreciate anyone else being given access to the land.  Leasing your land may mean saying "no" when your nephew or granddaughter or neighbor asks to put a deer stand or duck blind on your property for the year.  Even if the two parties are not hunting the same type of game, if their chances to harvest animals on the property is affected, you may be in breach of the lease and have to refund the hunter's payments.

2) What Will The Hunters Be Hunting?

This is hug for both the hunter and the landowner.  Not only will this affect the time of year that your property will be accessed, but also the kinds of structures that are allowed on the property and the type of equipment used to harvest the intended game.  A farmer with a smaller, 50-60 acre plot next to his house may want to allow a deer hunting lease, but prohibit any rifle or shotgun use on the property due to the proximity to house/people/livestock.  This kind of restriction is not only perfectly acceptable, but very practical and popular.

Many seasons, such as waterfowl, have early seasons as well as late seasons.  These early seasons, usually in September (Kansas Teal season) and October (Missouri early dark goose season), may occur during the harvest or calving times on your property.  It would serve the farmer or rancher well to advise the hunters of your estimated time frames for the real work on your property before they sign the lease and even provide that kind of clause as a condition of leasing.

3) How Much Should I Charge?

Now we're getting to the real meat and potatoes.  Why would you go through all this trouble unless you were certain you could make a profit or at least enough to make the hassle worth it.  Unfortunately there is no easy answer.  It essentially comes down to asking yourself what it's worth to you as the landowner.  The price will be different depending on the amount of usage as well.  An outfitter bringing clients in to the property daily will obviously pay more for a property than a group of three-four friends looking for a new spot to deer hunt a few days a year.  I personally have seen small ponds leased for hunting at around $500/year and ranches of several thousand acres fetching upwards of $30-40,000.00/year just for hunting rights in Colorado.  

If you think you want to lease your property, The Law Office of Nathaniel Gilbert will meet with you to discuss this new venture at your Colorado or Kansas property personally and go through the questions you may have.  The lease can be a rewarding opportunity for the landowner, but must be carefully considered and well thought out before allowing any hunters onto the property.  Nate Gilbert offers 100% free consultations on hunting lease drafting; Call Nate now to learn more about extracting the hidden value of wildlife on your property!

Colorado Fishing Tickets: How a $50 summer mistake could put your elk hunting season in jeopardy

Colorado Fishing Tickets: How a $50 summer mistake could put your elk hunting season in jeopardy

Colorado Fishing Violations may seem small and fishermen and anglers may be tempted to plead guilty and pay the fines.  However, the violations could have serious impacts on your ability to hunt in the fall depending on the number of points you will receive on your hunting license.  Hunting and Fishing Violation Attorney Nathaniel Gilbert can help you evaluate your case and find your best route back in the field.