hunting lawyer

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 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.

 

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.  

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.

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?

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 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.

"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.  

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.   

 

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.

2016 Colorado Big Game Calendar Download From The Law Office of Nathaniel Gilbert

Hunters across the nation rejoiced to see the 2016 Colorado Big Game Calendar Brochure released this month by the Colorado Department of Wildlife and Parks.  For those that may be planning their pilgrimages to the Rocky Mountains in search of Elk, Deer, or Moose, the Law Office of Nathaniel Gilbert just made the process a great deal easier.

By visiting the firm web site, you'll find the season dates for Elk, Moose, Deer, Pronghorn, and Black Bear in Colorado in a convenient, easy to download file (.ics) compatible with GMail, iPhones and iPads, Outlook, and several calendar softwares and apps.  Never again will you commit to that October baby shower or out of town work conference without knowing it's the same day as the Elk opener.  You'll know with one glance.

Clicking the link on our Sportsman's Calendar page will automatically add the dates to your default calendar, starting with the Big Game License Application Deadline of April 5, 2016 and running to the end of 2016.  Each event and season start and close date comes pre-loaded with one alert two days before each date so you never miss a beat.

As an avid outdoorsman, I am proud to offer this free service for other dedicated hunters.  Check back with the firm or follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn for our next calendar--Kansas Big Game, Colorado Waterfowl, Kansas Waterfowl, and MORE!