kansas lawyer

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.

 

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.

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.  

Kansas Migratory Bird Calendar Now Available For Download

Click Here for the 2016-2017 Kansas Migratory Bird Season Calendar from The Law Office of Nathaniel Gilbert.

All seasons for all units and zones for: Dove, Rail, Snipe, Woodcock, Ducks, Geese, and Cranes incl

Expanding Kansas Agriculture to Respond to Booming Brewery Business

The microbrewery industry in Kansas is growing faster than ever with demand higher than supply across the state.  The Kansas legislature is attempting to respond with bills aimed at bolstering the microbrew and cider production business, but growing production will increasingly burden the already short supply of ingredients such as hops, barley, and fruits.  Kansas farmers are in a unique position to capitalize on an industry that is not only booming in Kansas but across the nation.

Before Kansas farmers jump into hop farming, some considerations regarding the unique hop farm industry should be addressed.  Hops are a fickle plant that often do not produce a significant crop until their third year.  Forward hop contracting is a system that helps to protect the farmer making such a long-term investment.  Forward hop contracts for Kansas farmers ensure that a brewing operation will purchase a set tonnage of hops produced by the farmer in the next 1-2 years.  Having contracts such as this in place helps to protect the up-front investment made by farmers as well as helps the breweries plan ahead knowing a reliable hop producer is in their corner.  These contracts need to be planned through completely with both parties; simply signing the contract produced by the other party may not protect your operation and investment adequately and reviewing the agreement with your attorney is highly advised.

Kansas has never been widely known for its fruit harvest, but changing cider production laws may boost the niche Kansas fruit farming market.  Cider is produced from the fermentation of fruit and a new Kansas law currently going through the legislature states that cider produced in Kansas must contain at least 30% local Kansas fruit.  Like hops, most fruit crops are long-term investments such as orchard trees or grape vines.  Acquiring and expanding an existing orchard or vineyard may be a better choice than starting from scratch.  When your existing farm operation merges or acquires existing fruit production farms, the merger or acquisition needs to be structured carefully to protect the individual interests at play.  Taking on debts or liabilities of an existing company is a large undertaking that can leave your business exposed to lawsuits or unplanned monetary obligations.

The brewery and cider industry in Kansas is a great opportunity for Kansas farmers to respond to the needs of a new industry and support the Kansas economy.  Keeping production local is a benefit to the farmer, brewer, and consumer as well as the state as a whole.  If you have questions or concerns about expanding your agriculture operation to support the Kansas microbrewery and cider production industry, call The Law Office of Nathaniel Gilbert for an absolutely free consultation to help address your concerns and see if the move is right for you.  A qualified attorney in your corner can make all the difference in a successful venture.

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.

Kansas Brewery Legislation Aids in Distribution, Cider Making

Senate Bills 326 and 277 passed the Kansas Senate unanimously last month and have now moved on to the House.  Both bills contain legislation affecting the production limits and manufacturing protocols for microbreweries in Kansas.  Bordered by Colorado and Missouri (the original home of Anheuser-Busch) Kansas is often seen as playing catch-up to its neighbors and the bill recently introduced to the legislature would seek to change that perception drastically.  

Senate Bill 326 deals with the production caps for Kansas breweries.  Currently, Kansas brewers are limited to producing 30,000 barrels a year.  HB2189 would raise that cap to 60,000.  Considering both Colorado and Missouri both have NO production cap, the fact that a cap exists at all severely hampers the ability of Kansas brewers to compete out of state.  The craft beer boom in Colorado has seen 106 breweries added in just two years.  The economic impact of such a market in Kansas would be astronomical.  

Senate Bill 277 would allow for Kansas microbreweries to produce hard cider, up to 100,000 gallons of it per year.  Additionally, the bill would change the definition of "wine" to include hard cider.  An interesting portion of SB277 states that 30% of the fruit used to make the hard cider must be from Kansas.  Allowing microbreweries to expand their production is beneficial to both the consumer and the industry as a whole.

For Kansas breweries this means expanding businesses to compete.  Whether adding a new location, contracting with an out of state distributor, or finding new sources for hops, an attorney can be a valuable asset.  The Law Office of Nathaniel Gilbert works to support breweries, vineyards, and distilleries and help them make their mark on the industry.  All consultations are 100% free and we'd love to hear about your business.  Give us a call to learn more about how we can help your brewery be ready for the changing markets.

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.