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Have you encountered wildlife officers trespassing on your property?

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Game wardens enforce states’ wildlife and hunting laws. In many of those states, the law says those wardens may “enter upon, cross over, be upon, and remain upon privately owned lands.” Wardens rely on this authority to routinely enter, wander around, and install surveillance cameras on rural private land.

They can do this because the U.S. Supreme Court gutted crucial property and privacy protections with the “open fields” doctrine. That doctrine, first invented by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1924, says the Constitution does not protect any land beyond the home and its immediate surrounding area (known as the “curtilage”).

But states can provide greater protections under their constitutions. My organization, the Institute for Justice, is a pro bono non-profit law firm that does not charge its clients for legal services. IJ has brought one case challenging game wardens' use of the open fields doctrine under the Tennessee Constitution, which protects each individual’s “persons, houses, papers and possessions” from “unreasonable searches and seizures.”

We want to bring more such cases, particularly in Ohio. To that end, we are looking for hunters and private property owners who want to exercise their constitutional rights. For more information, check out IJ's lawsuit against the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency or go to Report Abuse at Report an Incident or Situation - Institute for Justice.
 

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Game wardens enforce states’ wildlife and hunting laws. In many of those states, the law says those wardens may “enter upon, cross over, be upon, and remain upon privately owned lands.” Wardens rely on this authority to routinely enter, wander around, and install surveillance cameras on rural private land.

They can do this because the U.S. Supreme Court gutted crucial property and privacy protections with the “open fields” doctrine. That doctrine, first invented by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1924, says the Constitution does not protect any land beyond the home and its immediate surrounding area (known as the “curtilage”).

But states can provide greater protections under their constitutions. My organization, the Institute for Justice, is a pro bono non-profit law firm that does not charge its clients for legal services. IJ has brought one case challenging game wardens' use of the open fields doctrine under the Tennessee Constitution, which protects each individual’s “persons, houses, papers and possessions” from “unreasonable searches and seizures.”

We want to bring more such cases, particularly in Ohio. To that end, we are looking for hunters and private property owners who want to exercise their constitutional rights. For more information, check out IJ's lawsuit against the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency or go to Report Abuse at Report an Incident or Situation - Institute for Justice.
This is correct, when I worked for the PGC we were allowed to enter private property in the performance of our official duties, that part was pretty much an open book then, because just checking for hunters or bait was the performance of our duties, but I know some changes were made, we used to be able to get a search warrant also on a hunch, no more, you need more then probable cause now. You need an informant, but they still get by that with saying an unidentified informant saw this or that. The " curtilage part still goes as far as I know, what that constitutes is if you can see something illegal or suspicious from any normal traveled place outside of the property ( walk, road, a public traveled hill, ECT. we could enter without a search warrant. Like if we could travel and see someone skinning a deer out of season inside a private fence we could enter without a search warrant. It wouldn't be legal for use to climb to look over a fence to see illegal activity, only if it can be seen by legal travel from outside the property.
 
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