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Location: S.E. North Dakota
Joined: 11/12/2004
Posts: 24
Retrieving deer on posted land?

Is there a "rule" that says you cannot at all enter posted land, even though you shot a deer that you seen go into it. Friend of mine says that if the landowner doesn't want you to go in after it, you can't go in at all. Even if you get a game warden, if the landowner says that you CANNOT ENTER, there is no way you can retrieve that deer. Is this true?????????? I always thought that if you shoot a deer, and it runs on posted land, you have a right to go in after it without a firearm. That's how I thought it was.........does anyone know any different????? I'd like to know. Friend swears up and down that the landowner has the last say. please, need some input, thanks

Tator

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Joined: 09/23/2004
Posts: 137
Re: Retrieving deer on posted land?
tator wrote:
Is there a "rule" that says you cannot at all enter posted land, even though you shot a deer that you seen go into it. Friend of mine says that if the landowner doesn't want you to go in after it, you can't go in at all. Even if you get a game warden, if the landowner says that you CANNOT ENTER, there is no way you can retrieve that deer. Is this true?????????? I always thought that if you shoot a deer, and it runs on posted land, you have a right to go in after it without a firearm. That's how I thought it was.........does anyone know any different????? I'd like to know. Friend swears up and down that the landowner has the last say. please, need some input, thanks

Tator

I'd say that it varies from state to state. But, generally speaking I would have to agree with your friend that its the landowners right to keep you off his land regardless. I would quess that there is no law that states that someone can legally tresspass on someone's land simply because they shot a deer on the other side of the fence. Now common courtesy would be to allow you to retrieve the deer but you asked about law and as we all know law and courtest or common sense for that matter rarely see eye to eye.

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Joined: 12/28/2003
Posts: 8
Retrieving deer on posted land?

In the state of Indiana, it is the landowners right to allow you access to his land. If you shoot a deer and it crosses on to another property, that property owner either lets you or stops you. In most cases, I have found landowners to be easy enough to get along with as long as you ask permission first. But I personally know of two seperate instances where a property owner refused a hunter access to retrieve a downed deer. In one case, the landowner caught the hunter in his field (the hunter had entered without first asking permission) retrieving a deer and the landowner called the CO and had them prosecuted for trespassing as well as made them leave their deer. In the second case, the hunters asked permission to go after a deer and the landowner simply told them no. They called the CO who talked to the landowner and the landowner told the CO the same thing .... no.

Trespassing is trespassing ... not matter if you are following a wounded animal or not. Always ask permission first. If you are refused permission ... beg, plead, get on your hands and knees .... but abide by the landowners final word.

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Location: Southeast Washington State
Joined: 09/28/2004
Posts: 117
Retrieving deer on posted land?

This should be fairly common throughout the country as this is a tort (common law) issue. However, I am not certain about other states I haven't researched. Out here in Washington and Oregon, a hunter may not enter land, whether it is posted or not, without the landowner's permission, even to retrieve animals shot somewhere else. The exception is if the land is posted as open to the general public ("Feel Free to Hunt" signs).

To lawfully retrieve the game, you must first contact the landowner and get his permission (in writing would be preferable). If you cannot find or otherwise contact the landowner, or if the landowner refuses you entry onto his property to retrieve the game, then you can contact LE and have them ask the landowner. If they cannot contact the landowner then they can enter the property and retrieve the animal for you. If they do contact the landowner and he refuses entry to retrieve the game, then he must claim it (including tagging it himself) or he faces poaching charges. If you shoot the animal and it enters someone's property, you can't just leave it, or you are guilty of poaching. You have a legal and ethical obligation to harvest the game, except where the law provides the landowner with the right to claim the animal for himself and he chooses to exercise that right.

I teach hunting ethics for Washington State Dept of Fish and Wildlife, and this has come up in my class for discussion a few times. We found case law which supports this position, and from an ethical standpoint alone we had to conclude this was the right procedure. Ultimately, if you are hunting in an area that is surrounded by property you don't have permission to enter, you have an obligation to be prepared for this type of situation. This means having a way to contact adjacent landowners if need be, not taking a shot that would likely result in the animal evading onto adjacent property you don't have permission to enter onto, or otherwise avoiding the situation.

As far as I know, no one has the right to enter onto someone else's property without their permission for any reason, except LE in certain situations, without it being considered actionable trespass. You can't break one law to satisfy another, so if you want to avoid the hassle, don't put yourself in that kind of situation.

Location: WV
Joined: 12/29/2004
Posts: 12
Retrieving deer on posted land?

Well I am pretty sure in Wv if you shoot it you are allowed to track it although you may have to get a game warden before you go.Also you must go in unarmed. I bet if a landowner did keep you off his land it would make a heck of a court case though.

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Location: S.E. North Dakota
Joined: 11/12/2004
Posts: 24
Retrieving deer on posted land?

Well I found out that you CAN NOT go onto landowners property if he does not want you on there. The ONLY way you can get on it is ONLY if you can see the deer laying dead on his land, that is the ONLY way a person can get onto the land if the landowner doesn't want you on his property. We had an issue this year where we shot one, dropped dead we thought, only to have it get up and run into his tree's. Had a good blood trail, so asked if we could get on. He told us "not a chance in hell". SO, we called the game warden and the GW called him up, when he answered, he said that he wasn't there. (he's the only person who lives on the farm). Then the GW came out there, we showed him the blood trail, BUT we couldn't "see" the deer laying dead. So we couldn't go get him because the landowner wouldn't grant us permission. So there's one hell of a nice deer lying dead in his tree's right now. And by the way, this isn't the first run-in with this landowner. 2 years ago we had the same problem. Some people's kids.................

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Joined: 09/23/2004
Posts: 137
Retrieving deer on posted land?
The Man From The South wrote:
Well I am pretty sure in Wv if you shoot it you are allowed to track it although you may have to get a game warden before you go.Also you must go in unarmed. I bet if a landowner did keep you off his land it would make a heck of a court case though.

Actually there is quite a bit of law to support the landowner. What you have to realize is that there is a tremendous amount of liability assumed by a landowner by allowing someone to enter there land. Say that I tell you its ok to track your deer on my land, and you do. But, while you're tracking your deer you step on a old well or something and break you leg or worse get killed. I've just opened myself up to a lawsuit. so, you say I wouldn't sue you. Well, if youre dead you don't have any say so. Anyway, I think its called assumption of risk or something like that, its been a long time since I took that law class in college. Anyway, I know in missouri where I live you have no right to enter someone's property for any reason without permission, unless you are a law enforcement officer.

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Joined: 10/30/2004
Posts: 117
Retrieving deer on posted land?

As a hunter ed teacher in TX the answer is no. Not even the game warden can go if the owner will not allow it. No matter the blood trail or the deer laying in plain sight.

The only recourse I've been told by a local warden is that if he was in a grumpy mood(warden) he could maybe make an issue and ticket the landowner for knowledgeable waste of game. If the landowner utilizes the deer without tagging it, then he is definitely in violation of a game law or two. But leaving it lay the only thing we can think of is waste of game.

Bottom line is the land belongs to the owner and they don't have to allow anything.

Of course, as mentioned contacting the owner before doing anything is a good idea. And the last lease we had I made it a point to talk to all the surrounding landowners before season each year. Drop by and say hi. Check if it would stil lbe ok to retrieve if needed and pre notified etc.... And would always (make sure your owner or you agree first) offer the same in return. It usually works out well. Only case was one time my wife shot a nice 9point with her bow and he managed a bit more than 100 yards before crossing a fence. Initially our landowner contacted the neighbor and he said NO. Later he called back and said ok. So then we got to go get the buck.

Jeff

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Location: Florida,USA
Joined: 08/21/2003
Posts: 1566
Retrieving deer on posted land?

I got this from the North Dakota NDGNF website.
According to the information online it is legal to go onto posted land, unarmed, to retreive a "legally" killed animal.
I knew that the author of this thread, tator, is from ND(I was so informed on another thread), so I only included ND. Other states would certainly have different laws as it is not legal to go onto posted land to retreive a downed animal unless the landowner gives permission here in florida. Of course if permission were not granted then a G&F officer could be called and seek permission and if denied, take appropriate steps to see if the landowner has all the necessary permits and license to have an animal that was shot, lying dead on his property.

2004 Deer Hunting Guide

11. Posting and Trespass
.................
Any person may enter upon legally posted land (without a weapon) to recover game shot or killed on land where he/she had a lawful right to hunt.

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