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Thread: What is trespassing in Ak?

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    Member smarion's Avatar
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    Default What is trespassing in Ak?

    This is an interesting story/situation for numerous reasons. Like the ethics or safety of trapping close to homes or on private property or the ethics of the fact that it is a trooper. These points are being debated over on the Trapping Forum so I don't want to belabor them too much. For what its worth, the few troopers that I have some personal knowledge of go to great lengths to stay way on the high side of the legal when hunting. This almost gets to the point of handicapping them when moose hunting as if it doesn't have the required number of browtines, they won't shoot til it is darned near 60".

    The part of this story that I found surprising was the definition of trespassing. As you all know, it takes awhile to begin to get comfortable with all the regulations. I moved here 15 years ago from Idaho and I remember one of the things I "learned" early was how the trespassing laws were different. What I thought I had learned was that it is totally incumbant upon the hunter to know if they are hunting on private land and get permission. When I left Idaho, if private property wasn't marked as such, you could legally go hunt there. At the time I remember thinking how crazy this was given the expanse of the state and the size of some of the swaths of private land and the lack of fences. Now this article indicates that it really is more like the lower 48 where the owner really does need to mark their land in some legally defined way.

    I don't know that I really have a question per se but I just find it interesting that there is such a strong culture here of staying away from the private land posted or not. I remember reading posts on this forum stating as if it were the law that marked or not, it was the hunters sole responsibility avoid hunting on private land even if unmarked.

    I posted here instead the Trapping forum for the larger number of people who will see it and perhaps comment.
    Thanks,
    Scott


    http://www.adn.com/2013/11/29/320412...e-trooper.html

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    Supporting Member iofthetaiga's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by iofthetaiga View Post
    Ellis and Cyr knew who the owners and tenants of the land are, and they knew it was posted on the front side by the road. So, they accessed the land from the High School side at the back where it wasn't posted, because they knew technically that wasn't illegal and they could get away with it as long as they didn't get caught...

    The Alaska Trappers Association Code of Ethics, Number Four: get landowner permission before trapping on private land...

    "Ellis, former President of the Alaska Frontier Trappers Association" when asked about the Code of Ethics, states that code was structured for the Lower 48 and isn't necessarily applicable here. "A lot of what would apply in the Lower 48 doesn't apply up here," he said. "If (Jordan) had made it known she didn't want me on there, then certainly I would have honored that. But otherwise it's fair game."

    This guy's sense of ethical behavior pretty well speaks for itself. Good thing he doesn't represent the trapping community as a whole, eh?
    I don't think it matters whether trapping or hunting; the ethical obligation is to avoid trespassing on private land to the best of our ability. Not only did the two guys in this example not avoid trespassing, they did so willingly and with the knowledge that due to the exact language of Alaska statute, they could get away with it. They knowingly violated the intent of the law, while barely staying (and that's arguable) within the letter of the law. I don't see how there's any excuse for that.
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    Supporting Member Amigo Will's Avatar
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    Its a sticky wicket for sure but like the law said not illegal. A great example is Texas where game belongs to the state and all have a right to harvest it but most all land is private and you can't go on private land without written OK from land owner. Here the the game is also owned by us but very little private land. I can find a five acre piece of private land in thousands of acres of federal land here but unless you know of the place you could well be on it as its not posted and there are many of them here. The little man by law needs to post his land per state law but the big owners don't like mental health,fed parks and native corps all of which have more money than us so they win in court it seems even if the law says you were in your rights. Even on our little island we have state/fed land blocked off by private land and I have no trouble taking a so so right of way to get where I'm going without walking and extra twenty miles to do so.JMOFO
    Now left only to be a turd in the forrest and the circle will be complete.Use me as I have used you

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    I have friends that own 120 or so acres along cottonwood creek in the flats & have had a couple of their dogs killed in snares on their own land set by some careless and shameless trapper. Confronted he claims it isn't posted & has the right to be there. Maybe he does, but his attitude is disgraceful, disrepectful, and dispicable. I would think a guy would have a little common sense/ courtesy and not be a ********* to trap or set snares below someones house on their land. Plus when he does catch a neighborhood dog he tries to cover it up by putting them in a pond. Plainly said dispicable.

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    Premium Member kasilofchrisn's Avatar
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    To me it matters not what the law is. My ethics say if I am on private land and I did not pay for it and I don't have the owners permission then I am trespassing end of story.
    I don't care what you are doing either. Hunting,fishing, trapping, birdwatching,crossing to public land or whatever it is. If you don't own it or have permission to be there then you are a trespasser.
    What is so hard to understand about that?
    A sign that says no trespassing certainly means just that. But people so often ignore them or rip them down and trespass anyways. That in my opinion is pathetic. Especially considering how much land in AK is public. And with technology we have nowdays there is no excuse signs or not.
    For those who think there needs to be a sign or they will go anyways how would you feel if a trespasser put a rifle bullet through your house or snared your family pet on your property?
    When I was a kid we had trespassers who were told "No stay out" put a deer round through a neighbors house. In a window and into a wall on the other side. All this while shooting at some deer and not paying attention to what was behind the deer(likely they were drunk).
    They got lucky and no one was killed.
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    Member summitx's Avatar
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    That was a good article about trespassing and posting land, got a question I know a big chunk of land is native owned on the Denali hwy on Cantwell side, so if its not posted or sign fell down you can hunt there since the land owners are supposed to post it? I always thought it was the hunters to know if it is private or public land. I myself think the trooper was walking a fine line and he knew it

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    Member 4merguide's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by summitx View Post
    I myself think the trooper was walking a fine line and he knew it
    No fine line there.....the trooper was wrong and he totally knew what he was doing. That's pretty much like saying that the people that posted the sign said it was not ok to come in the front door but it was ok to come in the back....... ya right.
    Sheep hunting...... the pain goes away, but the stupidity remains...!!!

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    I ANY state, doesn't matter if its Idaho, Alaska or Mane, It is ALWAYS the hunters responsibility to know if lands he plans to hunt are PRIVATELY OWNED or owned by a State government or Fed entity.

    I used to hunt my hounds in Idaho for bear & lion & I sure as heck didn't just turn em loose without knowing exactly where I was or potentially my dogs might end up.

    That's a good way to be looking down the barrel of a gun.

    PLUS, IF you Trespass on Private lands With A Loaded FIREARM you can be arrested for CRIMINAL or FELONY TRESSPASS, if the land owner wants to persue it.

    Being a land owner in Oregon I have gone through this SEVERAL times with people killing deer ( IN SEASON & OUT OF SEASON ) on my property.

    Your property can be marked by Signs, Ditches, Fences or just the edge of the HIGHWAY.


    Federal & State cops have told me that it does not have to be marked NO TRESPASSING to revoke someone from hunting or crossing my land but if I want to have them persued to the full extent of the law, Signs would be necessary .

    We have guys shooting at or horses at 2am just because the eyes are lighted up by their headlights, we have had atleast 3 NICE buck deer shot & left to rot in the middle of the night.


    One Federal Game warden told me that since I am a taxidermist , I could mount a Lifesize deer & video the shooter & as soon as he stepped on my land to retrieve his dishonest prize I call the cops & have him arrested on the spot. Then if I persued FELANY TRESPASS against him, that he would be fined more than if the cops set some sting operation up & got him.


    It was explained to me that he could be JAILED for Felony Trespass & for FELONY distruction of Private Property for shooting a hole in my Deer that I mounted.

    I believe it also says in the AK regulations about the same thing, It the HUNTERS responcibility to know where he plans to hunt or who own the lands he plans to cross.

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    Member cdubbin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by summitx View Post
    That was a good article about trespassing and posting land, got a question I know a big chunk of land is native owned on the Denali hwy on Cantwell side, so if its not posted or sign fell down you can hunt there since the land owners are supposed to post it? I always thought it was the hunters to know if it is private or public land. I myself think the trooper was walking a fine line and he knew it
    I've hunted/ travelled across native land quite a bit on the Kenai Peninsula....I won't cross a sign but much of it is unposted. Look at land maps for the KP and see how strategically placed some of the native parcels are to block access to state/ federal/ borough lands....BS in my opinion
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    Quote Originally Posted by protaxidermy View Post
    I ANY state, doesn't matter if its Idaho, Alaska or Mane, It is ALWAYS the hunters responsibility to know if lands he plans to hunt are PRIVATELY OWNED or owned by a State government or Fed entity.
    It very well may be the hunter's/trapper's responsibility to know if land is private or not, but as far as what the state says and getting busted for trespass or not, you may want to read this again....http://www.adn.com/2013/11/29/320412...#storylink=cpy State said no law was broken....
    Sheep hunting...... the pain goes away, but the stupidity remains...!!!

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    The part about trespass law I loath is that three or five or nine men can cross my private property legally even if it is posted correctly. How am I expected to react if I look out the cabin window and see five adult males in camo with AR-15's walking up my logging road straight toward the cabin.

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    Quote Originally Posted by cdubbin View Post
    I've hunted/ travelled across native land quite a bit on the Kenai Peninsula....I won't cross a sign but much of it is unposted. Look at land maps for the KP and see how strategically placed some of the native parcels are to block access to state/ federal/ borough lands....BS in my opinion
    Totally agree there. Dang near all of it is unposted. Seems to be a double standard there. All kinds of trails and seismic cuts going in and out, and I've yet to see a sign where I go. I'd have to wonder how it would hold up in court if I was sued for trespassing. But I have a funny feeling I would loose.....
    Sheep hunting...... the pain goes away, but the stupidity remains...!!!

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    Supporting Member iofthetaiga's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by alaska2go View Post
    I have friends that own 120 or so acres along cottonwood creek in the flats & have had a couple of their dogs killed in snares on their own land set by some careless and shameless trapper. Confronted he claims it isn't posted & has the right to be there....
    alaska2go, the example you cited is the exact thing that makes my blood boil. Who are these arrogant, immoral a-holes who's mothers never taught them the difference between right and wrong? The intent of the Alaska statute regarding trespass, is to protect from prosecution, an otherwise innocent person who inadvertently and unintentionally wanders onto private property, and the letter of the statute is pretty well written so as to support it's intent. The statute provides that if you inadvertently wander onto private property, without permission, and that property wasn't signed or fenced at the property's access point(s) (the entire perimeter doesn't need to be signed like in some other states) such that you had some indication you were crossing onto private property, you can't be prosecuted for your honest mistake. That's all well and good and I can't imagine anyone having an issue with such a law. But how do these arrogant, pointy headed dip-sticks twist that around in their mushy little brains to mean that they have the right to be on your private property and do whatever they wish because they didn't see any sign?
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    Premium Member kasilofchrisn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 4merguide View Post
    Totally agree there. Dang near all of it is unposted. Seems to be a double standard there. All kinds of trails and seismic cuts going in and out, and I've yet to see a sign where I go. I'd have to wonder how it would hold up in court if I was sued for trespassing. But I have a funny feeling I would loose.....
    I know some of it is posted. Just drive down to spirit lake. Signs the whole way and around the lake.
    One thing to remember right or wrong and wether or not you will get away with it is that they have more money than you do.
    It just isn't worth it to me to risk getting caught. If they decide to sue I then have to hire a lawyer or just pay them and that just isn't worth it to me. Either way will cost me a minimum of several hundred dollars if not one or two grand just to start with.
    A few years ago I set up a bear bait station with a friend on the Refuge. We had no problem getting a permit from Salamantof to cross their land to access our assigned bear bait station zone.
    Now that I am married my wife and Stepson are Salamantoff members so it makes things a bit easier as long as they are with me.
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    Premium Member kasilofchrisn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by iofthetaiga View Post
    The intent of the Alaska statute regarding trespass, is to protect from prosecution, an otherwise innocent person who inadvertently and unintentionally wanders onto private property, and the letter of the statute is pretty well written so as to support it's intent. The statute provides that if you inadvertently wander onto private property, without permission, and that property wasn't signed or fenced at the property's access point(s) (the entire perimeter doesn't need to be signed like in some other states) such that you had some indication you were crossing onto private property, you can't be prosecuted for your honest mistake. That's all well and good and I can't imagine anyone having an issue with such a law. But how do these arrogant, pointy headed dip-sticks twist that around in their mushy little brains to mean that they have the right to be on your private property and do whatever they wish because they didn't see any sign?

    So true so very true.
    There is a huge difference between an innocent hiker stumbling onto your property by mistake and a Trapper or hunter knowingly and on purpose accessing your land to hunt,trap,fish etc.
    Especially those as posted in the ADN article who knew it was private but used the lack of signs as a scapegoat.
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    Member martentrapper's Avatar
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    Posting does not have to be with signs around the property. it can also be done by taking out an ad in newspapers, etc. showing boundaries and notifying the public of who is and is not allowed on that land.
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    I see this as pretty gutsy move by anyone, especially when they know the land is private. there are too many people up here that own private land for a reason, so people don't end up walking around their area. those two could have very well been shot at, especially if they were carrying guns. if they were, the landowners could claim stand your ground and smoke both of them. how would the troopers react to that???? I'm sure they wouldn't agree with the laws as written then. On another note, I am originally from Missouri and they require posting around the perimeter of any private land. They endorse the use of Purple paint marks on trees a certain distance apart, and that constitutes a border that everyone has to abide by. something like that would be a lot easier and more universal as a border than 1 square foot signs with my name and address posted all over my pristine Alaskan property.

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    Interesting thread. I own circa 100 acres of land up the Matanuska that becomes 4-wheeler heaven every year that there are cow permits issued. The law is pretty clear, but (with the exception of the individuals in the ADN story and the trapper at Cottonwood creek), I'm not worried about people that take time to read the law...by far the more common "violators" are those that will tear down the no-trespassing signs and that will decide that the 3' x 3' "Aircraft Runway" sign is a great target.

    As others have posted, the lack of hunting/trapping/outdoor morals on the part of many outdoorspeople is at best disappointing and at worst simply disgusting.

    BTW, based on putting new signs up at least once a year, investing in the "Private Property No Trespassing" sign company might be a good investment.

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    Premium Member kasilofchrisn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pa12drvr View Post
    Interesting thread. I own circa 100 acres of land up the Matanuska that becomes 4-wheeler heaven every year that there are cow permits issued. The law is pretty clear, but (with the exception of the individuals in the ADN story and the trapper at Cottonwood creek), I'm not worried about people that take time to read the law...by far the more common "violators" are those that will tear down the no-trespassing signs and that will decide that the 3' x 3' "Aircraft Runway" sign is a great target.

    As others have posted, the lack of hunting/trapping/outdoor morals on the part of many outdoorspeople is at best disappointing and at worst simply disgusting.

    BTW, based on putting new signs up at least once a year, investing in the "Private Property No Trespassing" sign company might be a good investment.
    Yeah I have seen it to where the signs you put up last month are now gone.
    Your no trespassing signs just "magically" dissappear and they just waltz right in like they never saw the sign they just ripped off.
    Like I said earlier they will sometimes even cut the trees down the sign was on.
    Maybe a person needs to make up a sign that reads: "This property is booby trapped with traps that kill" "Proceed at your own risk"
    Then hang one of those plastic halloween skeletons on a pole behind the sign.
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    I wonder if Jim west lawyer will use this in his defense for trespassing.
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