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Thread: Dipnetting and dealing with Law Enforcement

  1. #1

    Default Dipnetting and dealing with Law Enforcement

    This one ought to stir the pot a bit.

    Let's say you've just finished dipnetting, properly recorded your catch on your permit, and all the tails are properly clipped. Fish are all stored away in closed coolers. You head upriver, and as you pull into the dock, several miles upriver from the fishing area, a trooper asks to see your license, dipnet permit, and today's catch.

    Do you comply? Do you really have to? Doesn't probable cause apply for you to really have to respond to his inquiry? And how would he have probable cause to believe you have done anything wrong?

    To really make the discussion interesting, let's assume the same set of facts, except for the fact that you DIDN'T RECORD THE CATCH, and you DIDN'T CLIP THE TAILS? Again, do you comply? Do you really have to? Doesn't the officer have to have probable cause to initiate a search?

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    Member aces-n-eights's Avatar
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    Interesting question. Along the same line, I've wondered about Troopers stopping and inspecting vehicles with dip nets (simply because they have dip nets) on the Sterling/Seward Highway headed toward Anchorage. Do they have probable cause to make the stop? Is there a presumption of innocence or a presumption of guilt?
    English is an odd language. It can understood through tough thorough thought, though.

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    Quote Originally Posted by aces-n-eights View Post
    Interesting question. Along the same line, I've wondered about Troopers stopping and inspecting vehicles with dip nets (simply because they have dip nets) on the Sterling/Seward Highway headed toward Anchorage. Do they have probable cause to make the stop? Is there a presumption of innocence or a presumption of guilt?
    This is really a trooper question: yet it is my understanding that if purchase a hunting and fishing lisence( or engage in hunting or fishing) that you just gave them the right to search you, your car, your house, etc.

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    Wish we had that much pressure on drug dealers!!

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    This has come up before...yes, you have to show him what you have.

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    Quote Originally Posted by oakman View Post
    This has come up before...yes, you have to show him what you have.
    What do you base this statement on?

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by BigDipper View Post
    What do you base this statement on?
    I think this thread pretty well answers the question: http://forums.outdoorsdirectory.com/...g-and-troopers

  8. #8

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    Thanks, AnchSkier, that's a pretty solid thread which does answer part of my question. Looks like it's quite clear that producing a license and a permit are required upon request.

    But, what about the fish themselves? Let's present 2 different scenarios here.

    1. In the instance where I've recorded my catch, officer can see I've recorded catch. He has no probable cause to believe what I've recorded is incorrect. Why should he be allowed to open the coolers and count the fish/inspect the tails?

    2. Let's say I haven't recorded a catch, but again, coolers are closed, boat is all cleaned up, really not indicating that there were any fish caught on the boat today. I give him my license and permit, showing no catch, and I tell the officer I've caught nothing that day. There's not probably cause to indicate I'm lying to him. What requires me to open the coolers?

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    Member Tearbear's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BigDipper View Post
    Why should he be allowed to open the coolers and count the fish/inspect the tails?

    It's part of his job? He's making sure you clipped & counted correctly? He's making sure you don't have a King in there by accident?

    What requires me to open the coolers?

    An ice cold beer?
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    read up on Alaska state laws and stop "stirring the pot"!

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    Maybe I am just dumb, or old fashioned, but I have no problem with complying with an officer's request and actually welcome their efforts to make sure we are all doing the right thing, I have nothing to hide and having been in some sort of enforcement in an earlier life, I try to be very pleasant and friendly to officers that are just doing their jobs. If I screw up, shame on me, it is probably not intentional on my part, and just like going over the speed limit, it is either a conscious choice, or I am not doing MY job of paying attention and in the case of highway situations possibly endangering someone else, maybe you. Granted, most likely with F&G situations, that is not the case, but I am possibly endangering to some extent the resource and possibly cheating others out of a future enjoying the benefits of the resource. The mild annoyance of time spent getting checked is a very small price to pay for the good health of this resource. Now I am sure some of you have just gone ballistic with that last sentence, and I agree, more needs to be done both commercially as well as for personal and sport use, but I am willing to pay that price and would even want to see more enforcement to try to ensure the health of the resource. Again, I heartily agree, it is a pain in the tail (clipped or not), but just imagine if there were no enforcement.

    As to the attitude of some of the enforcers, if they are grumpy or abrupt, there is probably a reason for it that you may have nothing to do with, you are just the next in line, but having been on both sides, I try to meet grumpiness with my own good attitude and understanding and it is amazing how you can turn a situation around. Been there, done that. Pretty hard to stay grumpy when someone is open, pleasant, helpful and understanding, just a matter of common courtesy and taking control of a situation yourself sometimes. Maybe not easy, maybe not always successful, but it sure beats a confrontation and making it harder on both the enforces and the next poor schlub he, or she checks.

    I can think of situations where an enforcer has gone overboard, I am sure we have all heard of them, but by enlarge, most are just trying to do their jobs. In the rare case that you have done all you can to defuse a situation and it hasn't worked, make sure you yourself don't go overboard and report it ASAP to their superior. One very odd encounter happened to a friend of mine years ago was when an officer jumped out of the bushes loudly yelling, " I'm from Fish and Game and you're busted !", then wrote them a ticket for a judgment call. Yep, that was a juvenile and silly thing for them to do, and the ticket under the circumstances was CS, but sometimes life isn't fair. The attitude of my friend probably didn't help either, but life goes on.

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    Just show him your law abiding stuff and shut up, let him use his verbal judo powers and adrenaline with an actual criminal, not just some guy with an attitude worse than he seems to think the troopers have.

    But, you wanna have some real fun, there's the three times a year I get checked while trolling by the coast guard in Juneau by some guys who don't even shave yet and they start rollin through your stuff unless you are smart enough to lay it out as they approach, THAT will teach a guy to hush up and be kind and just comply, that way they go away faster. My only issue is that they only check Gastineau channel it seems, never see them elsewhere.

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    Quote Originally Posted by BigDipper View Post
    Thanks, AnchSkier, that's a pretty solid thread which does answer part of my question. Looks like it's quite clear that producing a license and a permit are required upon request.

    But, what about the fish themselves? Let's present 2 different scenarios here.

    1. In the instance where I've recorded my catch, officer can see I've recorded catch. He has no probable cause to believe what I've recorded is incorrect. Why should he be allowed to open the coolers and count the fish/inspect the tails?

    2. Let's say I haven't recorded a catch, but again, coolers are closed, boat is all cleaned up, really not indicating that there were any fish caught on the boat today. I give him my license and permit, showing no catch, and I tell the officer I've caught nothing that day. There's not probably cause to indicate I'm lying to him. What requires me to open the coolers?
    Let's say it's just a guy and his kid in the boat, and they have three 100 quart coolers (closed) in the boat full of fillets (obviously waaaay over their limit). The boat is clean, and their permit says they didn't catch a fish. Should they get a free pass?

  14. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by agp View Post
    read up on Alaska state laws and stop "stirring the pot"!
    I've read, and I don't see anything that requires me to show him my catch unless I'm being accused of a crime. In order for him to accuse me of a crime, and execute a search, he has to have probable cause. Simply parking a boat on the dock is not probable cause.

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    Quote Originally Posted by BigDipper View Post
    I've read, and I don't see anything that requires me to show him my catch unless I'm being accused of a crime. In order for him to accuse me of a crime, and execute a search, he has to have probable cause. Simply parking a boat on the dock is not probable cause.
    Let's just say if he asks "May I see your catch?" he's just being nice. You've no ground to stand on with this and I hope the troopers don't run into too many folks like you. Then again, you may just be a tough guy on the keyboard and when the man in uniform stands before you it's all "yessuh......nossuh......sure nuff suh....I will suh, thank you suh".

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    Member Frostbitten's Avatar
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    We can debate out perception of LEO's authority all day. If you don't think LEO has the authority to look at your catch, try and leave before he says you can go and see how that works out.

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    Yeah, I think LEO has the authority to look at anything on or in your boat, regardless if you are fishing or not. Why be so stubborn about it? Just show him your stuff and let him be on his way. If you sit there and give him a hard time, you can bet he'll be checkin' you out thoroughly. If you don't have anything to hide, what does it matter if it's not hidden?

    I kinda feel sorry for the LEO that have to deal with dipnetters like yourself...
    "Grin and Bear It"

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    Once upon a time, there was a king who employed "LEO's" who could move about the land and search and seize at will, with no cause most of the time. Prisoners were taken and some condemned and some executed over bogus information. These LEO's had families and it was just a job for them too. However, power begets more power and before you know it these regular people (LEO) began flexing there power at will. So our forefathers created laws that protected people and there property. Well, that was a long time ago and since our society is saturated with criminals, all the law abiding citizens must give in to the abusive powers of LEOs and smile and conform. Why, because we have nothing to hide, sometimes I need protection from myself and we want criminals off the street. After all, LEOs have families too and are people just like you.

    Some of you would say well you sure would want them in the middle of your life if there was an emergency, and to that I would say that is exactly what they are there for. Not to be actively intruding in lives under the cloak of preventing a crime before it happens. Lots of ways to justify putting a foot on society's neck and make them feel like it is necessary.

    Our forefathers were thought of as stirring the pot too, but you would have the laws and freedom ( less now than before) if they didn't stir the pot. Society needs people questioning authority, not excusing all it's actions.


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    Member alaskabliss's Avatar
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    Having a dip net on your boat kinda gives you away as to your purpose to being on the river. With that said, LEO will ask you an open ended question and your response alone usually will give him probable cause, now add the big coolers and the dip net. It is obvious what your doing so yes he has probable cause before you even answer the question. Look up the definition of probable cause. The question will be similar but maybe not exactly: How was the fishing? Any luck? How are you today sir?, my name is trooper **** with wildlife enforcment, were you down fishing today? Lets step back and realize you have a dip net and the large coolers in your boat. Hmmmm yup, probable cause. You may then argue that he has no right to ask you such questions, even though there is probable cause... Nothing against the law about asking a question. People ask me all the time how the fishing was at the launch. Sometimes I don't even have a pole or net visable to give them a hint if I was fishing at all. I answer honestly and even give tips on where to go and what to use... Kinda like acting like a good sportsman... Noble thought huh?

    To answer your question as to if you show him the fish or not... If you know whats best, you will. If he wants to see what you have, and to be sure you were legal, he will first ask for permission, and if your smart, and know your fish are illegal, you will give it. This cooperation may help him be more leniant. If you refuse, knowing darn well he has probable cause, he will then assume you have illegal fish, apply for a search warrent if needed and look in the darn cooler. The ticket at that point may be the max he can give you.

    Lets break this down one more step. Why in the heck do you have illegal fish and / or why would you have a problem showing him the cooler? I would gladly show mine if for any reason to brag at my catch.
    Ignorance is not Bliss, it's insanity

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    Member alaskabliss's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hoyt-Hunter View Post
    Once upon a time, there was a king who employed "LEO's" who could move about the land and search and seize at will, with no cause most of the time. Prisoners were taken and some condemned and some executed over bogus information. These LEO's had families and it was just a job for them too. However, power begets more power and before you know it these regular people (LEO) began flexing there power at will. So our forefathers created laws that protected people and there property. Well, that was a long time ago and since our society is saturated with criminals, all the law abiding citizens must give in to the abusive powers of LEOs and smile and conform. Why, because we have nothing to hide, sometimes I need protection from myself and we want criminals off the street. After all, LEOs have families too and are people just like you.

    Some of you would say well you sure would want them in the middle of your life if there was an emergency, and to that I would say that is exactly what they are there for. Not to be actively intruding in lives under the cloak of preventing a crime before it happens. Lots of ways to justify putting a foot on society's neck and make them feel like it is necessary.

    Our forefathers were thought of as stirring the pot too, but you would have the laws and freedom ( less now than before) if they didn't stir the pot. Society needs people questioning authority, not excusing all it's actions.


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    This made absolutly no sense as to the question from the Op. It just seems you took it as an oppertunity to bash LEO.
    Ignorance is not Bliss, it's insanity

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