Corner Hopping

Slugz

Veteran member
Oct 12, 2014
3,455
1,723
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Woodland Park, Colorado
In the end......if it is visually marked ( which it is sometimes) , backed up with Google Earth, Onyx maps...
..and the intent.....is not to trespass but to move from one public land to another.....with no damage to anything......nothing will come of it. I agree I listed a bunch of caveats but they all come into play.
 

jjenness

Very Active Member
Sep 30, 2011
665
59
Lewistown, MT
Montana actually address' trespassing while hunting in the criminal code.

Montana Code Annotated 2017
TITLE 45. CRIMES
CHAPTER 6. OFFENSES AGAINST PROPERTY
Part 2. Criminal Trespass and Burglary
Criminal Trespass To Property
45-6-203. Criminal trespass to property. (1) Except as provided in 15-7-139, 70-16-111, and 76-13-116, a person commits the offense of criminal trespass to property if the person knowingly:

(a) enters or remains unlawfully in an occupied structure; or

(b) enters or remains unlawfully in or upon the premises of another.

(2) A person convicted of the offense of criminal trespass to property shall be fined not to exceed $500 or be imprisoned in the county jail for any term not to exceed 6 months, or both.

(3) A person convicted of or who forfeits bond or bail for committing an act of criminal trespass involving property owned or administered by the department of fish, wildlife, and parks or while hunting, fishing, or trapping may be subject to revocation of the person's privilege to hunt, fish, or trap in this state for up to 24 months from the date of conviction or forfeiture.
 

jtm307

Active Member
Jan 12, 2016
165
6
Wyoming
(a) enters or remains unlawfully in an occupied structure; or

(b) enters or remains unlawfully in or upon the premises of another.
[/I]
The language in WY is similar. Crossing at the corner, a hunter would be neither entering nor remaining in or upon private property. If I were a county attorney in either WY or MT, any argument against corner crossing is far too tenuous to be worth my time and effort to obtain a conviction.
 

WY ME

Very Active Member
Feb 4, 2014
542
38
Wyoming
I don't know why people say the Game wardens can give you a ticket for corner crossing? You are breaking NO game violations doing it. It would be a civil violation! The Game warden i talked to said it is up to the County Sherriffs department if its trespassing or not. Some counties prosecute and some don't. Thats here in Wyoming. I also think some game wardens "create" their own laws sometimes. There is nothing funner than having a question or scenario and asking a game warden and he has no answer.
I've did it a few times, matter of fact i've even been to the Regional office and talked to the director about my questions and me and him dug out the ACTUAL game law book to look it up. And HOLY COW, that book is HUGE! But they were all nice and i got my answers, but i have a few more that me and a buddy have come up with to ask next time im up there. I love picking their brain!
If you want to see a game warden's mouth stop working just put a recorder in front of him and ask him a question. Had this experience back in the '80's when 7 state and federal wardens raided our fur buying business. We never broke any laws but were treated like criminals.
 

rammont

Active Member
Oct 31, 2016
226
0
Montana
There is legal precedence in regards to the legality of corner crossing:

United States Supreme Court
LEO SHEEP CO. v. UNITED STATES, (1979)
No. 77-1686
Argued: Decided: March 27, 1979

Basically the U.S. Supreme Court said that nobody can violate the rights of the private land owner.

The simple way to look at the issue is that if the adjacent private land owners built fences on their properties then where they met at the corner it would be impossible for anyone to pass through without violating their private property rights. And yes, even the air space above the boundaries (to a reasonable height above the ground) are part of those properties.

But it seems that most people live in a fantasy world and think that if they want to do something then it's justifiable to do it. As one TV personality used to say; "I reject your reality and substitute my own" - in other words, if I don't like the truths of the circumstances I'll just ignore them and do what I want.
 

JM77

Member
Apr 25, 2016
104
33
Casper, Wyoming
There is legal precedence in regards to the legality of corner crossing:

United States Supreme Court
LEO SHEEP CO. v. UNITED STATES, (1979)
No. 77-1686
Argued: Decided: March 27, 1979

Basically the U.S. Supreme Court said that nobody can violate the rights of the private land owner.

The simple way to look at the issue is that if the adjacent private land owners built fences on their properties then where they met at the corner it would be impossible for anyone to pass through without violating their private property rights. And yes, even the air space above the boundaries (to a reasonable height above the ground) are part of those properties.

But it seems that most people live in a fantasy world and think that if they want to do something then it's justifiable to do it. As one TV personality used to say; "I reject your reality and substitute my own" - in other words, if I don't like the truths of the circumstances I'll just ignore them and do what I want.
Sorry, but this case does not set precedent that corner crossing is illegal. Building a road over a corner and stepping over a corner are two separate things. Maybe you have skin in this, maybe not, but there is no definitive Wyoming law that makes corner crossing illegal or that it violates private landowner's rights. But you already knew that.
 

CrimsonArrow

Very Active Member
Feb 21, 2011
807
270
Minnesota
There is legal precedence in regards to the legality of corner crossing:

United States Supreme Court
LEO SHEEP CO. v. UNITED STATES, (1979)
No. 77-1686
Argued: Decided: March 27, 1979

Basically the U.S. Supreme Court said that nobody can violate the rights of the private land owner.

The simple way to look at the issue is that if the adjacent private land owners built fences on their properties then where they met at the corner it would be impossible for anyone to pass through without violating their private property rights. And yes, even the air space above the boundaries (to a reasonable height above the ground) are part of those properties.

But it seems that most people live in a fantasy world and think that if they want to do something then it's justifiable to do it. As one TV personality used to say; "I reject your reality and substitute my own" - in other words, if I don't like the truths of the circumstances I'll just ignore them and do what I want.
What's to stop a guy from setting up a stepladder to span the fence corners?
 

rammont

Active Member
Oct 31, 2016
226
0
Montana
Sorry, but this case does not set precedent that corner crossing is illegal. Building a road over a corner and stepping over a corner are two separate things. Maybe you have skin in this, maybe not, but there is no definitive Wyoming law that makes corner crossing illegal or that it violates private landowner's rights. But you already knew that.
Prove it, you keep claiming that there is no case law that set a precedence, I proved you wrong. Have you read this case? I suspect that you haven't, if you have then explain to me how it does not set a precedent for making corner crossing illegal. If corner crossing weren't illegal then this whole discussion would never have happened. Justice Warren E. Burger said in his summary

"We are unwilling to accept the Government's invitation to upset settled (emphasis is mine, settled means that the expectations of land owner have already been proven under the law) expectations to accommodate some ill-defined power to construct public thoroughfares through private property without compensation".

In other words, unless you get permission from the property, who has been compensated to his satisfaction (which may or may not include financial compensation), you can't cross his property.

Stepping over a corner still requires that you violate the space above the property, space that is considered private property. Again, imagine that both adjacent property owners built fences to the corner. Further, imagine that the fences are extensions of the property lines. If you want to cross at the corner then your body would have to cross/touch the fences/property lines on both sides of the corner (your body occupies 3 dimensional space; height, width, and depth) which means you that you would have to trespass.

Once again, making up an excuse to try to get around the legalities just isn't going to work. As I've said several times now, even a reasonable amount of air space above the ground is considered private property, if that weren't so then nobody would have any rights to build structures that were any height above the ground or plant trees. If you understand my point about imagining a fence rather than invisible property lines then you will understand that the ladder will still violate the air space above the ground.
 

WEST RIVER

New Member
Jan 25, 2016
10
0
How is it that I can float across private property as long as I don't touch the bottom. It must be because all the waters in the state belong to the state but the air in the state belongs to the property owner not sure how all this works.
 

Colorado Cowboy

Veteran member
Jun 8, 2011
7,615
3,168
80
Dolores, Colorado
The case law was speaking to a road, which if my recollection is correct, is wider then someone stepping over private to public without touching private. Depriving them of what? A road would deprive a private landowner of some of their land.
 

WapitiBob

Veteran member
Mar 1, 2011
1,364
38
Bend, Orygun
Evidently the Wyoming AG doesn't have access to your "case law", nor a number of county District Attorneys. The Chief Game Warden dismissed the "air space" argument when we spoke last week.
 

JimP

Veteran member
Mar 28, 2016
6,432
7,116
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Gypsum, Co
In all reality it doesn't matter if two private properties touch at the very apex of the corners. There is no way that you can cross them without trespassing since when one property ends the other starts. Even the step ladder idea won't work, that is unless the ladder is high enough to get you out of the private property air space.

On floating rivers different states have different laws. In Colorado you can float the river since the water is owned by the state, but you can not touch the earth under the surface. So if you fall out of the raft or boat and stand up you can be cited for trespassing. Utah is the same way but it is being fought in court. In Utah it used to be that the state owned from high water mark to high water mark but they changed it a few years ago but it is being fought.

The question that you need to ask yourself is do you want to risk a ticket by doing something stupid and then going to court and trying to argue that you just stepped over the corner and not on the land itself.
 

WapitiBob

Veteran member
Mar 1, 2011
1,364
38
Bend, Orygun
If you plan on corner crossing in Wyoming, I suggest calling the Chief Game Warden, your hunt area County DA, and getting an education; it's free.

Whether you get cited for trespass via CC (public to public) will depend entirely upon the County DA in which you are recreating and their interpretation of the regulation and/or law. Trespassing onto private and hunting that private (game violation), is a different issue.

Wyoming Game and Fish will not cite for criminal trespass regardless of the County as noted by JM77 and confirmed by the Chief Warden. Being cited by a Deputy for criminal trespass depends on the circumstances and interpretation by the County DA.

In the counties I hunt, they do not cite nor prosecute for trespass via CC. Do yourself a favor; make a few calls and get your information first hand. It took more time to write this than it did to get accurate information.
 
Last edited:

JM77

Member
Apr 25, 2016
104
33
Casper, Wyoming
Prove it, you keep claiming that there is no case law that set a precedence, I proved you wrong. Have you read this case? I suspect that you haven't, if you have then explain to me how it does not set a precedent for making corner crossing illegal. If corner crossing weren't illegal then this whole discussion would never have happened. Justice Warren E. Burger said in his summary

"We are unwilling to accept the Government's invitation to upset settled (emphasis is mine, settled means that the expectations of land owner have already been proven under the law) expectations to accommodate some ill-defined power to construct public thoroughfares through private property without compensation".

In other words, unless you get permission from the property, who has been compensated to his satisfaction (which may or may not include financial compensation), you can't cross his property.

Stepping over a corner still requires that you violate the space above the property, space that is considered private property. Again, imagine that both adjacent property owners built fences to the corner. Further, imagine that the fences are extensions of the property lines. If you want to cross at the corner then your body would have to cross/touch the fences/property lines on both sides of the corner (your body occupies 3 dimensional space; height, width, and depth) which means you that you would have to trespass.

Once again, making up an excuse to try to get around the legalities just isn't going to work. As I've said several times now, even a reasonable amount of air space above the ground is considered private property, if that weren't so then nobody would have any rights to build structures that were any height above the ground or plant trees. If you understand my point about imagining a fence rather than invisible property lines then you will understand that the ladder will still violate the air space above the ground.
First, there is no state statute concerning air space in Wyoming except in relation to low flying planes. Second, yes I read the case and it's over the government building a road, a far different thing than a corner crossing on foot.

There is no further need to argue this point with you. I will continue to access my public lands without peril and without any harm to private landowners via corner crossing. There may, however be a game animal or two in peril due to my actions. I will leave you with this picture of an outfitters attempt to keep people from corner crossing and up to this point, there have been no criminal trespass tickets written over going through those signs.20246218_1374740832595138_5420132719698434457_n.jpg
 

CrimsonArrow

Very Active Member
Feb 21, 2011
807
270
Minnesota
The question that you need to ask yourself is do you want to risk a ticket by doing something stupid and then going to court and trying to argue that you just stepped over the corner and not on the land itself.
You better believe it, as long as there isn't a law specifically prohibiting me from doing so. Public land is public, and checkerboard properties should be accessible, otherwise the government may as well sell or lease it off.
 

jtm307

Active Member
Jan 12, 2016
165
6
Wyoming
You should make call to the county attorney for the most authoritative answer, but I just talked to a couple lawyer friends, one a former county attorney in NE, the other a former deputy attorney general in WY. One said prosecuting such a case wouldn't be worth it and could cost a county attorney an election because there are more hunters than land owners. The other thought considering corner-crossing criminal trespassing was absurd and offered to represent me if I was ever cited.
 

rammont

Active Member
Oct 31, 2016
226
0
Montana
First, there is no state statute concerning air space in Wyoming except in relation to low flying planes. Second, yes I read the case and it's over the government building a road, a far different thing than a corner crossing on foot.

There is no further need to argue this point with you. I will continue to access my public lands without peril and without any harm to private landowners via corner crossing. There may, however be a game animal or two in peril due to my actions. I will leave you with this picture of an outfitters attempt to keep people from corner crossing and up to this point, there have been no criminal trespass tickets written over going through those signs.View attachment 20937
Come on over to my place in Montana and let me know where you'll be crossing and I'll be glad to arrange an introduction to the Powell County Sheriff's deputy.