Home / General / 10 Most Common Big Game Violations Part 8 – Hunter Trespassing

10 Most Common Big Game Violations Part 8 – Hunter Trespassing

Photo Credit: duallogic
  • Trespass on Private Property: 
    • Misdemeanor: Up to $1,000 fine, 0-6 months in jail, 0-3 years license revocation
      • Mandatory 1 year license revocation
    • Idaho Code 36-1603(a) states “No person shall enter the real property of another and shoot any weapon or enter such property for the purposes of hunting, retrieving wildlife, fishing or trapping in violation of section 18-7008, Idaho Code.” 
    • Idaho Code 18-7008(2)(a) states in part “A person commits criminal trespass and is guilty of a misdemeanor, except as provided in subsection (3)(a)(i) of this section, when he enters or remains on the real property of another without permission, knowing or with reason to know that his presence is not permitted”
    • Idaho Code 18-7008(1)(f) states “”Permission” means written authorization from the owner or his agent to enter upon private land, which shall include the signature of the owner or his agent, the name of the person being given permission, the appropriate dates that the permission is valid and a general description of the property; OR another form of permission or invitation recognized by law.”
    • Idaho Code 29-105 states “All contracts may be oral except such as are specially required by statute to be in writing.”

Most people think that you are required to get written permission from the Landowner or his Agent before hunting in Idaho.  This is not the case, but it is a good thing to do. Most state Fish and Wildlife Agencies highly recommend that you get written permission because it can prevent legal headaches in the long run. Those agencies even offer a permission slip template that you can use. Idaho is a verbal contract state and because the 18-7008 statute does not SPECIFICALLY state that the permission must be written, verbal permission works.  

I’ve hunted my fair share of private land and almost no landowner has wanted to do a written permission slip. Most of the old timers consider it a slap in the face to ask for their permission in writing.  For these guys, their word is their bond, and a handshake means more to them than any permission slip.  I even had a guy rescind my permission when I asked for it in writing. However, if you get oral permission instead of written, you are just opening yourself up to potential legal problems.    

I know of a case where a landowner gave permission to a hunter for archery and rifle season. One thing led to another, in that case, and the landowner ended up crawfishing on permission. He did this after that hunter hunted all of archery, and even killed a nice buck in the rifle season. A couple days after the buck was killed that landowner called Fish and Game and falsely reported the guy. Now that guy is wrapped in a long court battle because of this. I believe he will prevail in the long run, but it has been an expensive fight.  

I look back on all the times I’ve gotten permission, and this could have happened to me at any time. It’s a scary thought that it could really happen to anyone. If you cannot do a written permission slip for whatever reason, I would recommend recording the conversation with the landowner/agent. This way you have some protection if they crawfish later on. Idaho is a one-party consent state for recording, so you can record those conversations without worry.  

There are many ways you can get yourself in hot water for “trespassing”.  If you wound an animal and it goes into private, you cannot just retrieve that animal without permission. This is all on top of the obvious, where you just hunt on someone’s land without permission. You are responsible for knowing the boundaries. With today’s mapping services, there really is no excuse for not knowing if you are on private or not. Bottom line, if you are flirting with the private boundary, make sure you are 100% before you pull that trigger.    

About Rodger Holscher

Check Also

Wicked Colorado Winter & Tag Reductions

Across much of the western portions of the Colorado Rockies, and especially the northwest corner …

Horses & Winter: Too Much For Western Wildlife?

The letter below came through my email this morning. I’ll not divulge who wrote it …


  1. Gerald Brunckhorst

    I try really hard to always be in the right place. Prior to good GPS and/or hunting apps, I volunteered time to take disabled hunters and fishermen out every season. The most time volunteered has been with people suffering from Huntington’s Disease. Their abilities vary considerably. Twice I’ve received written trespass warnings from Game Wardens. I for one love technology which helps keep me one the right side of the law.
    Once we unknowingly drove through an 18 acre patented mining claim (no signs, no fence or gate). A warden was watching with a spotting scope, he met us later.
    The second warning occurred when the hunter bit off more than he was capable of, using all his ability getting into the best hunting. Making a call to change our plan then be picked up; darkness overtook us while “slowly” making our way out. I led the hunter into a 30 acre patented mining claim, an active one. The front (downhill) portion was fenced, gated – well marked, unfortunately the back (uphill) boundary wasn’t! A security camera alerted our approach and trespass, we were intercepted, I explained, requesting help (a ride) for the disabled hunter. The owner coldly refused then called the game warden and the sheriff.
    In both cases I took full responsibility, no argument.

    • Thank you for sharing. It’s so easily done and often explainable. There was no malicious intent there and I’m glad the Game Warden used his discretion wisely.

  2. Gerald Brunckhorst

    My hunting pardner’ and I obtained permission to bow-hunt a publicly held island with access through private property. He shot an amazing whitetail from his stand. The buck crossed a shallow channel then immediately lay down on the land we had permission to cross. Doing the right thing we let the ranch manager know before proceeding to collect the buck. As we were explaining an anti-hunter across the river called him, yelling, cussing, etc. etc.
    We were told sorry, time to leave, all permissions are retracted. That buck lay 300 yards up the river where the anti-hunter probably easily watched it die. We contacted the game warden who told I his hands were tied, let it go and keep hunting.

    • That’s extremely unfortunate that happened to you guys. I’ve had this happen to friends as well. It gives you an appreciation for great land owners who are friendly to hunters.

  3. The online apps such as on X hunt are not always accurate. There is some private property in unit 70 and 71 and the boundaries are marked incorrectly on the on X hunt app myself and my brother-in-law have both contacted them. They moved the onyx hunt boundary line somewhat, but it is still approximately 450 to 600 yards incorrectly marked boundaries on both sides of his property once side shows the property is being public and the other side shows his property onto the neighboring owners property. The boundaries have been surveyed and are clearly marked. So if you see posted signs, I would tend to look at that as well as the marked boundaries before always relying on apps . I tried to copy and paste a picture screenshot, but unable to do so.

    • You are correct on that Glenn. They are not always accurate. I use three different apps to make more sure at times if needed. Some times one will show different info than the other. I try not to get that close to private that it matters but some times it’s unavoidable.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.