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Do Game Wardens Need More Power?

A draft bill in the Wyoming legislature is proposing to give more authority to Wyoming game wardens in issuing trespass citations. As it stands currently a Wyoming sheriff’s deputy must issue trespass citations. In Wyoming this can be cumbersome to say the least as quite often sheriff’s deputies can take over an hour to respond to the scene of an infraction due to the state’s extremely rural nature. 

To be clear, the proposed legislation would only grant citation abilities to wardens when a person is “traveling through” private property without permission. This is intended to steer clear of the current “corner-crossing” issue in Wyoming as traveling through would be defined as physically occupying the surface area of private property. 

So, my question to you… Is this proposed legislation a good thing or do game wardens already possess all the power they need? 

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  1. Let it rip! Trespassing is trespassing if a person is doing so they should pay the fines.

  2. The game and fish needs to stick to wildlife. Let the landowners manage their own land.

  3. Game Wardens attend the WLEA (Wyoming Law Enforcement Academy), as do all law enforcement officers in Wyoming. As pointed out in your article, often times a deputy is responding from a significant distance, or may be unavailable altogether due to others calls for service or employee shortages.
    Game Wardens are able to issue citations for other violations.
    The trespassing citation provides an avenue to get the violator identified, and before a judge to work toward a resolution.
    It seems totally reasonable, to me, for Game Wardens to have the ability to issue a citation for trespassing.

    • I agree Larry, especially when the trespass involves hunting, fishing, shed hunting, etc. where wardens are responsible to enforce applicable laws. It only makes sense, otherwise a trespassing hunter/fisherman can “hide” on private land until the warden leaves.

  4. The wardens have enough to do without having to do the landowner’s job for them. Call the Sheriff, it’s their job. Not the G&F.

  5. Here in the Texas, the Game Warden is a State Police officer with all the responsibilities that come with that job. Any where from issuing citations for traffic violations to, yes, Trespass citations, DUI, BUI, game law violation and even immigration law violations. So, yes, turn the Wyoming boys on the tresspassers!

    • Well, what works in Texas should stay in Texas. Wyoming wardens have a full plate right now, without adding more duties.

  6. Game wardens have enough to do trying to enforce game laws never mind enforcing trespass for absentee rich landowners. Poaching is far more serious than most believe and it takes a lot of effort to catch the serious poachers that are impacting wildlife populations.

  7. We’ve become a police state with our freedoms eroding each and every day and people want to give even more power to the state – nuts. Post no trespassing signs. Politely inform intruders on your land they’re not suppose to be there but make certain you have a side arm just like the sheriff department.They’ll get the message. It’s not that hard and I’d ask how do you think land owners dealt with this issue 50 yrs ago?

  8. In some states Game Wardens are also STATE POLICE with full Police authority all States should be the same

  9. Yes, they should be able to issue trespassing citations. Often times the violation is being committed by a person hunting or fishing and the warden has either already been called or is already on scene. It makes no sense to me for a warden to have to call another law enforcement officer to do something that the warden certainly has the knowledge and ability to enforce.

  10. Are WY GW’s state certified peace officers? Is yes, they already have the authority to cite trespass. Is there is a policy in WGF that doesn’t let them cite? Policies are easy to change. The reader must understand there are two types of trespass: Criminal Trespass and Hunting on Private Land Without Permission. In CO our officers routinely write the latter and by policy let Sheriff’s departments handle the former. Again, just a policy but one they can write it required.

    • Since this is a bill in the state legislature, it is apparently written into current law that the Sheriff has to enforce this. Seems dumb to me to limit the authority of wardens who are state certified peace officers in Wyoming. Probably an old statute that needs revision.

  11. If the trespass involves a hunter or angler then by all means a warden should be able to address it. I would guess most violations involve hunting or fishing. Otherwise let the Sheriff deal with it. But wardens should have to authority to address any violation of law.

  12. Ger Brunckhorst

    I say absolutely! Give wardens the power to issue tickets in situations where hunters are caught red-handed on private property, when a hunter lies to a warden who witnessed the trespass or he has positive evidence such as photos.
    Here in Montana Game Wardens have the power to issue citations for trespass. In almost all cases I’ve heard about (I’m friends with a whole awesome crew of active and retired wardens from Montana and Idaho as well as Hunter Educators) the warden gives the accused a chance to admit they were either trespassing or really didn’t pay enough attention to where they were hunting. In these cases the warden(s) will often issue a warning “the first time.”
    If the accused hunter denies they trespassed they will almost certainly be ticketed for trespassing and any other violations such as killing a big game animal without written permission to do so on private property.
    I’m one of the people who did get a warning.
    Two of us were walking out in the dark (before any apps or working GPS systems existed). We walked directly into the unfenced backside of private property (fences on 3 sides) and a road exiting that property was used exclusively by the owner to access public ground by vehicle, essentially blocking public vehicle travel. We discovered the error as we approached the back of a posted gate “leaving” a deeded mining claim. I’m not exactly sure how the owner knew we trespassed (most likely just our boot tracks), only the military had night vision in those days. The night was jet black and we walked a trail by starlight and feel for lack of headlamps.
    Three days after I returned home the warden from that Montana district called to inquire. I immediately admitted our mistake, apologizing for not knowing exactly where we were in the dark. The warden was very polite because I respected his position, hence a warning only.
    Even when wardens have this power, “any hunter” can request a hearing with a judge to appeal a citation.

  13. As long as corner jumping is not part of the wardens authority, I say, go for it. Corner jumping should be legal as long as no property damage is incurred. The owners adjacent to government land get defacto “free property” when corner jumping is made illegal. If it is federal public land, it is my land.

  14. They already think they are God and go where they aren’t suppose to now you want to gave them more power. Let the name stand for what it is Game Warden

  15. I object to wardens doing law enforcement work. Lots of county sheriffs look upon Conservation officers as part of their staff to be called upon when needed. I don’t like my license fees going to support local government law enforcement obligations. If a county needs a deputy they can pay for it. Not me.

  16. The bunny cops don’t need any more power. They abuse what they have and are only interested in issuing citations that are not fair. I have several recent examples. I used to be willing to help them, but not any more.

  17. Yes involve game wardens with every trespassing wolf. Every wolf should also be prosecuted for waste of game, killing more than allowed, hunting at night, hunting out of season and killing with prejudice. Yes game wardens should be stewards of the land by prosecuting these trespassers, the wolf, and only the wolf. I thought The demwits voted for ngo social workers to handle the human trespassing?

  18. Retired CO deputy sheriff

    WY Game Wardens are state certified peace officers and should be able to enforce all laws in the state of WY. That said their main job is wildlife related, but when a warden is on scene there is no reason they should have to call another agency to issue a trespass ticket. This pulls a deputy away from what he was doing to go help an officer that should be able to cite the alleged offender. It amazes me how some states restrict the authority of a game warden even though they are fully certified peace officers.

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