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Is Corner Crossing Okay Now?

Talk about a sticky situation. . . corner crossing namely. The latest happening in the now famous case of 4 Missouri men who moved from one section of public land to another by corner crossing comes in the form of an Amicus brief filed by BHA. The brief references cases from as far back as the 1880s and claims precedent that what the four hunters did was not a crime. 

On the other end of the spectrum the plaintiff’s in the civil case filed their own amicus brief making the case that precedent has not been set, but rather individual states set property law. Agriculture is a tough business and from the perspective of the ranchers adding more people recreating very close to their borders is challenging to say the least. 

Wyofile has done an excellent job laying out the details of the case in their ongoing series so I won’t rehash what they have done well. This case has now been in the public eye for months and as such the upcoming civil trial, that we have talked about at length, as well as the referenced journalism from Wyofile, has done a good job talking about the many details and developments in this case. 

With every development the sides involved will continue to dig their heels in. It is human nature to fight for preservation, whether it be a way of life or otherwise. With that in mind it is tough to see this settling outside of court, but rather going all the way through a trial by jury with the promise of a precedent setting verdict on the line. 

I primarily hunt public land and thoroughly enjoy the experience. I have lived all over the great state of Wyoming hunting and have worked through the struggle bus of issues for hunting public land when there are large tracts that have very small corridors of travel. Or even worse, when there were corners touching but I didn’t care to cross due to the simple reality that I wasn’t sure if there was a clear law stating whether or not it was legal. With that in mind, I hope that we now have clear answers, and access to land for recreation opens up across the West. 

Get ready for a wild summer as this will be a VERY talked about case for MANY years to come in hunting circles. The reach of its outcome will impact many of us in a big way!

What side of the fence are you on? 

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


  1. This issue of crossing corners to access public land has become a complete circus show! No harm or destruction of private property was made. The plaintiff didn’t lose any monies as stated. If the four individuals who crossed win in court the plaintiff should pay all expenses. Corner crossing should be allowed period or at least provide access by easement .

    • Chase Montgomery

      Totally agree, I didn’t realize that we could be denied access to our own property? When we learn to stop voting lawyers into political positions , then and only then will we see a positive change across the country. I know a few good ones but they are few and far between

    • You should be able to hunt or hike on your public land.
      The checker board area needs access to public sections.

      • Hawkeyes &Hunting

        I don’t live in the west but in the mid west people hunt next to “Agriculture” all the time with no issues. I don’t understand what a couple of backpack hunters are going to hurt in regards to agriculture

  2. The fact that private landowners have been blocking access to public lands and using them as an addition to their own private land has to stop. Maybe years ago before technology, there was a case to be made that some people could stray on to private land and disrupt landowner operations, but with the advances in GPS, mapping software and smartphone technology there is no ambiguity to where the property line is drawn. Mapping software uses GIS information based upon existing surveys and taxpayer information. In most cases, it is accurate down to 3′. If there is no damage being done to the private property, then there is no law being broken. Long story short, the land is public and not private, the public should have access…period.

  3. Do you want butter and syrup with your WAFFLE?

  4. Two of the property corners may be private property, but when I lift my foot from public land over the private property line and place it on more public land, I have not violated any private property owners rights; the airspace above private property is not private property. Period.

  5. of course you can step from public to public and hunt, we own the public and are not restricted

  6. The owners complaints of devaluing his property is BS. Many things can devalue your property that are out of your control. I don’t particularly care for the trashy neighbors across the street devaluing my land, but it is what it is. Give us access to our public land or is not public is it?

  7. agree with this, public is not controlled by the private…………

  8. Those private land owners who are blocking the public from accessing public land, paid for with public dollars are the true criminals. I would like to know how many of these private landowners, that have land ajoining public land, are using said public land for their own gain? If no one is able to gain access to the public ground it is hard to determine what is taking place on it. The government caused this problem and have let states make their own rules…..it’s time to correct the wrong for all. Hopefully the outcome will be positive for public land access.

  9. PUBLIC LAND! There must be a reasonable access point that is designated and used to enter ANY public land without negatively impacting the private ground, otherwise the public land is no longer public land. This should not even be an argument.

  10. Well once again, the rich, elite bastards are very likely to win. This is not a case of a little family agriculture operation in Wyoming. This is a recently purchased property whose owners makes lots of money from from financially well off elk hunters. If this court sides with the private landowner, kiss hunting in the west goodbye.

  11. The landowners think the corner crossers are “Stealing” THEIR wildlife if they don’t pay to hunt there. These Out-of-State wealthy landowners can do just about anything they want, legal or illegal and usually do in Wyoming.

  12. When the intent is, to cross public land to public land (at corner crossings) and at no time you physically come in contact with private land (ground). Then having a law that prohibits this type of public access is absurd and needs to be removed.

  13. Wouldn’t take much to build a little wooden bridge that goes up and over the corner from public to public and given that you are then in airspace, did not touch their property, fence or other, they should stfu. You can bet your ass they are making money off that illegally blocked Public land, hunting, grazing, etc. BLM, USFS and the states need to fix this mess, they made it.

    • If I am not mistaken the four individuals did construct a ladder to cross, avoiding touching the private property?

  14. Oh and If the public hunters lose this, someone should publish the location of every blocked chunk of land in the west and the size, animals, details. I know Colorado has it, but not sure who to get it from. BHA maybe. Then 50 or more of us should get tags and hire a helicopter to take us over and bring us back. All the while flipping off those particular effing landowners. Line up standers next to their fence and have others drive the animals to standers.

  15. If the landowners want to block and control adjacent public lands they should pay property taxes on it. I bet they would change their tune pretty fast. MT, WY and CO has 6 million acres of public land the public can’t access.

  16. When the 4 they should sue for around 10 million each and teach this a hole that just because he has money and is an out of state land owner that public land is public and that there is a law that we can access it he only has a grazing permit nothing else or just pull his grazing permit and don’t let him cross corners and see how he likes it

  17. I’m a lifelong citizen of MT and I’ve been frustrated by locked up public lands for over 40 years. I have experienced the same anger and frustration as everyone else commenting. I’m not rich and don’t own any land other than my home. In some cases I’ve used the “nearly” locked up lands to my advantage by hiking further and working harder than most others, but there are a lot of places completely locked up. All that said, be careful not to fall into the “us vs them” or class warfare traps. Just being wealthy is not a crime and if I was rich you can bet I’d own as much wild lands as I could if only to preserve them. I’m just saying that it won’t help anyone to make all land owners the enemy. Remember the Golden Rule.

  18. Rancher have leased the land for so many years that they do, be leave they own it. For years the cost of leasing wasn’t public knowledge and for that rancher had the land for penny on the dollars to use as they wanted until it was made public, and everybody could bid on the lease ahead of the rancher for them self’s so now the rancher would have to compete for that lease so much easier to buy the land around it and block it off that way no can use it. Back in the days it as called safari land.

  19. Last year in CO I was hunting a Ranching For Wildlife property, where there is a lot of public land that borders the ranch. The hunt manager warned us hunters not to corner cross where BLM land touched ranch property, so that the game wardens wouldn’t have an argument that we were hunting public land. RFW tags (CO resident only) are good for only the property you are hunting, so here we saw the corner crossing issue in reverse.
    I agree that some of these out of state corporate ranches think they control everything and are really not true ranchers, but use the property as tax right off. The argument that the MO hunters caused damage and violated air space is absolutely ridiculous. If a private plane flies across their property is that trespassing? Somehow where there are corners an easement needs to be made so the public lands can be accessed. I understand why some property owners don’t allow hunting on their properties due to problem that slob hunters have created. Here you have hunters just wanting to access public property. Come on Elk Mt Ranch, do something positive, work with the public, use some common sense. .

  20. I have lived and hunted most of my 66 years in mt was born and raised on a ranch so have lived both lives public is public not both public and private so anyone should be able to hunt their own land, landowners can hunt their land and our land so we should be able to hunt our land by corner crossing and they can hunt their land by corner crossing fair is fair some judge needs to grow some you know what

  21. I hope corner crossing becomes clearly legal. But there should also be access to landlocked pieces of public land in ALL areas. If there is no access, the government should sell the land. These land locked pieces of public land become the private hunting grounds for any adjacent landowner and that is wrong.

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