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Thread: GAME WARDENS

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    We were duck hunting a few weeks ago and while on the way back in our boat we passed the game warden and he stopped us, checked our hunting license, checked for steel shot, asked to look at our shotguns and they removed our shells to see if it had a plug.

    We complied and were cooperative and they acted profesional. But I was wondering about what their powers are. Although we complied with them I was just wondering what I'm required by law to comply to? The same as any other law enforcement officer?



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    They are called "Conservation Police Officers" and have the same power as a LEO I think.

    Watch the video on this page. Looks like an awesome job:
    http://www.dgif.virginia.gov/law-enf...nt/recruiting/

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    Same as Virginia State Police when acting within the scope of their jurisdiction. They have the same powers to arrest for a felony or for a misdemeanor committed in their presence.
    Daniel L. Hawes - 540 347 2430 - HTTP://www.VirginiaLegalDefense.com

    By the way, nothing I say on this website as "user" should be taken as either advertising for attorney services or legal advice, merely personal opinion. Everyone having a question regarding the application of law to the facts of their situation should seek the advice of an attorney competent in the subject matter of the issues presented and licensed to practice in the relevant state.

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    Accomplished Advocate peter nap's Avatar
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    trx680 wrote:
    We were duck hunting a few weeks ago and while on the way back in our boat we passed the game warden and he stopped us, checked our hunting license, checked for steel shot, asked to look at our shotguns and they removed our shells to see if it had a plug.

    We complied and were cooperative and they acted profesional. But I was wondering about what their powers are. Although we complied with them I was just wondering what I'm required by law to comply to? The same as any other law enforcement officer?

    There isn't such a thing in Va anymore. they are Conversation Police.

    Yours is a good question. They never did have the authority some people thought they had. Part of it was that they WERE NOT Police officers so much of what they did was as a Citizen.

    Now that they are full fledged cops, I wonder if they can check for steel shot unless they have probable suspicion that you weren't using it.

    It might be like DUI check points. They may have to have a plan to check every third hunter or something like that. Bet they don't...

    Good question. I'm looking forward to the answer.

    Best thing to do is see them before they see you




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    Regular Member wylde007's Avatar
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    peter nap wrote:
    There isn't such a thing in Va anymore. they are Conversation Police.
    The Conversation Police? Sounds like something out of a Monty Python sketch.:shock:

    Conservation Police. Same as http://www.dgif.virginia.gov?
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    I was in a boat ( which could be considered a vehicle, like a car?? ) so when he asked to see my gun was I required to hand it over?

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    wylde007 wrote:
    peter nap wrote:
    There isn't such a thing in Va anymore. they are Conversation Police.
    The Conversation Police? Sounds like something out of a Monty Python sketch.:shock:

    Conservation Police. Same as http://www.dgif.virginia.gov?
    Did you know that the Marine Resource Commission cops are the largest law enforcement agency in the state?

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    peter nap wrote:


    these guys where trying to pass as fishermen, even had the rod/reels in boat and had their badges covered up until they popped up on us. One stood up and alerted us that they were game wardens and pulled his badge out from under his jacket.

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    As stated, they are sworn state Law Enforcement Officers.

    eta I've OC'd in the presence of one at Burke Lake Park.

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    trx680 wrote:
    peter nap wrote:


    these guys where trying to pass as fishermen, even had the rod/reels in boat and had their badges covered up until they popped up on us. One stood up and alerted us that they were game wardens and pulled his badge out from under his jacket.
    You shoud have notified him there wasn't any such thing as a Game Warden anymore....then sunk his boat (damn pirates are getting sneakier all the time)

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    I've heard numerous times that they can search your vehicle without your permission and without a search warrant if they decide to. Is this true? Or can they still not do this?

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    Accomplished Advocate peter nap's Avatar
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    hometheaterman wrote:
    I've heard numerous times that they can search your vehicle without your permission and without a search warrant if they decide to. Is this true? Or can they still not do this?
    No. It is not true and never has been. Old wives tale.

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    peter nap wrote:
    (damn pirates are getting sneakier all the time)


    AAARRRRRRRRRR!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    James Reynolds

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    trx680 wrote:
    We were duck hunting a few weeks ago and while on the way back in our boat we passed the game warden and he stopped us, checked our hunting license, checked for steel shot, asked to look at our shotguns and they removed our shells to see if it had a plug.

    We complied and were cooperative and they acted profesional. But I was wondering about what their powers are. Although we complied with them I was just wondering what I'm required by law to comply to? The same as any other law enforcement officer?

    The New Conservation Police officers/ Game Wardens have all authority of a LEO. They have the authority to enforce the game laws of the Commonwealth including any federal law that Virginia is a part of or required to follow. Ducks are protected under the Migratory Bird treaties

    http://www.fws.gov/migratorybirds/

    Federal Law Prohibits hunting ducks or migratory birds with a shotgun that can hold more than two rounds in the magazine and one in the chamber for a total of three rounds. Virginia game laws mirror federal law as federal law preempts state law.

    Although Virginia's Constitution protects the rights of Virginian's to hunt and fish, it is predicated upon laws passed by the General Assembly.

    "The people have a right to hunt, fish, and harvest game, subject to such regulations and restrictions as the General Assembly may prescribe by general law." Va. Const. Art. 11, S 4.

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    Regular Member TFred's Avatar
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    I haven't seen an answer to the question, may these officers demand and search your shotgun for compliance without a RAS?

    TFred


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    Accomplished Advocate peter nap's Avatar
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    Virginiaplanter wrote:
    trx680 wrote:
    We were duck hunting a few weeks ago and while on the way back in our boat we passed the game warden and he stopped us, checked our hunting license, checked for steel shot, asked to look at our shotguns and they removed our shells to see if it had a plug.

    We complied and were cooperative and they acted profesional. But I was wondering about what their powers are. Although we complied with them I was just wondering what I'm required by law to comply to? The same as any other law enforcement officer?

    The New Conservation Police officers/ Game Wardens have all authority of a LEO. They have the authority to enforce the game laws of the Commonwealth including any federal law that Virginia is a part of or required to follow. Ducks are protected under the Migratory Bird treaties

    http://www.fws.gov/migratorybirds/

    Federal Law Prohibits hunting ducks or migratory birds with a shotgun that can hold more than two rounds in the magazine and one in the chamber for a total of three rounds. Virginia game laws mirror federal law as federal law preempts state law.

    Although Virginia's Constitution protects the rights of Virginian's to hunt and fish, it is predicated upon laws passed by the General Assembly.

    "The people have a right to hunt, fish, and harvest game, subject to such regulations and restrictions as the General Assembly may prescribe by general law." Va. Const. Art. 11, S 4.
    That's not the issue VP. The question is do they have the authority to inspect your gun for illegal shells if there is no reason to think you are using them.

    They do have the right to ask for your hunting license if you are indeed hunting. But not just because you have a gun.

    No one's questioning their authority to enforce the hunting laws. I do question their authority to search at will.

    They have the right to inspect Game or fish 29.1-209
    They have the right to see your license if hunting or fishing29.1-337

    Inspecting guns isnt an inherent power. There needs to be a reason to believe the person is breaking the law.

    For instance. It is illegal to hunt on Sunday. Having a gun in the field is not hunting.
    29.1-521. Unlawful to hunt, trap, possess, sell or transport wild birds and wild animals except as permitted; exception; penalty. A. The following shall be unlawful:
    1. To hunt or kill any wild bird or wild animal, including any nuisance species, with a gun, firearm or other weapon on Sunday, which is hereby declared a rest day for all species of wild bird and wild animal life, except raccoons, which may be hunted until 2:00 a.m. on Sunday mornings. However, a person lawfully carrying a gun, firearm or other weapon on Sunday in an area that could be used for hunting shall not be presumed to be hunting on Sunday, absent evidence to the contrary.
    Put it in city terms. A Police Officer is on a DUI check point. He asks for your license and registration. All are current and there's no evidence you've been drinking. Then he says, I'll just check your serial number on your gun just to make sure it;s legal.







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    Accomplished Advocate peter nap's Avatar
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    OK....Here is their SPECIAL search and seizure power

    29.1-208. Searches and seizures.
    All conservation police officers are vested with the authority to search any person arrested as provided in § 29.1-205 together with any box, can, package, barrel or other container, hunting bag, coat, suit, trunk, grip, satchel or fish basket carried by, in the possession of, or belonging to such person. Conservation police officers shall also have the authority, immediately subsequent to such arrest, to enter and search any refrigerator, building, vehicle, or other place in which the officer making the search has reasonable ground to believe that the person arrested has concealed or placed any wild bird, wild animal or fish, which will furnish evidence of a violation of the hunting, trapping and inland fish laws. Such a search may be made without a warrant, except that a dwelling may not be searched without a warrant. Should any container as described in this section reveal any wild bird, wild animal or fish, or any part thereof, which has been illegally taken, possessed, sold, purchased or transported, the conservation police officer shall seize and hold as evidence the container, together with such wild bird, wild animal or fish, and any unlawful gun, net, or other device of any kind for taking wild birds, wild animals or fish which he may find.
    (Code 1950, § 29-33; 1987, c. 488; 2007, c. 87.)


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    Regular Member TFred's Avatar
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    peter nap wrote:
    OK....Here is their SPECIAL search and seizure power

    29.1-208. Searches and seizures.
    All conservation police officers are vested with the authority to search any person arrested as provided in § 29.1-205 together with any box, can, package, barrel or other container, hunting bag, coat, suit, trunk, grip, satchel or fish basket carried by, in the possession of, or belonging to such person. Conservation police officers shall also have the authority, immediately subsequent to such arrest, to enter and search any refrigerator, building, vehicle, or other place in which the officer making the search has reasonable ground to believe that the person arrested has concealed or placed any wild bird, wild animal or fish, which will furnish evidence of a violation of the hunting, trapping and inland fish laws. Such a search may be made without a warrant, except that a dwelling may not be searched without a warrant. Should any container as described in this section reveal any wild bird, wild animal or fish, or any part thereof, which has been illegally taken, possessed, sold, purchased or transported, the conservation police officer shall seize and hold as evidence the container, together with such wild bird, wild animal or fish, and any unlawful gun, net, or other device of any kind for taking wild birds, wild animals or fish which he may find.
    (Code 1950, § 29-33; 1987, c. 488; 2007, c. 87.)
    See additional bolding. In the absence of additional code cites, it sounds like the proper response to "I need to check your shotgun" would be "Are you placing me under arrest?"

    ?

    TFred


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    29.1-208. Searches and seizures. All conservation police officers are vested with the authority to search any person arrested as provided in § 29.1-205


    29.1-205. Power to make arrests.
    All conservation police officers are vested with the authority, upon displaying a badge or other credential of office, to issue a summons or to arrest any person found in the act of violating any of the provisions of the hunting, trapping, inland fish and boating laws.
    Regular conservation police officers are vested with the same authority as sheriffs and other law-enforcement officers to enforce all of the criminal laws of the Commonwealth.
    Any special conservation police officer shall have general police power while performing his duty on properties owned or controlled by the Board.
    Any commissioned, warrant or petty officers of the United States Coast Guard and of the United States Coast Guard Reserve while engaged on active duty, in the conduct of their official duties in uniform, and any officers of the customs as defined by 19 U.S.C. § 1709(b), in the conduct of their official duties in uniform, shall have the same power to make arrests under Chapter 7 (§ 29.1-700 et seq.) of Title 29.1 as conservation police officers.
    (Code 1950, § 29-32; 1960, c. 540; 1979, c. 264; 1982, c. 64; 1987, c. 488; 1988, c. 605; 2007, c. 87.)

    Still seems to support the fact that they cannot search you unless you are under arrest, and can't search you first to see if you are "in the act" and are, therefore, then subject to arrest.

    Would make of an "interesting" conversation" in the field, eh?

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    § 29.1-337. Displaying license upon request.
    A. Every person who is issued a hunting, trapping or fishing license and is carrying such a license when hunting, trapping or fishing shall present it immediately upon demand of any officer whose duty it is to enforce the game and inland fish laws. Refusing to exhibit the license upon demand of any conservation police officer or other officer shall be a Class 3 misdemeanor.
    B. In accordance with § 18.2-133, the hunting, trapping or fishing license shall also be shown upon the demand of any owner or lessee, or of any employee or representative of such owner or lessee, upon whose lands or waters the person may be hunting, fishing or trapping.
    C. The Director may supply buttons or license holders and require the license or button to be displayed in a manner he may determine.
    (Code 1950, § 29-76; 1987, c. 488; 1989, c. 421; 2007, c. 87.)

    ------

    They have the authority to request to see your hunting license at anytime you are hunting. They don't need probable cause. It is a condition of the issuance of the license. I believe that once they stop you to check for a license when they see you engaged in hunting, they can check to see if your shotgun is plugged.


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    Accomplished Advocate peter nap's Avatar
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    Virginiaplanter wrote:
    § 29.1-337. Displaying license upon request.
    A. Every person who is issued a hunting, trapping or fishing license and is carrying such a license when hunting, trapping or fishing shall present it immediately upon demand of any officer whose duty it is to enforce the game and inland fish laws. Refusing to exhibit the license upon demand of any conservation police officer or other officer shall be a Class 3 misdemeanor.
    B. In accordance with § 18.2-133, the hunting, trapping or fishing license shall also be shown upon the demand of any owner or lessee, or of any employee or representative of such owner or lessee, upon whose lands or waters the person may be hunting, fishing or trapping.
    C. The Director may supply buttons or license holders and require the license or button to be displayed in a manner he may determine.
    (Code 1950, § 29-76; 1987, c. 488; 1989, c. 421; 2007, c. 87.)

    ------

    They have the authority to request to see your hunting license at anytime you are hunting. They don't need probable cause. It is a condition of the issuance of the license. I believe that once they stop you to check for a license when they see you engaged in hunting, they can check to see if your shotgun is plugged.
    I feel like Fred. Am I typing in invisible ink too
    I said that!!!!!
    What they CAN'T...CAN'T...CAN NOT do....is check the shells in the gun or search for anthing else UNLESS They Arrest YOU

    They also CAN'T...CAN'T...CAN NOT assume your hunting just because you have a gun.

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    Regular Member riverrat10k's Avatar
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    The game warden thing has always been questionable in my mind. Thanks for the cites guys.

    My take on this is that it is similar to a field sobriety test. You may refuse it, and put the ball back in LEO's court whether to arrest you or not.

    My 2 sheckels.
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    Glock27Bill wrote:
    29.1-208. Searches and seizures. All conservation police officers are vested with the authority to search any person arrested as provided in § 29.1-205

    29.1-205. Power to make arrests. Regular conservation police officers are vested with the same authority as sheriffs and other law-enforcement officers to enforce all of the criminal laws of the Commonwealth.
    Still seems to support the fact that they cannot search you unless you are under arrest, and can't search you first to see if you are "in the act" and are, therefore, then subject to arrest.

    Would make of an "interesting" conversation" in the field, eh?


    "Conservation Officers' or Game Wardens have full police authority anywhere in the Commonwealth. I wouldn't try to play any games with them.

    When I was with the Governor's Drug Task Force, we would bring a Game Warden with us when looking for drug manufacturing sites, because while a Game Warden needs a search warrant to search a house, he doesn't need one to come onto your land.

    If we had reasonable suspision that someone was growing pot for example, but not enough to obtain a search warrant, the Game Warden would enter the land to check for poachers and we would just "tag along" to assist him.

    Grey area, I know, but completely legal.
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    ODA 226 wrote:
    Grey area, I know, but completely legal.
    Sounds like a good way for a Game Warden to get killed.

    Trespassing laws don't apply to some and not others, last I checked.

    You need a warrant to be ON anyone's property lawfully... unless you care to cite otherwise.
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    Accomplished Advocate peter nap's Avatar
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    wylde007 wrote:
    ODA 226 wrote:
    Grey area, I know, but completely legal.
    Sounds like a good way for a Game Warden to get killed.

    Trespassing laws don't apply to some and not others, last I checked.

    You need a warrant to be ON anyone's property lawfully... unless you care to cite otherwise.
    Actually, ODA is right and wrong.

    Before Game Wardens became "Police Officers they only had jurisdiction over game laws. Anything else would be done as a Citizen.
    They did and still do, have the right to enter posted land without a warrant to monitor game related activities. The State owns the game.

    It's like keeping your cows in a rented pasture. You can go there to check on them.

    Before they were police, the idea was that the cops could tag along to make sure the Warden is safe. A Citizen can find contraband without a warrant and it can be used as evidence. Search and seizure only protects against Government activities, not Citizens.

    Now...that they are full blown cops, they can't play that game anymore.
    A couple years ago a CO found out I was trying to find a trespassor. I was just planning on having one of my private discussions with him but the CO needed something to give him probable cause to check his guns. (They were stolen)

    So I obtained a Trespassing warrant, he served it then tried to run the serial numbers that had been filed off.

    SO What ODA said isn't legal anymore although, I'm sure some still do it.

    It is a little complicated because a cop isn't necessarly a cop. Did you know a Humane Society investigator is a cop. They can't get away with writing speeding tickets though.

    Railroads have their own private police departments. Again, only jurisdiction is on RR property even though they have interstate venue.

    DGOF Biologist have arrest powers like the old Game Wardens but only on DGIF controlled property.




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