Pennsylvania Firearm Owners Association
Page 1 of 4 1234 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 31
  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Location
    Easton, Pennsylvania
    (Northampton County)
    Posts
    78
    Rep Power
    446845

    Default Can Game Wardens Hang Trail Cameras on Your Private Property?

    I don't know if this has been discussed in the past... but holy hell. The game truly does belong to the king... .

    "There’s a regulatory gray area when it comes to game wardens surveilling private property, and two hunting clubs in Pennsylvania are currently challenging the issue. In December, the Punxsutawney Hunting Club and the Pitch Pine Hunting Club, which collectively own and operate over 5,000 acres of forested land, sued the Pennsylvania Game Commission. Their lawsuit alleges that PGC game wardens routinely ignored “No Trespassing” signs and locked gates in order to spy on club members without a warrant.

    Both hunting clubs are being represented by attorneys from the Institute for Justice, a public interest law firm that specializes in government violations of constitutional rights.

    “People should feel secure on private property,” Frank Stockdale, president of the Punxsutawney Club, told the Pittsburgh-Post Gazette last December. “They should feel like they have privacy and seclusion. But the Pennsylvania Game Commission is making us feel the opposite. We feel invaded.”

    The lawsuit names both the PGC and game warden Mark Gritzer. The clubs complain that for years, Gritzer and other wildlife officers have regularly entered and searched their privately owned lands to check club members for compliance.

    This is fairly standard activity for game wardens, as any private-land hunter knows. If game wardens weren’t allowed to access private lands, it would be nearly impossible for them to investigate potential poaching or wildlife crimes. However, evidence turned over by the state in July revealed that in addition to surveilling hunters in person, wildlife officers had installed a trail camera on the property without the club’s knowledge or permission.

    But why is it legal for Pennsylvania game wardens to set up a trail camera on private property? Isn’t that a violation of the Fourth Amendment, which protects against warrantless searches? Well, not exactly.

    How Law Enforcement Circumvents the Fourth Amendment
    Andrew Wimer, director of media relations for the Institute for Justice, wrote a recent op-ed in which he explains that the “Open Field Doctrine” permits state and federal law enforcement to use monitoring strategies such as motion-activated trail cameras to surveil rural lands. Initially created in 1924 and upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1984, the doctrine specifically states that “government intrusion and information collection upon open fields do not constitute searches or seizures under the Fourth Amendment…even if there are fences or ‘no trespassing’ signs around the field.” Many modern trail cameras have cellular photo and video capability, so they are able to send images to a phone or computer as they’re recorded.

    Mississippi, Montana, New York, Oregon, Vermont, and Washington are the only states in the U.S. that do not honor the Open Fields Doctrine. In Pennsylvania as in the rest of the country, there is no limit for when federal officers can come onto private property and for how long they can watch. With the aid of modern trail cameras, this allows game wardens to constantly surveil private lands without a warrant for weeks or months at a time.

    Outdoor Life reached out to PGC for comment, and the commission directed all questions to the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s office. The AG’s office did not respond to requests for comment.

    As the lawsuit points out, Pennsylvania’s state constitution includes three Warrantless Entry Statutes (Pa. C.S.A. 303(c), 901(a)(2), 901(a)(8)) that are specific to the state’s game commission. These statues give wildlife officers the authority to enter private property, posted or otherwise, in order to conduct administrative inspections of persons, licenses, firearms, decoys, blinds, etc.

    The current lawsuit in Pennsylvania represents a constitutional challenge to these three statutes. And while it’s the most recent case of private citizens contesting the government’s right to surveil private property using trail cams, it’s certainly not the first. Similar lawsuits were filed in Texas and Tennessee in 2018.

    The outcome of the Pennsylvania case will be worth keeping an eye on as it could potentially set a new legal precedent. Until then, wildlife officers there will continue to be allowed to monitor private lands with trail cameras.

    link to website: http://https://www.outdoorlife.com/c...-private-land/

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2020
    Location
    On a hilltop, Pennsylvania
    (Bradford County)
    Posts
    243
    Rep Power
    21474839

    Default Re: Can Game Wardens Hang Trail Cameras on Your Private Property?

    I don't use trail cameras myself, but it sure seems to me like the those I've seen first-hand are pretty susceptible to many forms of accidental and otherwise natural damage.
    Strange women lying in ponds, distributing swords, is no basis for a system of government.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2014
    Location
    Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
    (Allegheny County)
    Posts
    3,480
    Rep Power
    21474848

    Default Re: Can Game Wardens Hang Trail Cameras on Your Private Property?

    I'm shocked that Such cameras survive their first encounter with a person legally on the property.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Bucks County, Pennsylvania
    (Bucks County)
    Posts
    2,337
    Rep Power
    21474849

    Default Re: Can Game Wardens Hang Trail Cameras on Your Private Property?

    Wait! Are you saying the Game Comission is handing out free game cams? OUTSTANDING!
    I*ll bet they have the really good ones too! Really nice of them Bunny Cops, ain*t it?!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    East side of the ANF, Pennsylvania
    (Elk County)
    Posts
    6,733
    Rep Power
    21474857

    Default Re: Can Game Wardens Hang Trail Cameras on Your Private Property?

    PGC law enforcement generally do not need a warrant per current (longstanding) law; from the wall-o-text in the OP:

    Pennsylvania*s state constitution includes three Warrantless Entry Statutes (Pa. C.S.A. 303(c), 901(a)(2), 901(a)(8)) that are specific to the state*s game commission. These statues give wildlife officers the authority to enter private property, posted or otherwise, in order to conduct administrative inspections of persons, licenses, firearms, decoys, blinds, etc.

    Noah
    Wisdom and knowledge shall be the stability of thy times.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Gouldsboro, Pennsylvania
    (Wayne County)
    Age
    54
    Posts
    2,880
    Rep Power
    21474852

    Default Re: Can Game Wardens Hang Trail Cameras on Your Private Property?

    Have sex directly in front of the camera and claim the land as curtilage.

    Sounds like some "intimate home activities" to me.
    Malo accepto stultus sapit

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Location
    Douglassville, Pennsylvania
    (Berks County)
    Posts
    9,356
    Rep Power
    21474855

    Default Re: Can Game Wardens Hang Trail Cameras on Your Private Property?

    Quote Originally Posted by Manxdriver View Post
    Wait! Are you saying the Game Comission is handing out free game cams? OUTSTANDING!
    I*ll bet they have the really good ones too! Really nice of them Bunny Cops, ain*t it?!
    My game cam is password protected and registered with the mfg. You might take it but you won't ever get to use it.
    If we don't get Oz, we get stuck with Fetterman.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Location
    Berks County, Pennsylvania
    (Berks County)
    Posts
    2,894
    Rep Power
    21474848

    Default Re: Can Game Wardens Hang Trail Cameras on Your Private Property?

    Quote Originally Posted by Noah_Zark View Post
    PGC law enforcement generally do not need a warrant per current (longstanding) law; from the wall-o-text in the OP:

    Pennsylvania*s state constitution includes three Warrantless Entry Statutes (Pa. C.S.A. 303(c), 901(a)(2), 901(a)(8)) that are specific to the state*s game commission. These statues give wildlife officers the authority to enter private property, posted or otherwise, in order to conduct administrative inspections of persons, licenses, firearms, decoys, blinds, etc.

    Noah
    This is more actually frightening than 'regular' police authority. No probable cause needed. Just a license to trespass wherever they see fit to look for potential crimes.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Location
    Douglassville, Pennsylvania
    (Berks County)
    Posts
    9,356
    Rep Power
    21474855

    Default Re: Can Game Wardens Hang Trail Cameras on Your Private Property?

    Yeah, if you get busted poaching, the game warden has a free pass to look in your freezer any time he wants to.
    If we don't get Oz, we get stuck with Fetterman.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Location
    Ercildoun, Pennsylvania
    (Chester County)
    Posts
    5,013
    Rep Power
    21474851

    Default Re: Can Game Wardens Hang Trail Cameras on Your Private Property?

    Quote Originally Posted by Noah_Zark View Post
    PGC law enforcement generally do not need a warrant per current (longstanding) law; from the wall-o-text in the OP:

    Pennsylvania*s state constitution includes three Warrantless Entry Statutes (Pa. C.S.A. 303(c), 901(a)(2), 901(a)(8)) that are specific to the state*s game commission. These statues give wildlife officers the authority to enter private property, posted or otherwise, in order to conduct administrative inspections of persons, licenses, firearms, decoys, blinds, etc.

    Noah
    Ohio just lost those cases for Game Wardens not needing to bother with the 4th amendment of the US Constitution. PA is the next to suffer defeat at the hands of the Constitution.

    https://ij.org/case/ohio-warrantless-inspections/

    Jeremy, represented by the Institute for Justice, filed a federal lawsuit asking the court to hold that ODNR*s warrantless inspections violate the Fourth Amendment, because a simple recordkeeping requirement does not make it open season for government officials to barge into your place of business whenever they want. Jeremy*s lawsuit prompted the state to prohibit warrantless inspections. Furthermore, the state compensated Jeremy $5,000*a rough equivalent of the legal fees he incurred while defending himself from the bogus prosecution.
    There are no government officials or agencies that are immune to the US Constitution.

    We now live in an era which future generations will refer to as “the Great Deception”

Page 1 of 4 1234 LastLast

Similar Threads

  1. Trail cameras
    By gamecamera in forum Hunting
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: February 20th, 2017, 01:19 PM
  2. Two nice Game wardens
    By myblacktruck in forum Hunting
    Replies: 33
    Last Post: October 20th, 2010, 07:16 AM
  3. Trail Cameras
    By PaNovice-hunter in forum Hunting
    Replies: 3
    Last Post: October 10th, 2010, 02:12 PM
  4. Replies: 0
    Last Post: June 26th, 2009, 11:23 AM
  5. How much clout do Game Wardens have?
    By unclemoak in forum General
    Replies: 11
    Last Post: April 13th, 2008, 01:58 PM

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •