When a confrontation between a North Dakota landowner and a group of duck hunters went viral last month, we couldn't help but think how much we don’t want that to happen here in Wyoming. But then we remembered it already did, when a private landowner took four Missouri hunters to court for “corner crossing” to hunt on public land.
Those four hunters were found not guilty of criminal trespass by a Carbon County jury, but they face up to $7 million in damages as part of a civil suit, and issues facing hunters in the field still remain.
Last month we emailed you about a bill moving through Wyoming’s Joint Judiciary Committee that cleans up our hunting trespass law, providing clarity for hunters, landowners, and Game and Fish wardens. The committee forwarded the bill for consideration in the 2023 legislative session, and WY BHA will remain engaged on this issue as it moves forward. Hunter trespass is just one of the many laws that may require our attention in this session, and we will advocate to ensure our access to public lands and our right to hunt and fish, as enumerated in the Wyoming Constitution, are protected.
Hunting and angling are a way of life in Wyoming, and we know our members have years of experiences and insights from which we can learn. Your stories and perspectives are invaluable. You provide a voice and a face to the issues impacting hunters and anglers, and you help our decision-makers better understand the impact of these issues.
So we need to hear from you, and we have created a basic survey to capture your responses. We will use your feedback to help shape our engagement during the 2023 legislative session, and we may reach out to you to discuss your responses in more detail and to see if you'd like to engage directly on legislation that relates to your experiences. The survey takes approximately 5-10 minutes to complete and will be very helpful to our efforts in the coming months.
Thank you in advance for all you do for our public lands, waters and wildlife.
Across the nation ambiguities around the legality of accessing public lands at adjoining corners (popularly known as "corner crossing") prevent sportsmen and women from setting foot on significant portions of our public estate. Access to quality habitat on public lands is critical to sustaining our hunting heritage. As such, it's imperative that hunters fight for access and defend our public trust when necessary.
Take the corner crossing pledge and speak up on behalf of sportsmen and women for public access to your public lands.
By signing up we will keep you updated on corner crossing issues and our efforts to improve access to our public lands across the continent.