American Hunter - June 2013 - 24

firstlight
Dispatches from the Hunting World

So You Meet a Game Warden
In The Field ...
By James A. Swan, Ph.D.

J

ust when does a law enforcement
officer have the right to search
someone and seize property? The
Fourth amendment states: "The
right of the people to be secure
in their persons, houses, papers, and
effects, against unreasonable searches
and seizures, shall not be violated, and
no warrants shall issue, but upon probable
cause, supported by oath or affirmation,
and particularly describing the place to
be searched, and the persons or things
to be seized."
Do you know how the Fourth Amendment applies to game wardens?

My first experience with this was
in the Sacramento Valley of California,
where finding a place to hunt is a challenge. Most of the land is private and
refuge access is by reservation only. I well
recall a December day at the Sacramento
nWr where I waited in the "sweat line"
until some hunters left and my number
was called. I eagerly drove out into the
marsh, parked, loaded up my marsh cart,
pulled on waders and began walking to
my assigned blind. As I exited the parking area, a game warden approached and
asked to see my hunting license. I had
already shown my license at the check
stand, but not my driver's license, which
confirmed that the guy on the license
june 2013 ❘

was really me. Then he asked to check
my gun to see if there was a plug in my
870 Remington that limited me to three
shells. No warden had ever asked for my
gun, but this was the first time I had ever
been checked by a game warden when
hunting. So, I handed him my gun, and I
passed that test.
He asked about the number of shells I
had-25 was the limit. I showed him my
shell belt. Then he said, "I'd like to check
your backpack to see if you have only 25
shells."
Before I could say "yes," he reached
into my backpack. Wouldn't you know it,
he found two shells from a previous hunt
that had slipped under gear in the bottom.

22 ❘  americanhunter.org


http://www.americanhunter.org

American Hunter - June 2013

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of American Hunter - June 2013

American Hunter - June 2013 - 1
American Hunter - June 2013 - 2
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American Hunter - June 2013 - 92
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