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Trespassing Or Not ??

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Scenario # 1

We  enter a WMA and proceed to fish in the stream and head upstream.... fish for about 2 hours......then when we were done we decide to follow the trail back to the truck....once we left the water and start on the trail  a  woman on a golf cart approaches us and tells us we are on private land and everything from the bend in the stream and  upstream on both sides is private........I told her it wasnt posted ,  where we had entered....she said people just ignore the posted signs anyway, she was nice and we apologized for being on her land......I did try to charm her and was hoping to be granted access but no go.........Were we trespassing ??

 

Scenario # 2

We enter a WMA which has signs posted all along the road......we proceed to fish downstream ....when finished we decide its easier to follow the path through the woods and exit to the road....once we exit ,   the road has posted signs along it.....we did enter the WMA and there were no posted signs in the interior where we fished ??   Were we trespassing ??

 

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Since this is NJ, I'm going to say "Yes" on both counts.  If you were on private property that didn't belong to you and you didn't have permission to be there, then you were trespassing.  Then again, wtf do I know? 

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Yes and probably trespassing in water also since most boundaries go to the center line unless tidal water

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As for the first one - if it wasn't posted, and you were there for the purposes of hunting, fishing, or trapping - not trespassing. HOWEVER! Because she has now verbally told you that you do not have permission to be there, you WILL be trespassing the next time you step foot on that property (see the law above where it says, "or after having been forbidden so to trespass by the owner").

See NJ 23:7-1 here: https://law.justia.com/codes/new-jersey/2009/title-23/section-23-7/23-7-1/

Quote

A person who trespasses on the lands of another for the purpose of hunting, fishing, trapping, or taking wildlife, or attempting to hunt, fish, trap, or take wildlife, after notice bearing the name of the owner, occupant, or lessee thereof, forbidding the trespass, has been conspicuously posted by the owner, occupant, or lessee with intervisible signs displayed not fewer than ten to a mile along the exterior boundaries and at all roads, trails and rights-of-way entering such land, or after having been forbidden so to trespass by the owner, occupant, or lessee, shall be liable to a civil penalty

As for the second one - the INTERIOR does NOT have to be posted. As you see above, 23:7-1 only requires the owner to post the exterior boundaries (1 sign per tenth of a mile) AND must post at all roads, trails, etc. at the entrances. Sounds like you were on a trail - that trail that enters the property should have been posted - if not, then legally it is not properly posted and you were not technically trespassing.

I am only giving you the legalese of what 23:7-1 says. Invariably, people will reply back and say things like "you should not be where you don't know where you are" or "the CO is still giving you a ticket - have fun wasting a day off of work fighting it in court".

But you asked if you were trespassing or not - and legally, based on 23:7-1 you are not and you should not get ticketed for violating that statute.

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Mike, she only owns the left bank looking downstream.  Since I know where you were, I just checked the tax maps and she owns to the center of the thalweg (the deepest part of the channel is the dividing line, not the center point).  So she lied to you if you were on the right bank looking downstream, because that is state land and that is clearly the case.  

Looks like you then wandered downstream onto the Dufford property, and that is private land.  I don't fish that section, so I don't know about posting signs there.  

 

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Did the golf cart have all terrain wheels? Must have been a nice trail. You were trespassing, but her comments were interesting regarding folks ignore her posted signs.  The owner should post the trail. You and most sportsman will follow the rules. 

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3 hours ago, Bucksnbows said:

Mike, she only owns the left bank looking downstream.  Since I know where you were, I just checked the tax maps and she owns to the center of the thalweg (the deepest part of the channel is the dividing line, not the center point).  So she lied to you if you were on the right bank looking downstream, because that is state land and that is clearly the case.  

Looks like you then wandered downstream onto the Dufford property, and that is private land.  I don't fish that section, so I don't know about posting signs there.  

 

Went through all this on Private lands with a River running through it back in My Kayak Days, The Ruling was you could Float Paddle threw it if it was Determined Navigable Waters you have the Right of way.  no matter of property Lines.  Wading is another Matter it seems.  The State Lines on Delaware are not down the Center as explained by Bucksnbows.  The issues of fishing are Reciprocal between - NJ - PA But little known is No Alcohol in StatePark Stretches Rafters run into this Luckily the Areas are not Connected and just avoid the zones.   

Edited by 1957Buck

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1 hour ago, Bucksnbows said:

Mike, she only owns the left bank looking downstream.  Since I know where you were, I just checked the tax maps and she owns to the center of the thalweg (the deepest part of the channel is the dividing line, not the center point).  So she lied to you if you were on the right bank looking downstream, because that is state land and that is clearly the case.  

Looks like you then wandered downstream onto the Dufford property, and that is private land.  I don't fish that section, so I don't know about posting signs there.  

 

Downstream would be just a little further from where " Rudolph " was hooked if you know that area.....    If the State posts a WMA should they define the boundaries better ??  And I am happy she only owns the left bank as that is nice water.... it almost looks like Troutscapes designed it..........

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If it was farmland and not posted, then you were trespassing. If it was "woods" then you could have been "trespassing" but not punished for it. Once you are advised that you are trespassing then you can be charged. Farmland need not be posted. 

Edited by archer36
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From the Digest:

Trespass Law Hunters and trappers must have permission (oral or written) from the landowner or lessee prior to entering either posted lands or agricultural lands (which are not required to be posted.) Hunters also must obtain permission to enter posted land and agricultural land to recover deer. Hunters and trappers may not enter unposted land after having been forbidden to trespass by the owner, lessee or occupant either by verbal notice or when the land has been conspicuously posted with intervisible signs displayed not fewer than ten to a mile along the exterior boundaries and at all roads, trails and rights-of-way entering such land. If a hunter or trapper is charged with trespass, they must provide documentation of written permission in court for their defense. See page 71 for the Hunt SMART Courtesy Card.

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According to mazzgolf's quote, you are considered a trespasser, but not liable to a civil penalty until after being warned.   I had thought the posting laws were eliminated a long time ago, and it was no longer necessary to post private land as a warning.:think:

  Quote

A person who trespasses on the lands of another for the purpose of hunting, fishing, trapping, or taking wildlife, or attempting to hunt, fish, trap, or take wildlife, after notice bearing the name of the owner, occupant, or lessee thereof, forbidding the trespass, has been conspicuously posted by the owner, occupant, or lessee with intervisible signs displayed not fewer than ten to a mile along the exterior boundaries and at all roads, trails and rights-of-way entering such land, or after having been forbidden so to trespass by the owner, occupant, or lessee, shall be liable to a civil penalty

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The lady is attempting to keep people off of state owned lands.  She might actually believe she owns both banks, but the tax maps disagree.  

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Seems like most people that live near or on the border of land owned by the State or another government agency are always trying to "claim" that land as their own.

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tax maps can be way off, they usually dont show boundaries extending in road or water courses

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IMO yes, you were Trespassing. It is your responsibility to know the land you are on. 

BTW if you had an app like HuntonX your could quickly verify who's land you were on. I don't go in the woods without it.

Edited by Lunatic
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