Confiscation and a $500 fine for a deer rifle with a loaded magazine but unload chamber in a open door vehicle on private land is a prime example of why Michigan gun laws are draconian. He should be able to do what ever he wants with his guns and vehicles on his own property as long as he is not poaching game or shooting in a careless or dangerous way.
My father and I got checked the same way in New Hampshire back in 1965. They checked all of the guns we had in the back of a slide in camper. We had just come back from hunting and were digging the truck and camper out of the snow where we had parked it earlier that morning. Fortunately, my father was a stickler for the rules.
The problem is due to the tree huggers and bambi lovers who have taken up many of the Fish and Game and Forest Ranger jobs. They would prefer to see hunting outlawed. Then the poor game animals would become over-populated, become underfed, weak and diseased and suffer a population collapse. Who would they blame that on?
Only hunting and fishing pays its own way. Footballl, baseball, basketball, soccer, etc all have public subsidies for facilities that cost the taxpayer far more that the tax revenue the sports generate.
"Confiscation and a $500 fine for a deer rifle with a loaded magazine but unload chamber in a open door vehicle on private land is a prime example of why Michigan gun laws are draconian. He should be able to do what ever he wants with his guns and vehicles on his own property as long as he is not poaching game or shooting in a careless or dangerous way."
I would tend to agree with you on this one. Normally, a C.O. would let this slide. The guy was on his own property with his own vehicle. He was not hunting from his truck or shooting out of it. BUT... His gun was not technically unloadedand in plain sight on the front seat and by merit of that, it was the duty of the CO to inspect his rifle. And check the rest of the truck for illegal game etc. As I mentioned, a Mi. CO does not need a seach warrant to trespass. All they need to see is someone in the act of hunting or fishing to check them out. Private or public land doesn't matter. If COs were limited to public land only, they wouldn't have much impact on poaching and illegal activity if they needed a search warrant first. All they need is probable cause. I have a strong suspicion that the landowner wasn't that cooperative with the CO, ran his mouth and the CO made his point as a comeback. The law is the law, draconian or not and I understand why loaded firearms are not permitted in vehicles, in a hunting situation. Had he been cooperative and respectful (which he probably wasn't) It is likely he would have gotten a verbal warning and that would have been that. Keep in mind the CO didn't know if he was a landowner, poacher, trespasser or what. I am not defending over zealous CO's but they take a lot of crap and when they do, what comes around goes around. My Grandfather was a Michigan Conservation Officer and he had some wild a** stories to tell.
Three years ago, I was deer hunting on an island in Lake Huron where I have a camp. I am headed south on a one lane private access two track and here comes a truck from the opposite direction. As a courtesy, I pulled into the first turn off to let the truck past. I was wearing an orange stocking hat, had been visiting another camp. It was about three in the afternoon and I was stone sober. The truck stops directly behind me and someone gets out. Immediately I recognize it is a CO, and specifically a woman CO from a post on the mainland that I had encountered on earlier occasions. She has a reputation for being the ultimate hard a** with an attitude. There aren't that many women CO's.
The conversation went like this: (She is looking for probable cause and has only an orange hat so far)
CO: "You hunting?"
Me: "Not right now but will this evening"
CO. "Where is your rifle?"
Me: "Back at my camp"
CO "You sure about that? Do you have any firearms in your truck" (and sticks her head inside my truck for look at the back seat and to sniff for booze).
Me: "I have a 357 loaded in my console. I have a CCW (and show it to her). Do you want to inspect the revolver? I will let you get in and get it out if you need to see it."
CO: "No. What do you have in the back? (I have a clamshell box cover).
Me: "Some tools and a spare tire. Have I done something wrong here?"
CO: "Where are you headed"
Me: "To my camp, about 1/4 mile up this road, on the right, top of the hill".
CO: Is your rifle there? (Trying to catch me up).
Me: Isn't that what I told you the first time you asked me? Yes it is. In the bedroom?"
CO: "Looks like your neighbor got a nice buck."
Me: "You mean Matt's son? That 12 point is one of the nicest I have seen taken."
CO: "Have a good day and be safe in the woods. Good luck hunting..."
See... I know how this game is played cat and mouse CO only needs probable cause. Catch me up in a fib, smell booze or find something to order me out of my truck and go through it. I volunteer nothing and answer questions directly and promptly. A deputy or state cop couldn't do this. A CO can and that's how they nail illegal activity. I could have had an illegally killed deer in the back but she couldn't come up with sufficient probably cause, by my statements, to have a look. Michigan CO's have a tough job to do and are given additional latitude in probable cause and chain of evidence over a regular police officer. It didn't matter one iota that she was on a private road. Had I not been wearing an orange stocking hat, she would have had no right to check me out.
Anyone NOT wearing orange during rifle deer season, hunting or not, is taking a chance.
I think it is wonderful so many women are taking the classes....I'd rather face a pit bull with his teeth bared than a woman who is scared of the weapon she has in her shaky hands....
I was raised with a whole flock of boys, on the end of a private road.... in the fifties......things such as " probable cause" were never heard of.... There was loads of subsistence hunters in our family....as the road belong to a sort of consortium of my family...no other people lived up there...A stranger was rare as hen's teeth....Deer ran all over the hills...we had to be careful not to hit them with our cars at night.....
I drove an area known for it's elk to get a count on the herd....G-son and I saw a58 elk....spring herds....Not a calf on the range...I think the wolves have pulled them all down..what a travesty when Gov. Palin said Arctic wolves out produced timber wolves two to one and grew much much bigger.why didn't they LISTEN......
I remember one old boy who pretty well fed the rest of the family during hard times....
We have so many new folks here....I was on a high mountain road not long ago....I pulled out for a fella'...As you might have guessed I have a NEED to do all my own driving......I'm not a good passenger...The fella didn't so much as wave a thanks...He stopped beside my car and told me how stupid it was for a woman to be driving on a twisty rocky road in the Forest......he informed me the road was in much to bad shape for a woman to drive...AHEMMM!
What I'm getting at is.....times have changed....wolves have been introduced to control the deer and elk population....soon tree huggers will own the woods....we will be extinct.....
So... When did Michiganders surrender their rights to the Conservation Officers? If a cop can't do it, a CO should not be able to do it. Do Michiganders give up their search and seizure rights when they get a hunting license? Sounds like a probable 'frog in the pot' situation. Hunters agreed to surrender some of their rights in an effort to catch poachers. Now they have NO rights. Hunting is not a privilege, it is a right. Driving on state roads is a privilege so some search and seizure forfeits may apply.
An what says a person with blaze orange is a hunter? She/he may just be an outdoorsman who likes to be safe from hunters.
And, importing wolves to trim the elk and deer herds is rediculous. Just reduce the fees for out of state hunters and let the hunters do the job. It will not mess up the balance that wolves can do. Is there a wolf hunting season like we now have in Idaho? The wolves were trimming too much of the elk herd and were no longer threatened so we got the right to hunt them.
No wonder Michigan is in such dire straits now. Sounds like a lousy government system.
Sorry... I support Michigans conservation officers. Long hours with low pay, usually 7 days a week and generally stretched pretty thin. The training they have to undergo is over and above what state troopers receive which amounts to a 9 month CO boot camp. Believe it or not, they are professionals and not nazis. one in five are accepted and the dropout rate is 50%.
Unless you flaunt the game laws, there is nothing to fear. Over the last 20 years or so, poaching has (had) become a huge problem in this state. It has been stemmed by tougher laws and providing more latitude to COs to catch voilators in the act. I don't believe they generally abuse their power, they play by the rules and go by the book. That's how it is in Michigan which is a different state that Wisconsin or Idaho.
Our DNR (aka "Do Nothing Right") is a totally different story. A bunch of pencil pushing morons sitting at desks making up crap as they go along. We have the same problems as discussed in other posts with introduction of wolves and coyotes to suppress deer herds. And all the while they are whining they have a budget shortage so they jack up the license fees and add more required permits. IE they just raised the doe permits from $4 to $15? Like that will discourage poaching? And after doing this, "found" $21 million unaccounted for in their budget? WTF? You want to label a bureaucracy a bunch of nazis? Start right at the top.
Trust me... CO's turn a blind eye toward "disappearing wolves". It is unknown how many there are in Michigans upper peninsula. According to the DNR, there are "as many as the public will tolerate", so translate that. It isn't uncommon to hear about wolves strung up on highway road signs.
Cormorants are another issue. A federally protected bird that has nearly runied the great lakes fishery. Out of the DNRs hands. Co's turn a blind eye to the thousands of these that have been killed by duckhunters. The population of those has finally started to come under control after fruitless attempts by DFW to control nesting. Since CO's work for the DNR and not the DFW, they consider the "illegal" control of Cormorants "not their problem" but full realizing it is the only real practical solution.
Lastly, Michigan Lower peninsula has a herd of around 1500 "Pet Elk". What a joke. They trim the heard by issuing lottery hunting licenses. There is about as much sport to Elk hunting in this state as there is going into a herd of cows picking one out and shooting it. They will walk right up to a human. The hilarious part is that the DNR has been in total denial that there are wolves (or cougars) in the lower. However both seem to be doing a great job of trashing the pet elk. Last winter, three wolves were shot while chasing an elk and theri carcasses dumped on the steps of the local DNR field office. For some reason this didn't make the papers.
I don't blame the CO's. They have a tough job and are stuck between rocks and hard spots with the public and the DNR moron management... not to mention Federal DFW morons. Often they have to make "grey zone calls" when it comes to game law infractions depending on intent or ignorance of the laws. They turn a blind eye to a lot of crap they know is wrong even if "illegal". Poaching isn't something they ignore or that I support.
I wasn't searched by the DNR officer. In the area I was, on the second day of deer season, there were no tourists in the area, ONLY hunters. I could have easily been drunk, had a loaded rifle in my truck or an illegal deer under the cover of my pickup bed. None of the above. Nor did the CO ask to see my hunting license. I wasn't hunting, or road hunting. Road hunting isn't legal in Michigan but is frequently done, especially in a remote area where the chances of running into a CO are slim. I was totally within my rights and that was never questioned. The only thing questioned was "was I hunting at that time" or not. No was an acceptable answer. The CO had no reason to think I was fibbing or concealing anything.
I might add that the Sheriff Deputy on the island knows all the property owners and is on a first name basis with all. It isn't unusual for him to stop a car he doesn't recognize and check them out with "Are you Lost?" or is "Everything OK?". The CO doesn't have this knowledge.
The pet elk herd should be managed for trophy blood lines. The lottery should limit the rack size. Unfortunately, most elk hunters want the biggest elk with the best genes to pass on. If the herd is being managed, then only allow 5% trophy tags. Idaho has considered a limit to trophy hunts to strengthen the herd.
I find it odd that poachers can make it out of the woods when they usually need four tires to drive out but only carry one spare tire.
I would love to see a bounty on poachers' truck tires. With GPS, the DFW or CO's could be easily directed to the poachers' loaded and stranded truck. Only licensed hunters can effectively put a stop to poachers. Idaho hunters have ratted out quite a few poachers lately. Those caught lose their hunting privileges for life, with firearms limitations attached.
Police don't top crime. They just catch the criminals after citizens turn them in.
btw, We had a CCW citizen's arrest a purse snatcher and hold him at gun point last week. A second CCW held the first CCW at gunpoint until the cops arrived and sorted out and arrested the original purse snatcher.
Pet elk hunting in Mi (lottery) is about 75% cows and 25% bulls. The hunter is shown by an appointed guide which animal is to be taken. It is regulated to the max. All the 'hunter"does is pull the trigger.
We also have an 800 RAP (Report All poaching) hot line which has proven very effective. In some instances rewards are paid if a poaching ring is broken up. This goes back to the discussion, again, about CO's having trespass and search power in excess of a regular law officer. Catching these guys red handed and on the spot is the bottom line, whatever it takes.
There have also been poacher stings where a decoy (fake) animal is set up in a likely looking spot. Co's (watching/waiting)bust the roadhunters who just cant' resist. I don't know if I have an issue with this sort of baiting or not. I would think it would cause roadhunter/poachers to think twice once the word got out. Firing a weapon out of a vehicle, especially on a public road, is in the top five offenses you don't want to get busted for. 20 years ago, that sort of thing was pretty frequent, $2500 fine and 90 days takes a lot of the fun out of road hunting. So does return fire should there happen to be hunters in the woods down range of the road hunters.
A purse snatcher and two CCWs. Larry, Moe and Curley?