Open Fields Doctrine

Are you aware of what the “Open Fields Doctrine” is ??? If yes, read on, if not, read on intently.

Basically, the Open Fields Doctrine is a concept that states… a Wildlife Agent may come on your private property, for any reason they determine, and at any time they determine. The Supreme Court has ruled on this already and ruled that a Wildlife Agent has the right to come on to your property at any time, for any reason… and does NOT need a warrant. HOWEVER… depending on an individual state basis, there may be some exceptions to this Supreme Court decision. Read on for the details.

Here is a video which does a good job describing the issue. The litigation talked about in the video is from our neighboring state of Tennessee. The video is only 12-minutes in length and is well worth watching.

Field & Stream put out a 3-part series on the issue and here are those articles:
Part #1:
Part #2:
Part #3:

Kentucky Law on the subject:
KRS 150-090:

SO… how do YOU feel on the subject ? If you are an owner of more than a lot-sized piece of property, are you OK with a Wildlife Agent coming on to your land and basically doing a warrant-less search, and/or placing trail cameras on your property ? And the reason I used the term “lot-sized” property is explained in the short video linked above. In short, the smaller the lot size, the better chance the entire property could be deemed “curtilage” However, if you own a large piece of property, you could be subject to this intrusion onto your land, without your permission.

I think we can all understand that the Wildlife Agents are trying to protect the wildlife. The underlying premise of the practice is to catch/stop poaching. However… what else can the practice uncover ? Zoning issues maybe, growing something you shouldn’t be (or is someone else trespassing on your property to grow something they shouldn’t be), or maybe your housing is not up to “code”… the list can go on and on (just use your imagination). Remember, although those areas of infractions are not in the Wildlife Agent’s purview, all it take is a disgruntled agent to simply make a phone call and the folks that can do something about it are showing up on your doorstep.

If you have some thoughts on this subject, please feel free to leave a comment (“Leave a Reply”) below and let the world know your thoughts on the subject.

Property Owners Cement Victory Against Warrant-less Searches and Hidden Cameras as State Declines to Appeal
Tennessee becomes the newest state to reject the “open fields” doctrine and provide constitutional protection to land.
See details HERE:
Explanatory video HERE:

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