Four hunters challenging criminal trespass charges in a corner-crossing case in Carbon County allege the operators of the Elk Mountain Ranch illegally harassed them while they were hunting and camping on public land.

The four Missouri men signed statements for a Wyoming Game and Fish officer who opened a law enforcement case and forwarded the complaints to the Carbon County attorney for review, according to court documents. Game and Fish case officer Jake Miller collected 12 signed pages on Oct. 15 that alleged “an abhorrent amount of hunter harassment” while the group spent about nine days hunting on BLM and/or state property near the ranch.

The dustup came as the men, camped on BLM land, used a ladder to climb over a fence-like obstacle at a four-corner checkerboard intersection of public and private land. The men said they never set foot on private land as they crossed kitty-corner from one public parcel to another to hunt on public land.

“Our group was watched, stalked and harrassed [sic] by these groups of individuals constantly from very early morning till hours past dark.”

hunter John Slowensky

Nevertheless, a Carbon County sheriff’s deputy cited Phillip G. Yeomans, Bradly H. Cape, John W. Slowensky and Zachary M. Smith on Oct. 4 for criminal trespass. All have pleaded not guilty. They asked Monday that the circuit court judge dismiss the charges.

Ranch employees spied on them to the point they couldn’t relieve themselves in private, stalked the group, harassed them in their tent, swore, yelled and intimidated them and caused one deer they were pursuing to run off, according to the allegations.

The bowhunters killed two elk and one deer but said one bag of game meat  – the “highest tied” in a hanging cache — went missing. At one point ranch manager Steve Grende followed them slowly for about a half mile as they walked, they wrote. He was in a pickup within about 30 yards while they were on public land, their statements say.

Elk Mountain Ranch did not return a call seeking comment regarding the allegations.

Game and Fish investigator Miller forwarded the statements to the Carbon County attorney’s office “for review,” according to an incident report dated Dec. 14. Carbon County Attorney Ashley Mayfield Davis on Tuesday would not comment on either the corner crossing or hunter harassment incidents, citing policies that preclude public discussion of matters that may be under investigation or in court.

A ruined hunt

The men told the following story in their statements: They planned their trip for about a year, arrived in the area on Sept. 26 and camped on BLM land near Elk Mountain for about nine days.

Soon after arriving they saw one or two pickup trucks regularly parked for hours on a road near their camp. The trucks’ occupants appeared to be watching them. “Our group was watched, stalked and harrassed [sic] by these groups of individuals constantly from very early morning till hours past dark,” Slowensky wrote.

A screenshot from OnX Maps of the mixed-ownership acreage traversed by the defendants. (Screenshot/OnX Maps)

The apparent surveillance went on practically unabated. “We proceeded to hide ourselves as best we could while dropping our pants and going to the bathroom,” Smith wrote. While hunting on public land, several times they heard or saw vehicles approaching them. At one point the men said the occupants of four different vehicles were watching them.

During one near encounter on public land, an ATV presumably driven by ranch employees scared a deer the hunters were stalking “over the hill,” Smith wrote.

The confrontations came to a boiling point on Oct 4 when, the men claim, Grende raced up to them in a pickup, yelled “WTF” and told them to get back to their camp.

“Steve [Grende] followed us within 20/30 feet in his vehicle for quite a long distance harassing us as we were trying to hunt legal public land,” Slowensky wrote. Smith added: “he claimed he was keeping our location for the Sheriff’s Department. He then claimed he was hunting but didn’t have any orange on.”

Game and Fish’s Miller then called the hunters and told them to return to camp, their statements said. Although Miller and at least one deputy had several contacts with the hunters, they had not yet issued any citations, the four wrote.

That changed.

“Deputy Pat #671 [identified in court documents as Patrick Patterson] came and told us he was ordered to write us criminal tresspass [sic] citations.” Cape wrote. Some Wyoming landowners have maintained that any incursion over the airspace above private land constitutes trespass.

“I questioned as to how we were tresspassing [sic] when we never had been on private land…” Cape wrote. “He [Patterson] said he didn’t know and that we could explain it to the Judge.”

That, Yeomans claimed, was another offense.

“The last instance of hunter harassment would come from the county attorney’s office which instructed a sheriff deputy to come to our camp and cite us from criminal trespass even though no law had been broken and we were told so, several times by law enforcement.”

The group aborted the expedition, which cost thousands of dollars, early with one hunting tag unfilled. The experience left a bitter taste.

“Although we never hid from anyone, we were always worried about confrontation throughout the entirety of our trip,” Smith wrote. “The doings of Elk Mountain Ranch employees ruined our 2021 Wyoming hunting trip that took us all year to plan.”

Added Slowensky: “An immense amount of time, effort, money and aspirations of personal enjoyment of going on my first elk hunt in the great state of Wyoming were extinguished due to the actions, false allegations, intimidation, greed and complete disregard of proper and legal usage of public property and public space by the mentioned groups and individuals …”

The harassment law

At issue is a Wyoming law that makes it illegal to interfere with “the lawful taking of wildlife.” The corner-crossing charges against the four are for criminal trespass, not a hunting violation.

A Wyoming attorney general’s opinion from 2004 states that corner crossing may not be a game-law infraction. A hunting trespass violation requires a person “to hunt or intend to hunt on private property without permission,” the opinion states.

A photograph purporting to show the corner in question. (GoFundMe)

The law also makes it illegal to interfere with hunters by scaring off wildlife. It also is a misdemeanor for any organization or association to harass a legal hunter, an infraction punishable by a fine of up to $10,000 on the first offense.

Aggrieved parties also can file a civil suit.

“Actual damages recoverable may include, but are not limited to expenditures for licenses, travel, outfitters and guides and special equipment and supplies to the extent the expenditures are rendered futile by the person’s conduct in violation of this section,” the law states.“If the trier of fact finds that the unlawful conduct was malicious, it may award punitive damage to the injured party,” the statute reads.

Angus M. Thuermer Jr.

Angus M. Thuermer Jr. is the natural resources reporter for WyoFile. He is a veteran Wyoming reporter and editor with more than 35 years experience in Wyoming. Contact him at angus@wyofile.com or (307)...

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  1. There is a series on You Tube with Randy Newberg right now that is on corner crossing. It is 2 parts right now but looks like it might end up 3 or more parts.it is very informative. The laws are not as black and white as you would think. The landowner and the ranch hands can be held accountable for breaking the Unlawful Enclosure Act. As far as owning the air above property, that isn’t an absolute. How far above the property is owned by the property owner.Would this still have been an issue if they had used a helicopter to access the public land?

  2. What’s even worse is the actual owner of Elk Mountain Ranch doesn’t even live in Wyoming. He’s a North Carolina resident. So it’s not like he’s just some guy trying to eek out a living and being encroached on.

  3. How high does elk mountain think their airspace goes?…. Big money buys lawyers and judges….maybe those ranchers should start paying what the taxes are on a section that they graze their cattle on, plus the environmental degradation that the cattle cause…charges should be filed on using motorized vehicles on public lands…hunters will have to band together and boycott the outfitters who use this land…

  4. Ranchers are land locking millions of acres all over the west virtually making public land privet, even going as far as locking gates on public roads and game and fish does nothing about it.

  5. Well it’s nice to see that Marlboro Man land has its share of twisted panty little b****** too we want it all don’t get in here our stuff! For obvious reasons the great state of Wyoming as well as the federal government need to straighten out this ridiculous situation so that people can enjoy what they’re entitled to in the spirit of being available of all citizens on public land. I never would have dreamed that so-called cowboys could act like little girls and be so petty. Yippee ki-yay

  6. The fact that these ranches believe they can prevent someone from public land is absurd. It needs to stop! They land lock hundreds of thousands of acres that the public has every right to use. Land locked land is another topic, but to throw a fit over Corning hoping is pitiful. If someone makes a serious attempt to corner hop on public land with no intent to purposefully step on private or hunt private to only get to more public land there should be absolutely no offense. Not to mention the fact that NOBODY can or can not prove exactly where those markers, where they crossed are whether you actually trespassed or not. The fact that dirty ranch thinks they can dictate and own the rights to that public land as well guide on it to line their pockets all the while harassing hunters because they found a way in should be punished and made an example of. Access is a top priority. QUIT LETTING LAND OWNERS LAND LOCK PUBLIC LAND!

    1. Steve, the hunters were observed by Game and Fish crossing the corner on their return, additional they freely admitted crossing the corner.

    2. I’d be interested to read the trespass law in Wyoming. In most states trespass consists of entering a property and refusing to leave the property when ordered to.

      1. Brett,
        You’re correct the term “enter” is used. By definition to enter is to pierce, penetrate, probe – mean to make way into something.

        Trespass Law in Wyoming:
        Trespass on private property is currently enforceable through both criminal and civil actions.

        Criminal Statutes
        Wyoming Statutes provide three crimes relating to unauthorized entry onto private property: criminal trespass, trespass to hunt, and trespass to collect resource data. The distinction among these crimes is found in the motive for entering the land and the requirement of knowing entry is not authorized.

        General Criminal Trespass
        To be guilty of criminal trespass, a person must enter or remain on the private property of another either: (1) knowing he is not authorized to do so; or (2) after being notified to depart or not to trespass.1 Under this statute, notice is given by (1) personal communication to the person by the owner or occupant, by law enforcement, or by an agent of the owner or occupant; or (2) by posting signs that are “reasonably likely to come to the attention of intruders.”2 Criminal trespass is a misdemeanor punishable by six months’ imprisonment, a fine of not more than $750.00, or both.

        Game and Fish Trespass
        Unlike the general criminal trespass statute, a person hunting, fishing, trapping, or collecting antlers does not need to know, or to have been notified, that they are trespassing to be guilty of trespassing under the game and fish statute.3 Distinct from most crimes, this statute allows a person to be convinced of a crime without a culpable mental state. It is enough to convict if a person enters private property without permission with the purpose to hunt, fish, trap or horn hunt. Trespass under this section is a misdemeanor punishable by up to six months in jail, a fine of not more than $1,000.00, or both.
        Hunting on private property at night is similar in not requiring a culpable mental state, but in addition, requires the hunter to have written permission from the landowner or lessee.4

        Criminal Data Trespass
        In 2015, the legislature enacted a law to prohibit a person from trespassing to collect resource data, which includes land-use data and data related to agriculture, minerals, and natural-resource issues. As amended the following year, this statute forbids entry without permission onto private land for the purpose of collecting resource data.5 Like the Game and Fish Trespass, this crime does not require a culpable mental state (knowledge of trespass) for conviction, so long as the person enters another’s private land for the purpose of collecting resource data without an ownership interest in the land, legal authorization to enter, or permission from the owner to enter. This statute also provides an enhanced penalty for this type of trespass – up to one year imprisonment, and a fine of not more than $1,000.00, or both. On subsequent conviction this law provides for a mandatory ten-day imprisonment and up to one year imprisonment, a fine of not more than $5,000.00, or both.
        1 W.S. 6-3-303.
        2 W.S. 6-3-303(a)(ii).
        3 W.S. 23-3-205(b).
        4 W.S. 23-3-205(d).
        5 W.S. 6-3-414.

  7. Too many instances like this happen across the state where hunters appear to be the bad guys. To treat a major source of revenue to the state like this is a travesty, in my opinion. We need more access, not less. And we need to figure out how best to aid our hunting public’s, not harass them. The Elk Mountain area has been tied up by the local landowners for so long, they think everything out there belongs to them, and that is readily observed in this instance.

  8. We should just call it what it is,and the fact is,these ranchers,want the public land for their own use. If I walk down a sidewalk,and reach my hand out over a lawn,then according to these ranchers,I am a trespasser.
    Airspace ownership is 500 feet,above a structure,not over land.

  9. It seems, the majority of the commenters have misread the article ?
    The charges stem from trespassing, not hunting on public land.
    Once a person crosses the vertical plane of your property line, they are trespassing.
    As a landowner you have the right to air space above your property to which is not considered navigable by flight.
    “Real property generally includes the surface of the land, the buildings and improvements upon that land, the subsurface, and the airspace above it”

    1. Wrong. The landowner has airspace rights 500 feet above his structures ,not the land. If that were the case, then when I am floating down a river on private,and I encounter a log,I can legally get out, walk around it,and go on my way. That is also using airspace,but NOT considered trespassing.

      1. Actually if you read United States vs Causby, you will understand the Supreme Court has ruled on landowners rights of “airspace”.
        Additionally Wyoming State Statues states the same. W.S. § 10-4-302 and W.S. § 10-4-303

        In regard to your analogy of water, and moving a log. Water is a shared resource which is owned by the State and people of the State. Water is not considered Real Property, because it can not be easily surveyed with boundaries due it’s a mobile resource.
        The ground under the water on the other hand, is Real Property and this is why you legally can’t step out of your boat to move a log, or drop anchor for that matter.

      2. If they own airspace there wood smoke from their fireplace is pollution of the air and there horses pooping in the ground is polluting the groundwater of others

  10. MULTI USE OF FEDERAL LANDS: The Black Hills of SD is a perfect example of how federal lands should be managed for multi use. The USFS public lands in the Black Hills are extensively used by four wheelers, hikers/campers everywhere, trout fishermen, deer hunters, pegmatite miners, fire wood cutters, 400,000 motor cyclists at Sturgis, loggers, rock collectors by the hundreds, geology field camps, wildlife photography, Mt. Rushmore, wilderness around Harney Peak, lakes and dams, and finally grazing allotment holders from about May 15 to November 1st. You don’t have to get the permission from grazing allotment holders to pan gold and the USFS land is surveyed and marked with those little yellow signs – I have stopped at the ranger stations many times for maps and info. The multi users in the forest get along very well and tolerate each other. True multi use of the federal lands as envisioned by Congress.
    These large ranches in Wyoming comprised mostly of federal lands are nothing but trouble, trouble, trouble. Quite honestly, as ranches, they suck. Niobrara County ranches are 85% private land, 8% federal and 7% state. The ranchers actually own the vast majority of their ranches and exercise almost complete control over the surface estate – and rightfully so. I’ve commented on how smart it is for Ted Turner and the other billionaires to buy land in places like western SD, western Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas where you actually own the land – these guys are too smart to buy these western ranches composed almost entirely of federal land. I noticed the Big Sandy Ranch was for sale for just over $18 million with over 1.1 million acres – it should be a $400 million ranch. Why so cheap? Because it sucks as a ranch – checker board land, hundreds of wild horses, split by I-80 and comes complete with the public and oil and gas activity. When you buy a ranch like this – the public comes with it – and that’s why its so cheap. If the Elk Mt. Ranch owners want to exercise complete control they need to sell the outfit and buy a real ranch in western Kansas not a bunch of federal allotments. If they can find a buyer for all of the problems associated with it. And when they bought the place, it came with out of state hunters. Dumb investment.

    1. YOU CAN NOT: Collect vertebrate paleontological and archaeological resources on federal land without a permit. If the grazing allotment permit holder observes you doing these things, they will act as the “eyes” for the BLM and call the BLM Ranger – multi use of federal land does not authorize these uses.

      1. It everyone Americans land who truly is the federal government people like us .And by the way how bout these ranchers pay the native American Indians land they stole from them and federal government stole from them hold them responsible from breaking treaty that is law breaking at its core .

  11. Won’t it be interesting if the court finds for the hunters ?? The legislature will have to scramble to pass a bill to protect the rancher’s rights. I will be interested to see far into outer space the landowners air space will extend. It is entirely possible that Elon Musk could end up in court for failing to obtain a lease for the space his satellites are occupying on the Elk Mountain ranch.

    1. Leroy,
      The legislature will not need to scramble at all, current Wyoming State Statue’s clearly define landowner rights to “airspace” above their property. In a nutshell, the landowner has rights to the “airspace” to the point of right of flight (navigable by flight of aircraft)
      See W.S. 10-4-303 and W.S. 10-4-302

  12. The purpose of use of BLM and State owned parcels os to be leased to ranchers, farmers and other private adjoining landowners to enhance their agri-business. The Public land are there to be used by the lease holder for those public lands benefit not for some out of State hunters or fishermen to use for recreational purposes. The leased lands by the rancher are used for his cattle or sheep operation. The grass that grows on that “public” parcel is what he or she needs to help that ranch sustain its economic viability. Like a farmer who farms needs his or hers public leased lands to make a living.. When hunters use those land to shoot deer, elk or ducks or pheasant they should by law have to coordinate those activities with the lease hold interest owner. Those public lands are a necessary part of their agri-business. My wife’s family has a cow calf ranch that extends onto the Laramie plains out of Platte County. I worked with multiple power line companies securing Permits (including Right of Entry Permits) to be on private and Public lands from Private Landowners and Public Agencies. My advice to out of Staters and locals is before hunting or any other activity that you want to do on public or private lands is find out who owns the land and has the leases get everyones permission to be on it and if you need to pay the private landowner for some grass loss damages to be on his leased lands or private lands do it with a smile and thank the Landowner for allowing you to hunt on his land or the lease lands he has an interest in. That is what good Wyoming folks do so do it too if you are from out of State as well. Oh yes I grew up in Wyoming. My family worked closely with ranchers and farmers and community members in their business so I do know what it takes to work to keep the peace. If you don’t like hunting around Elk Mountain area go some place else. Maybe Colorado.

    1. You are incorrect. The ranchers may lease the grazing rights but that does not preclude or eliminate any other legal uses of the land by the public. Sorry but if the land is state or BLM you can not block others from access. There is absolutely no reason why I should have to talk to anyone to access public lands and legally hunt, hike, ride, fish those lands. You should really check your facts as a grazing lease is just that a lease for grazing, nothing else.

      1. Robert Winn,
        State Land (School Sections) in Wyoming are not considered “multiple use” . In Wyoming State Lands generate income from grazing and mineral leases to benefit Schools in Wyoming.
        State Lands have many restrictions and differ from Federal Lands that are managed for Multiple Use by multiple users.

      2. Thanks you are right meant for grazing and politicians should hold federal government for breaking treaty so goes to show how corrupt governments is . Treaty were meant to be lived by

    2. Sorry, but public lands are “multi-use.” Your perspective that public lands are there “for the benefit of ranchers and farmers” is skewed. I have encountered ranchers and their employees that pretend they live in the old west where it’s perfectly OK to harass and threaten hunters that are not doing anything illegal or harming the agricultural users one damn bit. I have several phone numbers on speed dial just especially for these situations. The local wildlife office, the local government office be it BLM or USFS, and the local sheriff’s office. It sounds like Wyoming government is owned by big ranchers.

    3. You’ve got to be jesting, Mr. Keith Blow. LOL, I did get a good chuckle from your post. Let’s see…..the welfare rancher is paying a paltry $1.35 per animal unit (1 cow & calf or 7 sheep) a MONTH. Yep, that is ONE Dollar and THIRTY FIVE Cents. This is on PUBLIC Land…yet you suggest that a recreationalist should “coordinate” with and pay one of these welfare lease holders to access PUBLIC Land? Of course that’s not you’re really suggesting….this is a troll post to elicit responses. Well done, Mr. Blow!

    4. Ok, uh, yea, next time I want to hunt, rockhound, photograph wildlife etc on the BLM, I’ll first notify and seek permission from the $1.35 a month AU lease holder. Thanks for reminding us that the public really doesn’t own the land, only the welfare ranchers who’ve parked their livestock on it and have nubbed all the grass into dirt. On second thought, naw, I’m just going to do what I please, thank you very much.
      PS: I thought you were just messin’ with us all, nope – real person – real thoughts. Googled ya…., you’re sitting in California! What else could we of expected from you, Keith! I did get a good laugh at your expense, though 🙂

    5. Keith, BLM lands are managed for multiple use. You as a grazing permittee have no more right to the property than anyone else, except to run livestock. That’s the law. OSLI DOES manage state lands for revenue generation, with a stated bias toward ag production. However, where legal access exists, the public is under no obligation to coordinate with a leasee for access. Those are the laws. Plenty of land barons want to change the laws to deprive the general public of access to public resources. Despite your entitled characterization, this is by no means the ‘Wyoming way’. There are a lot more residents of Wyoming that want improved access to public resources. We will not tolerate lawless intimidation and cohersion from those that would rob us of even our current legal rights.

    6. Sorry, I’ll be damned if I will pay these ranchers? Anything, they should be paying a hundred times more than the 1.35$/ animal… crazy. Also stop the payments for crop damage, unless they allow access to these lands….

  13. It’s well past time for this issue to be addressed so everyone knows the rules. Further, landowners who purchase ranches with kitty corner public land holdings need to be aware that the public may to want to access those lands, and do it without setting foot on private holdings. At it’s core, there is no way someone can be cited for trespass if they never set foot on someone’s private land.

    Wyoming is a state with a rich agricultural heritage. Many accommodations are made for that industry. They drive equipment on public highways without paying fuel tax. They block roadways and impede traffic during livestock drives. They have vast land holdings while paying little in property taxes on those holdings. They graze public lands, at times overgraze, while paying a pittance back to the public for that benefit. I have no problem with most of that as long as compromise goes both ways.In this case, it appears that didn’t happen. I’m glad these sportsmen are fighting this in court. It’s just a shame it comes to this.

  14. As both a public land user and former ranch owner, I have some sympathy with both sides. Trespassers were common on our place even though there was no public land in the area.

    I was involved in an incident attempting to locate a groundwater well for a Wyoming municipality public water supply on a State section. The leasee denied access. He paid less in yearly lease fees than he would have paid in property taxes if he owned it.

    The entire issue of access of all sorts to public land including State property needs to be evaluated and revised. Public land should be for the public’s use and the legacy of landowners blocking access and harassing users needs to stop.

  15. I have lived right in the nest of these issues for the past twenty-four years as a business owner in Elk Mountain. I have seen the frustrations of many a hunting party from out of state and in-state addressing the issues of Area 125 which was encased by changing it to address the private property on Elk Mountain without a corner crossing law on the books either Federal or State. This has been going on even before this actual case as far back as 1969 when Palm livestock held the safari club hunting and fishing
    access. There are all kinds of excuses made, however, the reality is either address this issue not only at the State level but at the Federal level. The very Game Warden in the article is new in our Community. I had a discussion with him about this very subject. I enjoyed our conversation, why because he also sees the need for Change.

  16. Those Hunters from out of State could have saved themselves a lot of problems by simply meeting with the Private property owner who had the BLM and State of Wyoming leases and received permission to be on those lease hold interests lands AND maybe their private lands too.

    1. Keith, who are you trying to kid? Grazing leases have nothing to do with hunting access. Since the lease holder is trying to act as a defacto owner of public land, the best they would have gotten by contacting the landowner is an offer to pay for access to public land the rancher doesn’t have the right to control.

    2. Having spoken with many landowners about hunting, I have a feeling the type that would do the things described here are not the type that would have been swayed in their opinions by a phone call.

    3. The lease does not mean anything. BLM and state lands are public lands as a result it does not matter if he has the lease for grazing as the lease holder can not block other legal uses. Sorry but they do not own the public land or the wildlife.

  17. I’m glad this issue is being brought to the courts. The public needs access to public land. If the land owner will not do a land exchange, then they should by default be forced to provide access to the public’s land. Corner hopping isn’t trespassing.

    1. It is nearly impossible to lay a ladder across a corner fence like these men stated they did without realistically being on private lands. In ugh real world the ownership goes strait down and strait up for the lands ownership. Whether or not you physically touched the private lands dirt is moot. Criminal Trespass in Wyoming is a serious offense and is needed to protect Ranchers, Farmers and all Wyoming property owners. My understanding of that Law Is: if it is Legally Posted by the Property Owner “No Trespassing”. You have been given notice to not be there. I did a lot of land work in Wyoming over the years and we always went to a landowner first to get their permission to be on private and public lands they had leases on whether BLM or State lease lands. That is what being a Good and Respectable Hunter does as well as a Oil and Gas exploration company does or a power line person does in Wyoming and most all other western States.

      1. Not hard at all. Sorry but I have 5 year olds in PE that can step on the black tiles and not step on the white. If there is a section marker at that location it is easy to step from on corner to the other without touching the private. If a kindergartner can step on the hopscotch court from one box to another and not touch the diagonal then an adult can easily step over a section marker without ever touching the private. Sorry but it is not criminal trespass unless you enter the property.

        1. Robert Winn, do you realize the kids in your PE class physically crossed the “vertical plane” when the kids hopscotch across the floor ? When a corner section post is placed by a surveyor, the center of the cap is typically mark with a dot or triangle with a dot. The dot is technically the corner section, this dot is no larger than a pencil lead.

      2. Well, there you go again, Mr. Blow! And once again, thanks for the chuckles! It didn’t take you long to catch what you were casting for, here.

      3. Blow- The lack of your knowledge on the subject, and the complete ignorance to the problem at hand is sickening. It is very clear that you have absolutely no clue what you are talking about. Grazing leases have nothing to do with the matter. Wyoming does not require property owners to “post” their private property boundaries…that is for the Sportsman to know and abide by. The argument of owning air space is completely ridiculous as well. Just as a landowner does not own the water running through their property in creeks or rivers, they can not own the air that is constantly moving and shifting. The only reason this was ever brought up is because of people (like the Elk Mountain ranch owner) that were also confused on the subject and wanted to create a law that was non-existent. For obvious reasons there has been a lot of debate back and forth between parties for many years if corner crossing should be legal or illegal. It all comes down to greed. There needs to be change and I congratulate these sportsmen on their fight for change.

      4. Wyoming ranchers and federal government need to give back land to the native American they stole from in the treaty government signed nobody wants to call them out so I will .

      5. Keith…I’ve knocked on hundreds of doors while coyote hunting, 99% say go ahead, close the gates…when I bring up deer, elk, or pronghorn hunting it’s 99% no, or sure for 1000$…. I’d sure like to meet that first SOB who paid to hunt….

    2. Zach: You said the magic words ” LAND EXCHANGE “. The whole entire checker board pattern needs to be consolidated into private holdings of considerable size, federal pastures of considerable size ans state sections. The ranchers along the Cheyenne River did a large land exchange withe BLM many years ago – 42,000 acres went both ways. There’s no excuse for not taking a proactive approach which would eliminate most of these problems. Admit it, the 1800s granting of checker board land to the railroads created a real land ownership mess and we now have to clean it up. after the dust settles on this squabble the residents of southern Wyoming need to get started on this land exchange ASAP – the Cheyenne River ranchers saw the need for land exchanges years ago!!

  18. It is unfortunate that the hunters in question the landowner and ranch employees have to even be having this battle. There should be definte ruling in both state and federal laws about corner crossing, and the law should be available in the Wyoming Game and Fish handouts and website so there is no question whether a sportsman is trespassing or not. The hunters had a responsibility to find out the law about corner crossing when they new that was their intent for the trip they had been planning. The ranch and employees have had similar cases in the past and the ruling was in favor of the landowner, so they were only conducting themselves on past rulings, can’t blame them for there actions.

    1. That is the problem there is no rule. Under the hunting laws they were perfectly legal to do what they did. Under WY statute, there is a little gray area here, but no one has ever been charged with criminal trespass for this… The DA in this case was tired of being harassed by the land owner and finally decided to charge the hunters, despite the fact that the officers did not. The hunters were not charged until the DA was contacted by the ranch and then the DA forced the officers to write the charge despite the officers not seeing it as a violation since the hunters never once set foot on or touched the private land.

      1. Land owner can eat cow patties too if u want to push the issue I will go there my self and make a example what is right dont care what type of money he has make it wild west all over again

  19. It is really hard to believe that ranch had nothing else to do but harass hunters. In the fall of the year there are other things to be done getting ready for winter. Is that place run by a non-native Wyoming person? In my nearly 80 years here I have never heard of a native born Wyoming citizen doing such a thing. That sort of crap is happening because of the influx of outlanders from heavily populated areas who don’t want to share “their” space. We how have locked gates, armed patrols on a lot of the ranches here because their owners bought up old places and moved here from elsewhere. I don’t imagine they shared their toys as children either!

    1. Yes the ranch owner is a billionaire from North Carolina. Truly Sad. He brags about owning a mountain in Wyoming.

      1. Billionaire no big deal u ever see a billionaire ride his horse right out of town .Native Americsns deserve their land back .

  20. I feel for the hunters, the land owner and his employees think the BLM land is theirs now. They use it as if they own it. It like they are feudal lord and we know who the law works for in the good old days. I sure hope these hunters get a fair shake in Wyoming court system. The world is watching! We need to change this to assess to all public lands for the American people .

  21. On a 2400 acre ranch, the BLM owned 35 acres in the middle of the ranch. No possible access without trespassing. It was a constant battle to keep hunters from tramping across the ranch to the 35 acres which was unmarked. Trespass law be damned. They had a license to hunt on the 35 acres and wanted to fight over it!

    1. “No possible access without trespassing. It was a constant battle to keep hunters from tramping across the ranch to the 35 acres which was unmarked. Trespass law be damned.”

      As you know, they did not step foot on private land. It isn’t difficult to stay on public land with today’s technology. Trespass law wasn’t being damned nor were they trying to hunt on private land.

      We all understand what is going on here. Landowners want to claim the public land as their own. Any reasonable person can see that no harm came to the rancher in this case. None hunted on their land. It doesn’t appear that the hunters threatened or harassed anyone. They acted like responsible hunters as far as we can tell. On the other hand, it sure looks like the rancher was out to harass the hunters.

      Landowners all over the USA have land next to public land that isn’t boxed in. They have no problem sharing the public land with others.

      1. I’ve heard stories of people actually getting helicopters to the top of Elk Mountain and the landowner sends his cronies up there to scare all the Elk! The landowner is a billionaire from North Carolina and he goes back home bragging to his buddies that he owns a mountain in Wyoming!! Sure hope the courts rule in favor of the hunters! Elk Mountain needs to be opened back up for the enjoyment of the public!!!

  22. concerning these serious allegations, they need to be addressed in both state and federal court – two actions filed at the same time – and full depositions must be taken from the Elk Mountain Ranch employees. First I heard the Attorney General’s Office had already issued a legal opinion on the matter – its my experience that county attorneys don’t read the AG’s opinions; and therefore, don’t know the current legal status of many issues. This must be pursued in court to the fullest extent allowable. The county and Game and Fish might even be sued over these allegations – not just the Elk Mountain Ranch and its employees individually. In addition, the BLM should be petitioned to revoke elk Mountains federal grazing permits. Don’t these people realize they can individually be sued for behavior like this??? They had best start looking for lawyers and setting aside big bucks for legal fees. These guys from Missouri might end up owning the Elk Mountain Ranch when the dust settles on this one.

    1. Since federal land was involved in this harassment, federal law enforcement such as BLM Rangers and the FBI and the US Attorney’s Office such immediately become involved in this investigation – if any criminal acts were involved all emails, phone calls and written evidence must be preserved – none can be destroyed or deleted – this is a federal law enforcement case just as much as not more than a state case and the feds need to step in at this point. I previously commented about the FBI investigating a friend of mine at Lance Creek and finding absolutely no violations – I would hope they likewise investigate Elk Mountain and the others like they did my good friend. Time to show your stuff FBI.

  23. Wy State Statute 23-3-405 (Hunter Harassment). Very surprised that the hunters could persuade a Wyoming Game Warden to pursue these charges since the G & F is….and has been in bed with the big landowners for years.