Game warden runs into rock on a section line. Farmer in trouble

Pages

434 posts / 0 new
Last post
Jake G's picture
Jake G
Offline
Joined: 7/17/11
Game warden runs into rock on a section line. Farmer in trouble

https://www.facebook.com/joel.heitkamp/posts/532195456882378

sorry the only link I could find to this story was on Heitkamp's FB page. What I gathered was a group of deer hunters were hunting some property last fall that they had permission on. They traveled down a section line and parked and began walking. In the meantime, a Stutsman county game warden spotted the group and started down the same section line to check things out. He was not paying attention and ran his truck into a very large rock causing major damage to his rig. Now the state is suing and charging the farmer who had placed the rock along the trail. What is everybody's opinion on this?

eyexer's picture
eyexer
Offline
Joined: 2/28/07

let him have it.  damn farmers think they own the section lines. 

 

duckman1302's picture
duckman1302
Offline
Joined: 4/18/11

If it was "placed" there by the farmer, he indeed is in the wrong. Section lines can be traveled by anyone regardless of whether or not they have permission on adjacent lands.

Tim Sandstrom's picture
Tim Sandstrom
Offline
GREENHORN
Joined: 7/14/03

 They apparently know without a doubt this farmer intended to place a rock to cause damage?  Was this an established trail?  I know section lines cannot be obstructed or they can be driven on even without an established trail. But if some rocks got put on it and wasn't a prairie trail I do not think there is an issue. Especially if the entire section line wasn't obstructed. 


 

 

Kirsch's Outdoor Products | Fargo, ND | 701-261-9017 Garmin GPS Hunting Maps
Liebel's Guide Service | Williston, ND | 701-770-6746 liebelsguideservice.com
Jig-em-Up Guide Service | Grand Forks, ND | 701-739-9198 jig-em-up-guide-service.com

 

 
guywhofishes's picture
guywhofishes
Offline
GREENHORN
Joined: 5/4/07

this thread has tremendous pissing match potential
http://www.honeysucklerose.co.nz/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/homer-eating-popcorn-small-c7873.jpg

 

Pinecone, JR.'s picture
Pinecone, JR.
Offline
Joined: 10/8/10

let the games begin

I'll catch more eye's than you

Meelosh's picture
Meelosh
Offline
GREENHORN
Joined: 5/26/06

So, question. MUST there be driving access or is just walking access guaranteed?

As far as the game warden goes, bet he won't do that again.

Is it impious to weigh goose music and art in the same scales? I think not, because the true hunter is merely a noncreative artist. Who painted the first picture on a bone in the caves of France? A hunter. Who alone in our modern life so thrills to the sight of living beauty that he will endure hunger and thirst and cold to feed his eye upon it? The hunter. Who wrote the great hunter's poem about the sheer wonder of the wind, the hail, and the snow, the stars, the lightnings, and the clouds, the lion, the deer, and the wild goat, the raven, the hawk, and the eagle, and above all the eulogy to the horse? Job, one of the great dramatic artists of all time. Poets sing and hunters scale the mountains primarily for one and the same reason--the thrill of beauty. Critics write and hunters outwit their game primarily for one and the same reason--to reduce that beauty to possession. The differences are largely matters of degree, consciousness, and that sly arbiter of the classification of human activities, language. If, then, we can live without goose music, we may as well do away with stars, or sunsets, or Iliads. But the point is we would be fools to do away with any of them. 

Pinecone, JR.'s picture
Pinecone, JR.
Offline
Joined: 10/8/10

you beat me to it and got homer

I'll catch more eye's than you

Dick McFiddleton's picture
Dick McFiddleton
Offline
Joined: 4/9/14

 Warden shouldnt have hit the rock.

eyexer's picture
eyexer
Offline
Joined: 2/28/07

gst in 5.4.3.2.1.....

 

skoalie's picture
skoalie
Offline
LEGEND
Joined: 1/13/07

 Easy solution. Don't drive like a dumb ass. It was a rock. Not like it jumped out in front of him.

 


"Some days you eat the bear, some days the bear eats you…"
Mossy Oak ProStaff - Make A Difference, Get Involved.
7mmMag's picture
7mmMag
Offline
Joined: 9/28/05

I would make the farmer pay for it too. This state doesn't have enough money coming in to pay for a new pickup

Pinecone, JR.'s picture
Pinecone, JR.
Offline
Joined: 10/8/10

what happened was the farmer cut down the shelter belts for 5 more feet of field. then it flooded "drain tile", which eroded the boulder and BAM bad driving.

I'll catch more eye's than you

arrowdem's picture
arrowdem
Offline
GREENHORN
Joined: 1/20/12

 well if thats the case im gonna take my pick up that i want to upgrade anyway and start driving down section lines with my eyes closed!

 Problem solving is hunting. It is savage pleasure and we are born to it.

WormWiggler's picture
WormWiggler
Offline
Joined: 8/29/09

I wonder how interesting this would be if it was a section of harrow teeth.......

Image result for pot stirring crazy lady gif

in other news, now my laptop smells awful from going to J. Heitkamps FB page...

                                                                                                                         

guywhofishes's picture
guywhofishes
Offline
GREENHORN
Joined: 5/4/07

WormWiggler Said:
I wonder how interesting this would be if it was a section of harrow teeth.......

Image result for pot stirring crazy lady gif

in other news, now my laptop smells awful from going to J. Heitkamps FB page...

ha ha.. mine too

the comments there are getting to the "F the bastards! I'm posting all my land!" point

this social media thing is making everyone far less sociable


 

Jake G's picture
Jake G
Offline
Joined: 7/17/11

This is Mr. Bear's side of the story

Dear Editor,
My name is Donald Bear. I currently farm both north and west of the City of Jamestown. I have lived in Stutsman County my entire life, over sixty (60) years. On July 2, 2014, I was convicted of a Class B Misdemeanor. The conviction was the result of allegations that I placed an obstruction on a section line, which impeded the public’s r...ight of way. As a result of the conviction, I am ordered to pay a $750.00 fine, and full restitution in excess of $12,000.00 for damage that occurred to a vehicle operated by a Game Warden with the North Dakota Game and Fish Department.

Here is my story. Last summer, after the completion of the wheat harvest, but prior to the soybean harvest, I pulled several large rocks from different fields. I placed some of the rocks in rock piles in the center of fields; some of the rocks I placed on the edges of fields. One particularly large rock, approximately four (4) feet, by three (3) feet, I placed near a section line in the grass near a bush.

Fast forwarding a few months to November 23, 2013, the last day of deer season, two vehicles carrying hunters drove down the section line in question. Both of the vehicles saw the rock, went around the rock, and continued on to hunt with four out of the five hunters exiting the vehicles to walk for their deer. As the hunters were walking, they were spotted by a Game Warden by the name of Greg Hastings. Mr. Hastings drove to intercept the hunters, initially driving down the section line. The hunters observed Mr. Hastings traveling at a significant rate of speed (25-50 mph); too fast to be driving down a section line. The hunters observed Mr. Hastings depart the well-established path down the section line, and then strike the rock with his State owned vehicle.

The hunters, concerned for Mr. Hastings’ well-being, went over to the truck. Mr. Hastings told the hunters that he “was not paying attention,” that he felt “dumb,” and Hastings admitted that he was “watching the hunters rather than the road.”

Mr. Hastings was driving a 2013 Ford F150 XLT, not a small or delicate vehicle. After the accident, Hastings called his supervisor, Mark Pollert, to inform him of what happened. Hastings was traveling at such a high rate of speed that Hastings and Pollert literally had to pick up pieces of Hastings’ truck, and then tow it back to the State owned shop. On the way back to the shop, Hastings or Pollert contacted the North Dakota Highway Patrol to report the accident. It was difficult for the highway patrol to investigate the accident, when all of the witnesses and the physical evidence had already been removed by the State employees.

The State’s Attorney charged me criminally with Obstruction of Section Line, under Sections 24-06- 08, 12.1-32-01(6), 24-12-05 of the North Dakota Century Code. I tried to settle the matter civilly, but the State refused. In fact, if the State had brought a civil complaint, rather than a criminal one, my farm liability insurance would have covered all of the damage to Hastings’ State owned vehicle. Rather than compromise at all, the State demanded a trial.

At trial, the prosecutor asked me if I had permission from the township or county to place the rock where I had placed it. My answer was no, that I did not have permission. However, there is long established precedent regarding the placement of rocks, and other items near section lines. In a recent case, Kropp v. Gengler, Gengler planted a new, full shelter belt. The first row of trees in the shelter belt was one foot from the section line, well within the right of way. Kropp petitioned the Stutsman County State’s Attorney’s Office to have the trees removed from the section line. All of Kropp’s attempts failed and the County refused to prosecute!

Throughout my entire life, and my decades of farming, I have personally witnessed rock piles on or near section lines dozens of times. In some instances the rock piles are not directly on the section line, like in my case, and sometimes the rocks are right on the section line. In all of these other instances, the County has consistently allowed these rock piles to occur.

In fact, during a recent spring flood, with the spillway running over, the County was begging all of the local farmers for their rocks, especially those rocks close to or on roads and section lines. The rationale was that rocks located on or near roads and section lines would be easier for the County to collect. Several tons worth of rocks were hauled to property owners along the Jamestown Dam, and into the city itself. I donated what I had to the City of Jamestown and Stutsman County.

All of this demonstrates a clear precedent with regards to rocks and rock piles near and on section lines. The County not only is aware of and approves this practice, but they even rely on this practice in times of need. The County’s actions for the last several decades have given me and the other farmers in the county, the unspoken permission that our practice of placing rocks on or near section lines is acceptable, and in fact, the preferred method of storing rocks pulled from our fields.

Throughout my life I have always been a law abiding citizen with respect for the judicial system and for the State of North Dakota. However, gone are the days when I viewed game wardens as symbols of pride, integrity, and honesty. My experience in this matter has shown me, that at least in this instance, the driving force behind all of the State’s actions were to exert its power and authority, while claiming no responsibility for the actions of its employees. My faith in the system and in the State of North Dakota has been irrevocably damaged.

The Assistant State’s Attorney in this matter did her job by the book, and while I have no issue with her personally, I feel that she failed to see the broader implications, and the ramifications this decision will have within the community as a whole. The Assistant State’s Attorney seemed disconnected from the big picture, not even knowing the exact location where the incident occurred. This community is one proudly tied to agriculture. Local farmers work hard, and look to work together with our local governments towards shared goals. However, my case demonstrates that the State of North Dakota is now more concerned with protecting its employees when they screw up, than protecting local farmers.

You can bet land that I control will be posted, not because I oppose hunters or hunting, but because hunters attract game wardens and game wardens are a real threat!

Sincerely,

Donald M. Bear

Are the good times really over for good?

I'm gonna guarantee that buck a ride in the puckup truck!

Tim Sandstrom's picture
Tim Sandstrom
Offline
GREENHORN
Joined: 7/14/03

Well written. 


 

 

Kirsch's Outdoor Products | Fargo, ND | 701-261-9017 Garmin GPS Hunting Maps
Liebel's Guide Service | Williston, ND | 701-770-6746 liebelsguideservice.com
Jig-em-Up Guide Service | Grand Forks, ND | 701-739-9198 jig-em-up-guide-service.com

 

 
Tim Sandstrom's picture
Tim Sandstrom
Offline
GREENHORN
Joined: 7/14/03

 Ps

i think it is hilarious Joel is using Facebook. He was always pretty adamant good ole radio was king and KFGO was the kings of kings. I see McFeely always twitter and booking too. 


 

 

Kirsch's Outdoor Products | Fargo, ND | 701-261-9017 Garmin GPS Hunting Maps
Liebel's Guide Service | Williston, ND | 701-770-6746 liebelsguideservice.com
Jig-em-Up Guide Service | Grand Forks, ND | 701-739-9198 jig-em-up-guide-service.com

 

 
Pheasant 54's picture
Pheasant 54
Offline
GREENHORN
Joined: 5/8/07

As I read it the rock was not blocking the section line but may have been on the line a little , hell if they are going to prosecute this guy , they better get after every farmer in the area I hunt . Section lines are not blocked but there is no way you can drive straight down them.  Between rock piles , rocks etc you are always moving right or left , I am not complaining as I can still drive thru easily .

My guess overzealous warden , thought he had a vio , and it was balls to the walls

duckman1302's picture
duckman1302
Offline
Joined: 4/18/11

Jake G Said:
This is Mr. Bear's side of the story

Dear Editor,
My name is Donald Bear. I currently farm both north and west of the City of Jamestown. I have lived in Stutsman County my entire life, over sixty (60) years. On July 2, 2014, I was convicted of a Class B Misdemeanor. The conviction was the result of allegations that I placed an obstruction on a section line, which impeded the public’s r...ight of way. As a result of the conviction, I am ordered to pay a $750.00 fine, and full restitution in excess of $12,000.00 for damage that occurred to a vehicle operated by a Game Warden with the North Dakota Game and Fish Department.

Here is my story. Last summer, after the completion of the wheat harvest, but prior to the soybean harvest, I pulled several large rocks from different fields. I placed some of the rocks in rock piles in the center of fields; some of the rocks I placed on the edges of fields. One particularly large rock, approximately four (4) feet, by three (3) feet, I placed near a section line in the grass near a bush.

Fast forwarding a few months to November 23, 2013, the last day of deer season, two vehicles carrying hunters drove down the section line in question. Both of the vehicles saw the rock, went around the rock, and continued on to hunt with four out of the five hunters exiting the vehicles to walk for their deer. As the hunters were walking, they were spotted by a Game Warden by the name of Greg Hastings. Mr. Hastings drove to intercept the hunters, initially driving down the section line. The hunters observed Mr. Hastings traveling at a significant rate of speed (25-50 mph); too fast to be driving down a section line. The hunters observed Mr. Hastings depart the well-established path down the section line, and then strike the rock with his State owned vehicle.

The hunters, concerned for Mr. Hastings’ well-being, went over to the truck. Mr. Hastings told the hunters that he “was not paying attention,” that he felt “dumb,” and Hastings admitted that he was “watching the hunters rather than the road.”

Mr. Hastings was driving a 2013 Ford F150 XLT, not a small or delicate vehicle. After the accident, Hastings called his supervisor, Mark Pollert, to inform him of what happened. Hastings was traveling at such a high rate of speed that Hastings and Pollert literally had to pick up pieces of Hastings’ truck, and then tow it back to the State owned shop. On the way back to the shop, Hastings or Pollert contacted the North Dakota Highway Patrol to report the accident. It was difficult for the highway patrol to investigate the accident, when all of the witnesses and the physical evidence had already been removed by the State employees.

The State’s Attorney charged me criminally with Obstruction of Section Line, under Sections 24-06- 08, 12.1-32-01(6), 24-12-05 of the North Dakota Century Code. I tried to settle the matter civilly, but the State refused. In fact, if the State had brought a civil complaint, rather than a criminal one, my farm liability insurance would have covered all of the damage to Hastings’ State owned vehicle. Rather than compromise at all, the State demanded a trial.

At trial, the prosecutor asked me if I had permission from the township or county to place the rock where I had placed it. My answer was no, that I did not have permission. However, there is long established precedent regarding the placement of rocks, and other items near section lines. In a recent case, Kropp v. Gengler, Gengler planted a new, full shelter belt. The first row of trees in the shelter belt was one foot from the section line, well within the right of way. Kropp petitioned the Stutsman County State’s Attorney’s Office to have the trees removed from the section line. All of Kropp’s attempts failed and the County refused to prosecute!

Throughout my entire life, and my decades of farming, I have personally witnessed rock piles on or near section lines dozens of times. In some instances the rock piles are not directly on the section line, like in my case, and sometimes the rocks are right on the section line. In all of these other instances, the County has consistently allowed these rock piles to occur.

In fact, during a recent spring flood, with the spillway running over, the County was begging all of the local farmers for their rocks, especially those rocks close to or on roads and section lines. The rationale was that rocks located on or near roads and section lines would be easier for the County to collect. Several tons worth of rocks were hauled to property owners along the Jamestown Dam, and into the city itself. I donated what I had to the City of Jamestown and Stutsman County.

All of this demonstrates a clear precedent with regards to rocks and rock piles near and on section lines. The County not only is aware of and approves this practice, but they even rely on this practice in times of need. The County’s actions for the last several decades have given me and the other farmers in the county, the unspoken permission that our practice of placing rocks on or near section lines is acceptable, and in fact, the preferred method of storing rocks pulled from our fields.

Throughout my life I have always been a law abiding citizen with respect for the judicial system and for the State of North Dakota. However, gone are the days when I viewed game wardens as symbols of pride, integrity, and honesty. My experience in this matter has shown me, that at least in this instance, the driving force behind all of the State’s actions were to exert its power and authority, while claiming no responsibility for the actions of its employees. My faith in the system and in the State of North Dakota has been irrevocably damaged.

The Assistant State’s Attorney in this matter did her job by the book, and while I have no issue with her personally, I feel that she failed to see the broader implications, and the ramifications this decision will have within the community as a whole. The Assistant State’s Attorney seemed disconnected from the big picture, not even knowing the exact location where the incident occurred. This community is one proudly tied to agriculture. Local farmers work hard, and look to work together with our local governments towards shared goals. However, my case demonstrates that the State of North Dakota is now more concerned with protecting its employees when they screw up, than protecting local farmers.

You can bet land that I control will be posted, not because I oppose hunters or hunting, but because hunters attract game wardens and game wardens are a real threat!

Sincerely,

Donald M. Bear

This changes things a bit. I was under the impression it was in the middle of the section line. Now I know it's just one guys word against the other, but if it was indeed off the side of the section line then it's completely the game warden's fault for not paying attention. If, however; it was in the middle of the section line he is liable. I would have to see the rock myself to determine my opinion on this, but my opinion doesn't really matter anyways.

jaykay's picture
jaykay
Offline
Joined: 11/16/09

I'm not a hunter, nor a farmer, so I don't have a dog in this fight.  But I certainly see merit in Mr Bears side of the story. 

There are a lot of "ifs".  If the game warden were pursuing someone, then he would be warranted in driving fast.  If not, then not.  I have had my hell-raising days, and driving fast on a section line can be exciting and fun.  But it sure isn't good for the vehicle you're driving.  If he was just trying to get to where the hunters were, quickly so he wouldn't have to walk after them, then I think his claim is without merit.  If they were fleeing, or appeared to be about to flee, then his haste is understandable.  It sounds however, like he just might have been wanting to make a show of bravado.  It also sounds like he realized quite quickly that he'd made a pretty big mistake.

I wonder what he (the actual Game Warden) thinks of the results of this litigation.  I would be VERY steamed if I suddenly had a $12,750.00 bill from the state.

Plainsman's picture
Plainsman
Offline
AMATEUR
Joined: 6/19/03

OK some humor.  Years ago when we summer fallowed ground I was working for a local farmer.  The prairie trail on the section line west of the field I was digging was used on Saturday nights by a local high school boy and his girlfriend.  I watched the neighbor cut and rake the section line, then place a rock in the prairie trail and a fork full of hay over it.  It was still afternoon when this high school boy come down the prairie trail and boom.  He got out checked his car drove on to??? stash beer/shoot gophers???  Shoot gophers I think.    Then on the way back he moved the rock about 100 yards up the trail and covered it again.  I didn't see the outcome, but I did see the farmer in the Farmers Union getting a new oil pan. 

Crackshot.'s picture
Crackshot.
Offline
GREENHORN
Joined: 7/14/09

 Article said the rock was "Near a section line"   

County roads have right of way easements ,   Are there a ROW easements with section lines ?      If the rock was placed within a ROW easement I think the farmer is in the wrong .  If there is no easement , or if the rock is outside of the easement ,The farmer should be able to dump his rocks or build his fence where ever he wants on his property. 

 

 

 

 

Life is good
 

 

 

 

Walleye Whisperer's picture
Walleye Whisperer
Offline
Joined: 12/7/09

 This is laughable.  What happened to personal accountability? Do we always have to blame somebody else?  The guy hit a rock because he wasn't watching where he was going not because the rock was in the middle of the section line.  It obviously wasn't preventing people with normal brain functionality from traveling the section line.
Why don't game wardens have dash cams like police and highway patrol do?

Jake G's picture
Jake G
Offline
Joined: 7/17/11

I believe it was placed on a ROW easement but not directly on the two track trail. That is why he is still in trouble. The judge went completely by the book.

Are the good times really over for good?

I'm gonna guarantee that buck a ride in the puckup truck!

Crackshot.'s picture
Crackshot.
Offline
GREENHORN
Joined: 7/14/09

 

Pheasant 54 Said:
As I read it the rock was not blocking the section line but may have been on the line a little , hell if they are going to prosecute this guy , they better get after every farmer in the area I hunt . Section lines are not blocked but there is no way you can drive straight down them.  Between rock piles , rocks etc you are always moving right or left , I am not complaining as I can still drive thru easily .

My guess overzealous warden , thought he had a vio , and it was balls to the walls

I should have read this better before I posted,   Hockey rules might have to apply ,   Touching the line doesn't count.    LOL     The farmer could be stubborn about it and make the State survey the line by the rock . The state is suing , It should be their burden of proof.

 

 

 

Life is good
 

 

 

 

Pheasant 54's picture
Pheasant 54
Offline
GREENHORN
Joined: 5/8/07

I am not a farmer , this guy did not BLOCK the section line , for crying out loud use some common sense, when driving ,, its a freaken prairie trail .

75% of the section lines I drive have the rocks and rock piles , but you can still get thru the section line , llive with it . 

Now if its blocking the line that is a different story , but that is not the case here

double28's picture
double28
Offline
GREENHORN
Joined: 2/21/13

Saying the farmer is in the wrong for placing a rock NEAR a trail? And yet side with the state when farmers own a good chunk of the land and let you on to hunt? What happened to sticking to the established trail if the rock was not on it? Established trail defined as two bare wheel tracks? That's what I always thought..........use common sense. You're on the prairie. It's not a paved highway road. If you incur damage, then that's also the chance you take. Let's hope you have full coverage insurance. The farmer would have helped take care of it, but the state had to blame someone else right away and go to court in an attempt to bury their own mistake. I think I have to stand by the farmer here.............

Allen's picture
Allen
Offline
GREENHORN
Joined: 1/9/02

Meelosh Said:
So, question. MUST there be driving access or is just walking access guaranteed?

As far as the game warden goes, bet he won't do that again.

ND law maintains that all section lines (unless closed by the county/township) are roads, regardless if there is a track running down them.  By law, you cannot impede traffic on a legal road.

“Sometimes I wonder whether the world is being run by smart people who are putting us on or by imbeciles who really mean it.” ~ Mark Twain

Atypical's picture
Atypical
Offline
GREENHORN
Joined: 9/7/10

I wonder if the game warden got charged with leaving the scene of an accident?

From my understanding, anytime someone leaves the scene of an accident where there's more than $1k damage, it's a crime.

My sincere thanks to all the men and women who have/are serving this great country. Freedom isn't Free.

Pages