Wyoming Game Wardens May Get Authority To Ticket Trespassers As Bill Revived

A bill that would Wyoming game wardens broader authority to cite trespasses, which died in committee on Tuesday, was resurrected Friday by the same Wyoming House Committee.

Mark Heinz

February 17, 20232 min read

Rep Jeremy Haroldson
(Cowboy State Daily Staff)

A bill that would grant game wardens more authority to ticket trespassers – which had died in the Wyoming House Judiciary Committee – has been revived by the same committee.

Senate File 56 is on its way to the Wyoming House after all.

The Wyoming Senate passed the bill 25-6 on Jan. 19, but it died in the House Judiciary Committee on Tuesday. 

Committee member Rep. Jeremy Haroldson, R-Wheatland, on Friday called for it to be revived and forwarded to the House, which the committee approved. 

Haroldson said public misconceptions about the bill led to its demise the first time the committee heard it. But he has since spoken to numerous hunters and ranchers in his district and put their fears about the bills to rest. 

“One of the biggest struggles we have as a Legislature is public perception,” Haroldson told Cowboy State Daily. “If people don’t understand a bill, they’ll crucify you on it, no matter what.”

A Way To Nab ‘Nefarious’ Rule-Breakers

SF 56 would grant Wyoming Game and Fish Department wardens authority to ticket people who trespass across private property to get to adjacent public land to hunt, fish, trap or collect shed antlers. 

Under current statute, unless somebody is actively engaged in one of those activities on private land – and not just passing through it – game wardens can’t ticket them. 

Instead, the case would be treated as criminal trespass. Wardens can’t ticket for criminal trespass, only sheriff’s deputies can. So, wardens would have to call for a deputy, who might take hours to reach the scene. 

Haroldson said the constituents he talked with about the bill – once they understood it clearly – agreed with it. 

Hunters and ranchers agreed it will help game wardens shut down bad actors who “nefariously cross private land, to get to public land to harvest animals,” he said. 

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Mark Heinz

Outdoors Reporter