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cycloneshooter
11-09-2012, 09:03 AM
In early stages of planning an Antelope hunt for 2013. We have a group of 4 guys each with 1PP.
This will be our first western hunt, so the usage of public land and public access is a new concept.
Would like to stay on the free public land, and am trying to do my homework to avoid accidentally tresspassing somewhere I shouldn't be. Its all a bit discouraging when ~half the antelope units are marked with an (*) for difficult public access.

Can somebody explain the differences in all these types of government property?
BLM, Bureau of Reclamation, Bankhead Jones, Corp of Engineers, DOE, Fish & Wildlife, Forest Service, State and Nat'l Grasslands?

Are these all open to the public? Are the access/hunting rules different depending what type of land it is?

Also, can somebody take a brief stab and explaining 'public access'?
Is this as simple as if there is a county road heading into the BLM, then thats considered legal public access?
More directly, if a country road cuts through private property to reach BLM, is it okay to travel that country road to get there?

Trying to figure out if a piece of BLM is surrounded by private, what the proper legal access is to the public property?
Surely there has to be some kind of easement or 'right of way' to get there?

My understanding is using two-tracks in BLM is fine, but using two-tracks crossing private land is not fine.
What actually qualifies as a public road versus a private road?

Thanks for the information. Still learning how this all works.
Any suggestions for a first time WY antelope unit apprecaited.

Ben

llp
11-09-2012, 11:45 AM
A lot of good questions, and while there are general answers, there are always exceptions.

First, there is a lot of BLM and other public land which is surrounded by private land without any access right of way. Sad, but true.

If there is a public roadway going through the private property (county road), then of course you can use the public road as well. Not always possible to tell on a map. but typically numbered or named roads are publicly maintained and therefore open to use. If public funds are used to maintain a road, it is open to the public. Two track routes are not roads by this definition, and you can not cross private property on a two track without permission.
It is not uncommon in a lot of this area for a county road to go effectively right through the middle of a homestead, much like a driveway. House on one side, barn on the other, and equipment and vehicles scattered about. It can be really tough to tell if these are private driveways, even for those who live in the region.

Best advice for a total newcomer is to look for large blocks of BLM or National Forest with county road access. And by the way, the asterisks are based on a percentage of private land in the unit. Some of these units have very large chunks of public land, while the remainder of the unit is almost entirely private. There is some great public land hunting in some of these units. You might consider buying the WY Atlas and Gazeteer (a map book) for a good starting point. These are about $20, and available at most Sportsman's Warehouse stores and other recreational outlets. You can quickly determine which units have decent public access to large chunks of public land. And when you find the checkerboard private / public areas, you can start on an entirely new learning expereince.
llp

Colorado Cowboy
11-10-2012, 07:04 AM
Great advice. One thing to remember is that often times the published maps are not current. There is a disclaimer printed on BLM maps to that effect. Land is sold or traded and the maps sometimes do not reflect the current status. This is especially true with the access roads to all the gas/oil rigs, even on public land. If you pick an area you want to hunt, my best advice is prior to hunting, go to the closest Public Lands Office for the latest information. it could save you a lot of grief later.

Musket Man
11-10-2012, 12:04 PM
I had that problem in Wy this year. Roads that looked to be public on the maps turning private with locked gates a few miles in. I would not go to an area with limited access to public land without a gps with the chip for the area so you know exactly what is what. It can be very frustrating and confusing figuring out where you can and cant go. I was really wishing I had 1 in the unit I filled my doe tag in.

Colorado Cowboy
11-10-2012, 12:27 PM
GPS can be deceiving too. If I put my home address into a gps it will not give me a correct location. The GPS relies on county & state maps to relate surface points with the actual coordinates. The county changed the name and address of my homeplace (along with a bunch of others throughout the county) and didn't change the official maps.

Musket Man
11-10-2012, 06:38 PM
I have herd the chips you can buy show land ownership pretty accurately but I have never used 1.

canvsbk
11-10-2012, 07:11 PM
A GPS is no better than the info it has to draw from. If you are to rely on the base map that's built in it may not show where your house is.
If you live in Wyoming and and have the huntingmaps sd card in you'll be able to see who actually owns the property your house sits on. I have nothing to do with the guys that sell that sd card but it's a life saver when you're on a hunting trip.
Access in Wyoming can be nearly impossible to figure out, at the very least confusing. You're looking at the right stuff and have the right questions, you'll get there...

Colorado Cowboy
11-10-2012, 08:19 PM
A GPS is no better than the info it has to draw from. If you are to rely on the base map that's built in it may not show where your house is..
That was exactly my point. Thats also why the disclaimer is put on the BLM maps. If the counties, which customarily have the responsibility to keep the ownership up to date for the maps (county recorder), don't do it in a timely manner, then the information from the GPS will not be accurate. The other thing that GPS does not show is the leases of the surface rights to the oil & gas outfits. the put in their own roads and can nail you big time for using them. GPS is great, but it has it's shortcomings too.

canvsbk
11-11-2012, 07:46 AM
From my experience the oil and gas guys are all super nice and their roads are all very well marked. They have to be so the new oil and gas guys can find their way around. The ranch roads and county roads are a different story. As far as the leases go, unless there is crops planted it matters not on BLM and school land. The trick is in knowing where the lines are.....
As lots of visitors to this site will attest to, there are plenty of fences WAY onto BLM and school land. It's that part that I find particularly aggravating.
And after all that whining I still can't wait to go back next year. The whole pronghorn deal is a blast.

Colorado Cowboy
11-11-2012, 09:02 AM
The reason I mentioned the oil/gas roads is that this year I encountered an issue using them, there is a road across public/private land to a large oil/gas development that we have used for years with no problem. Recently a new contractor took over the maintenance of it and sign appeared that said "Private Road" . Didn't really say No Trepassing, but a security person really gave us a hard time about using it. We have always used it for the last 15 or so years, luckily the surrounding land is enrolled in the Walkin Program which allowed us to use existing alternative roads and 2 tracks. Things are not always the same, they do have a way of changing.

canvsbk
11-11-2012, 06:30 PM
We got out there a couple days early to do some scouting. One afternoon after driving all over the unit one of the guys says "pull over, gotta pee." County road, middle of no where, we all get out standing there....here comes a white truck. You guessed it, the guy was decent about it but he made it perfectly clear the "company" owned everything we could see and they didn't care for visitors. Just had to pee man....

Edelweiss
11-12-2012, 03:43 AM
One thing is for certain, if you are on BLM, and either a rancher or oil and gasshole person tries to run you off illegally you need to report it to the BLM Ranger (Law Enforcement Officer in the closest district office).

If you look up BLM's website each area will have the ranger's contact details available.

They fine the heck out of anyone illegally blocking access to public land.

Of course in Wyoming they get detailed out to search for people tresspassing via ATV into wilderness areas, so most of the BLM rangers are not where they normally work during the hunting season. But you might get lucky.

In Montana they have game warden wildlife violation ticketing authority, or did last time I was there.

In Wyoming the BLM and the G&F aren't so close.

cycloneshooter
11-12-2012, 06:51 AM
This is all fabulous information related to roads and the need for up to date maps and info.

I would like to restate part of my initial question for further discussion...(differences in types of land).

"BLM, Bureau of Reclamation, Bankhead Jones, Corp of Engineers, DOE, Fish & Wildlife, Forest Service, State and Nat'l Grasslands?
Are these all open to the public? Are the access/hunting rules different depending what type of land it is?"

Also, when the term School Land is used, is that referencing the blue state lands?

Colorado Cowboy
11-12-2012, 08:13 AM
Also, when the term School Land is used, is that referencing the blue state lands?

Yes, it is blue on maps. Usually in sections (1 mile sq/640 acres) Most of the lands you ask about are generally open. Hard to say about Bankhead Jones as I don't know. Corps of Engineers & DOE could or could not be open depending on what the land is set aside for.

I have hunted on a large ranch in Wyoming for years (almost 200K acres of deeded/leased land, There are several "school sections" totally surrounded by their land, obviously no public assess. Not uncommon in Wy.

Edelweiss
11-12-2012, 02:56 PM
I used to live next to a school section in Wyoming, as a kid it was 640 acres of my childhood paradise, as we didn't have but about 40.

It bordered a public paved road so it was legal to go in there.

School Sections can be a handy source of public land IF you can access them. IF not they are just tied up.

llp
11-16-2012, 01:49 PM
This is all fabulous information related to roads and the need for up to date maps and info.

I would like to restate part of my initial question for further discussion...(differences in types of land).

"BLM, Bureau of Reclamation, Bankhead Jones, Corp of Engineers, DOE, Fish & Wildlife, Forest Service, State and Nat'l Grasslands?
Are these all open to the public? Are the access/hunting rules different depending what type of land it is?"

Also, when the term School Land is used, is that referencing the blue state lands?

All of these types of land are GENERALLY open to hunting. In general, assume they are open and identify the unit you plan on hunting. Then check with the local warden / agency involved and ask if there are any limitations. School land usually does not allow camping, but hunting is ok. Again, there are exceptions. Most Bureau of Reclamation land is similar, often with developed campgrounds or specific restrictions near their dams, etc. Don't forget to research private walk in areas in each unit as well. There is a lot of good info on the department website. Do your own homework to find areas with adequate access according to the ownership status on maps, etc., and then follow up to confirm with a phone call or two. The exceptions are rare, but you want to know about any that exist. MOST of this public land is open to hunting and you should have a good trip.
llp

SouthernWyo
11-17-2012, 06:44 PM
Just to clarify, school sections, aka state lands, state trust lands, etc., are not technically "public" lands. They are lands deeded to the particular state to raise money for that state's school systems, to be used as the state sees fit. In Wyoming they are open to public access unless otherwise specifically closed (no camping, fires, off road travel etc.) In other states such as Colorado, they may not be open to public access.

Bottom line on roads, if they cross private land and do not specificaly have a PUBLIC easemnt, they are not public access. An oil and gas development may use a road to access the field across private which may not be open to the recreating public.