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LOOK OUT FOR THE DNR


JWITORT
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GENTLEMEN SUNDAY MORNING I RAN INTO A DNR OFFICER AT THE ALGONQUIN DAM ON THE FOX.I WAS WADING AS I HAVE DONE A 1000 TIMES BEFORE.I WALK DOWN THE HILL BY THE TAVERN ON THE BRIDGE AND ENTER THE WATER THERE RIGHT BELOW THE DAM.I HAVE BEEN TOLD BY OTHER DNR OFFICERS THAT I COULD DO THIS EVEN THOUGH ITS POSTED NO TRESPASSING BECAUSE OF THE EASEMENT AS LONG AS I WAS IN THE WATER.I ALSO GOT PERMISSION FROM THE LAND OWNER TO WALK DOWN THAT HILL THROUGH HIS PROPERTY. THE OFFICER ASKED ME FOR MY LICENSE WHICH I PRODUCED THEN TOLD ME I WAS TRESPASSING.I TOLD HIM I HAD PERMISSION TO WALK DOWN TO THE RIVER FROM THE LAND OWNER,AND THAT OTHER DNR OFFICERS HAD TOLD ME I COULD DO THIS.HE THEN TOLD ME HE SAW ME ON THE ROCKS,WHICH I THEN REPLIED THE ROCKS ARE IN THE WATER.FOR ANY OF YOU THAT HAVE FISHED THIS AREA YOU KNOW WHAT IM TALKING ABOUT. HE THEN WENT BACK TO HIS TRUCK AND WROTE ME A $75.00 TICKET FOR FISHING WITHOUT PERMISSION.WHEN I AGAIN EXPLAINED TO HIM THAT I HAD PERMISSION HE ASKED IF IT WAS IN WRITING.I SAID NO AND HE HANDED ME MY TICKET.I THEN ARGUED WITH HIM FOR ANOTHER 10 MINUTES BUT HE WOULD NOT BUDGE ON THE TICKET.HE ALSO TOLD ME TO FIND ANOTHER PLACE TO FISH,I REPLIED IF IM IN THE WATER IM NOT TRESPASSING.MIND YOU I NEVER RAISED MY VOICE OR UTTERED A FOUL WORD.HE REPLIED ITS TIME TO GO.I FIND THIS REDICULOUS AT BEST AND CANT BELIEVE THAT THIS TICKET IS VALID.ANY SUGGESTIONS ON HOW I SHOULD PROCEED,MIND YOU I ONLY SEE THIS LAND OWNER IN PASSING WHEN HES CLEANING UP THIS PROPERTY FROM OTHER TRESPASSERS.I EXCHANGE WORDS ASK HIM HOW HE S DOING AND WE GAB FOR A FEW MINUTES AND THEN I GO BACK TO MY FISHING AND HE GOES BACK TO HIS CLEAN UP.

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Your best bet would be to seek out the land owner and get permission in writing. Take that to court or the DNR office or whatever it is that you have to do. Chances are that the ticket will be thrown out. Keep that piece of paper with you whenever you fish there.

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I agree with Jim. When I was on the Sheriff's Department in Lake County I heard all types of excuses and without proof there is no telling if you were telling the truth or not. You need it in writing. But, on another note, it's been so long that I'm not sure how the law reads. I'm not sure that the violation will hold up if the landowner does not file the complaint. I thought that a complaint had to be filed before the police will write a ticket. I think that if that is the case, the DNR official needs to be put straight by his commanding officer and the courts. I'd check out the law and get that permission in writing and then go to court with all your ducks in a row. I suspect that the DNR official was just trying to make his presence known and keep people obeying the laws to the best of his ability.

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This is what you should have:

landaccess.jpg

 

I have a fair number of these that I got for access to conservation activities on private property.

I will be sure to keep them in my truck from now on to pass along to fellow members.

Yourself and the landowner fill out the back, and each of you retains a copy.

 

Anyone can order these, they are free:

http://www.dnr.state.il.us/publications/index.htm

Clcik on "Order Publications Online" in the right column.

Type Land Access in the search box.

 

OR-

You can download one from that website, or right here in this post.

I added an attachment for you.

Anyone can print out as many copies as they like right now.

:)

 

 

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Inasmuch as my daughter and family live in Algonquin, I just inspected the area below the dam and found it to be a fabulous fishing spot. That said, next summer when my grandson is 3 years old, I had planned to take him to this area to fish from shore.

 

Sorry to hear about your experience with the law, John . . . let us know how the case turns out in court. Thanks to all for providing the guidelines and documentation associated with this location . . . would be quite embarrassing to my athletic grandson if "PaPa" had a run-in with the law while enjoying one of his favored sports!

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Like others, I too would recommend that you get that permission in writing- not because I think you needed it in the first place, but because it grants you staus for what I hope will be a visit to the DNR officer's supervisor. I grew up around wooded land that was posted "no tresspassing" all over the place. We knew the landowner quite well and rode our horses through those woods regularly. We also know that that landowner had a number of friends and relatives that would similarly use the land for camping or otherwise. Never did we worry about, nor could we envision, the DNR stopping us to prove we had permission to be there. For crying out loud, surely the officers have something better to do with their time then checking for "right to be there" every time they see a warm body near a no tresspassing sign. Why should the DNR be expected to be more diligent about protecting privcate property than the land owner themselves are expected to be (filing complaints or calling)? When tdid the DNR become the unsolicited guardians of private property?

 

I find it very difficult to believe that it is DNR policy to protect this private property without a tresspassing complaint having been filed or call being made. I remember deer hunting in woods that were large enough that many parties were there- all with permission but not knowing one another. We were occasionally stopped by DNR to see tags, but never asked to demonstrate permission in writing.

 

There are shades of what happened with the Harvard Prof and the Cambridge Police recently. You did the right thing by remaining calm and cooperative, but the issuance of the ticket was an over-reaction- IMLTHO.

 

Ron

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I agree with Ron...unless there is a call from the landowner, I don't think they should concern themselves with it. What if I am fishing on my own land? Do I get a ticket for not carrying the deed around in my pocket to prove my right to be there?

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I like this discussion. One reason is that I am very unclear on Illinois law on access to waters. Wisconsin law seems a lot easier to deal with. I guess I support the sheriff. IMHO tresspassing is trespassing whether there is a complaint or not. For instance, if someone is wandering around my back yard when I am not there to file a complaint, I want him arrested. The officer cannot wait to check with me. The area around the Fox is a can of worms because so many people want to access it and because most of it is someone'e back yard. How would an officer know who is who without some paperwork? Too bad it has come to that. I remember the good old days too. But populations are 3-5 times what they were then. Since we don't live in Alaska where there are just a few people and a lot of public lands, we have to put up with some stuff.

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