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View Full Version : Private Property, Target Range, Rural Area and the S.O.


shocknm
01-03-2011, 10:00 PM
You have enough acreage for safe target shooting on your property. There is no chance of any lead ending up down range on neighboring property.

Everything you do is above board and in compliance of all local ordinances regarding discharge of a firearm. Even when you're shooting from your rocker on the back porch :p

It's the afternoon and someone calls the S.O. because they hear gun shots coming from your property (Yes, you've fired off rounds countless times previously; For years).

The S.O. responds to the 'shots fired' call.

They roll up to the private road leading up to your house. Deputy can't see the house from the county road (or you for that matter), as your house is set back in the forested property a ways.

He hears the shots.

Scenario 1: Your private road is unobstructed. The deputy can turn his cruiser in and drive on up.

Scenario 2: Your property is fenced. 'No Trespassing' and 'Private Property' signs clearly visible. You have a gate at the mouth of your private road closed and locked (The deputy has to ram his cruiser through the gate, blow the lock off with his 870 or jump the fence in order to get through).

In either scenario, does the deputy have probable cause to come onto your property?

Is hearing gunshots off in the distance all he needs?

ETD1010
01-03-2011, 10:04 PM
i was out target shooting at a buddy's uncle's house, and the same thing happened. the S.O. showed up, but told us what we were doing was perfectly legal. They just "asked" us to stop since the neighbors were scared. They were very nice about, did NOT check our guns, or even ask me to disarm (I had a pistol on my hip). We stopped, for the Uncle's sake of not pissing off HIS neighbors, but this also was Central Valley.

As for probable cause, I don't think so, if it's private property and the shots are clearly coming from there. i suppose, however, if they don't know who called, they may want to make sure it is someone target shooting and not something else. breaking the locks, I don't know. rolling up, ringing a door bell, calling, something of that nature, maybe. . .

Merc1138
01-03-2011, 10:06 PM
This happened in S.L.O. The deputies that showed up went overboard. There's a video about it on youtube, huge thread too. It didn't turn out good for the owner, who as I recall was only shooting his .22lr.

tgriffin
01-03-2011, 10:17 PM
I live this scenario.

Easy fix: I call the sherrifs and regional park police everytime I'm shooting as a courtesy. As a courtesy, they don't both to respond to shots fired calls and inform my yuppie big city transplant neighbors that I'm perfectly within my rights.

It's not ideal but it works for both the local LEO's and I so that's the way it is.

shocknm
01-03-2011, 10:26 PM
I live this scenario.

Easy fix: I call the sherrifs and regional park police everytime I'm shooting as a courtesy....

What do you tell them (other than your location and time you'll be shooting) and what questions do they ask?

tgriffin
01-03-2011, 10:47 PM
This is my script verbatim:

Hi my name is xxxxxxx and I live at xxxxxxx. I will be (hunting, target shooting, plinking) on my ranch for approximately x hours.

That's it for sheriffs. For regional park police I just add "adjacent to xxxx regional park" after the address.

I always call non-emergency dispatch. They will always ask for a number to reach me at if they have any questions.

Once in awhile I'll get a newbie dispatcher that doesn't know the drill. They ask me to hold to go do who knows what or ask incredulously what I'm hunting for and 'is that legal'?

Been doing this for years. Hasn't been an issue except twice when I let a buddy and his son hunt while I wasn't here. Park police got a call about men in camo with rifles in the park and sent the helicopter. It was interesting but ended with a very good understanding between the park police and I and a favor in my back pocket.

shocknm
01-06-2011, 10:17 AM
So, sounds like L.E. will hop the fence. Or at least send in a helicopter.

dantodd
01-06-2011, 10:32 AM
So, sounds like L.E. will hop the fence. Or at least send in a helicopter.

theoretically they cannot enter your locked property if shooting is legal unless they have some reason to believe that a crime is being committed. There is case law that the presence of a gun is NOT PC or RAS that any crime is being, has been, or is imminently going to be, committed. I would suspect that in areas where discharge is legal the same protection would be extended to "shots fired." However; I am unaware of any case law on the issue and it will likely take a case running up the system to create precedence.

If a quick phone call will prevent drama then I'd say drop a dime a few times before you go shooting and the SO will either thank you and/or tell you to not bother calling anymore as they won't dispatch in the future.

Of course, if your neighbor claims the shots are being fired AT their property and/or that bullets are landing on their property the SO might enter to investigate those accusations of an actual crime.

cmichini
01-06-2011, 12:04 PM
You have enough acreage for safe target shooting on your property. There is no chance of any lead ending up down range on neighboring property.

Everything you do is above board and in compliance of all local ordinances regarding discharge of a firearm. Even when you're shooting from your rocker on the back porch :p

It's the afternoon and someone calls the S.O. because they hear gun shots coming from your property (Yes, you've fired off rounds countless times previously; For years).

The S.O. responds to the 'shots fired' call.

They roll up to the private road leading up to your house. Deputy can't see the house from the county road (or you for that matter), as your house is set back in the forested property a ways.

He hears the shots.

Scenario 1: Your private road is unobstructed. The deputy can turn his cruiser in and drive on up.

Scenario 2: Your property is fenced. 'No Trespassing' and 'Private Property' signs clearly visible. You have a gate at the mouth of your private road closed and locked (The deputy has to ram his cruiser through the gate, blow the lock off with his 870 or jump the fence in order to get through).

In either scenario, does the deputy have probable cause to come onto your property?

Is hearing gunshots off in the distance all he needs?

I'd check the rules, I thought no shooting within x distance (yards/feet?) of a road or x distance from a dwelling.

You could think you're OK but being Granny Clampett on the front porch from your rocker COULD be an issue. I'd check the rule book.

Either way the pre-emptive call to the Sheriff is probably the best course of action.

frankm
01-06-2011, 1:10 PM
I'd check the rules, I thought no shooting within x distance (yards/feet?) of a road or x distance from a dwelling.

You could think you're OK but being Granny Clampett on the front porch from your rocker COULD be an issue. I'd check the rule book.

Either way the pre-emptive call to the Sheriff is probably the best course of action.

I don't remember but there is a distance requirement. My bud in Alpine used to have a property map in his gunbox in case the sheriff showed up.

ElvenSoul
01-06-2011, 1:13 PM
Have coffee and donuts ready...

tankerman
01-06-2011, 1:29 PM
In this scenario most of the country would have visits from the SO everyday during hunting season.

I've hunt on rural ranches, never had LE contact due to 'shot fired'.