Access State Land via River

Bambistew

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Is it legal to access state land by boat? I thought I read somewhere (a while back) that the only access to state lands is by dedicated ROW.
 

Bambistew

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I thought that hunting was excluded as a from of use, if accessed by boat. I know it was Montana, because I know of a couple spots that I'd like to hunt and the way I read it was it was not allowed? Maybe I'm thinking stream access vs boat?
 

neffa3

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For hunting you're not allowed to walk it via the stream access law (below the high water), while you could hike in and fish. But I believe floating gets around that. So too does fishing your way in.
 

npaden

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I remember a while back there was a Block Management Area somewhere around the Helena area I think that had exclusions on access to the state land that were a result of the fact that it was included in a Block Management Area.

Fuzzy memory. I'll try to look for the thread.
 

Eric.MN

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I think in a recent meat-eater podcast with Mark Kenyan they just talked about this kinda situation. If i remember right someone on the podcast was told if one was to actively fish the stream from a public access through private below the high water mark to get to the “landlocked” public land then start big game hunting from there it would be legal. Don’t take my word on it but i thought that’s how they described it.
 

Straight Arrow

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... below the high water mark to get to the “landlocked” public land then start big game hunting from there it would be legal.
No, regardless of any fishing activity, it is not legal to access landlocked public land through private for that purpose. The stream access law does not apply to hunting.
 

Nameless Range

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I am almost certain you can float to an otherwise inaccessible piece of state land and hunt it. That’s what I understand the OP to be asking

Id give Ryan Weiss, the state public access specialist a call to verify - 444-5576.
 

RobG

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No, regardless of any fishing activity, it is not legal to access landlocked public land through private for that purpose. The stream access law does not apply to hunting.
Actually, I called the Montana FWP a while back. As long as you are doing a water based activity (i.e. fishing or floating) to get through the private you are ok. Laws can change however, so I wouldn't rub this end-around in any landowner's face. Plus you'd be giving up your honey hole ;) But you are right in that you cannot hunt on private even below the high water mark (not sure if this is true for duck hunting).
 

Quackillr

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Lots of big bucks are killed on otherwise inaccessible lands along at least 3 of Montana’s big rivers that I can think of.
 

D4570

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As long as you can access it legally , it is legal.
So if it is a navigable peace of water your good to go, BUT you can't hunt the shore on privet land with out the owners permission.
Many of the islands are privet.


 

LuketheDog

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I'd assume that there no issue as long as the river is classified a navigable stream, but at least here in Colorado the regulations for state lands can vary from parcel to parcel.
 

mdunc8

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In Montana, it needs to be a Class I river and you have to access using a boat. Bambi, you can find a list of the 10-15 class I rivers in Montana with a quick Google search. I don’t think you’re allowed to hunt big game within the high water mark adjacent to public land so don’t dump a deer on a gravel bar.
 

D4570

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Nope I think that's not right.
All the wardens I have talked with all agree.
If the water has been "Ever" used commercially ,there considered Navigable.
That INCLUDES fur trapping from the past.
SO as long as you enter the water legally it's good, AND as long as your legally accessing "public" land which you are
You can Hunt big game on the shore and the land.
The stream access law is the one you can't hunt the shore, different access law.
 

wllm1313

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No, regardless of any fishing activity, it is not legal to access landlocked public land through private for that purpose. The stream access law does not apply to hunting.
Was specifically told by a region 3 warden that if I was carrying a fishing rod and walked up a stream to hunt a piece of state he wouldn't write me a ticket. Further when I went into the region 3 office and asked them about whitetail spots the same warden asked me if I had a canoe and then circled a bunch of piece of state land on various rivers and told me to check those parcels out.

Not sure what the state statutes say but in region 3 you won't be issued a citation for that activity.
 

wllm1313

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I was told something different by a Region 3 warden...
Maybe you didn't ask or recieve a nuanced answer or there was a miscommunication somewhere.

Question: Is it legal to access state land by boat?

From the stream access brochure: What types of activities between the ordinary high-water marks require landowner permission?
Type II Waters
... "Big-game Hunting"
... using a streambed as a right-of-way for any purpose when no water is
flowing.

If you float and embark from a road easement or other public access point on a type II river you my float to a piece of state land or any other BLM land and hunt that property. You may hunt waterfowl or fish while in transit on that type II waterway but can't big game hunt until you are on the state lands.

The law also states that you must have permission for
• any other pleasure activities not primarily water related.

This would include hiking, so you cannot hunt for deer within the high-water mark of a stream, but you can fish with a rifle on your pack while walking up a type II stream that has water in it until you are on public land and then hunt said property, and this fish your way back. You could substitute waterfowl for fish and also be legal.

http://fwp.mt.gov/fwpDoc.html?id=24929
 
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