Matt Kilgo, Independent Program Attorney for U.S. LawShield in Georgia, tells you why conservation rangers are police, just with more power. [Full Transcript Below Video]
Game wardens are the police, also known in state law as Conservation Rangers, and have the full power of law enforcement officers, and they have some of the most wide-ranging jurisdiction of any law-enforcement officers in the state.
What Conservation Rangers Can Do
To begin with, game wardens enforce all violations of state law committed on property owned or controlled by the Department of Natural Resources. They protect all life and property when the circumstances demand action. Now, what does that mean, “circumstances demand action?”
It just depends on the situation, but that gives them a lot of ability to read into what they can do and when they can’t do.
Game wardens assist the Georgia Bureau of Investigation and the Georgia State Patrol in their investigations. In fact, game wardens are responsible for investigating all hunting and boating accidents all over the state of Georgia.
The governor can call in conservation rangers, or game wardens, to assist any law enforcement agency in their investigations.
Game wardens can seize, as evidence, without a warrant or anything other than, an airplane, a boat, or car when they consider it to have been a device used in furtherance of a violation of state wildlife law.
In other words, hunters, if you are stopped and the game warden believes that you may have violated state law, and used a firearm to do it, that game warden can seize your firearm without a warrant.
They can go upon [private] property and look outside buildings in the performance of their duties, so they can just walk up onto your property, look around your building, and see if they find anything illegal.
They can also enter any plant or building to determine whether any violations of wildlife laws have occurred therein, and all the time they exercise the full authority of certified peace officers when they’re doing this, which means they can arrest for any [violation of] state law that’s committed within their presence.
In other words game wardens have quite a bit of authority. They are police officers, so you should treat them as you would treat any other police officer. Be polite, but insist on your rights. Let them know you have a right against unreasonable searches and seizures, let them know you have a right to remain silent, and let them know that you know you have the right to seek the assistance of an attorney.
Be polite but stand on your rights, because conservation rangers, game wardens, are police officers.