Open Season

It’s not often that I read a long article that starts off with me getting angry (remember, my general mood is best described as “irritable” at the best of times) and having my anger grow to nigh-ungovernable rage.  But this article managed to get me there quite effortlessly.  Here’s a taste:

On his way to hunt on his father’s land during the first week of December 2017, Hunter Rainwaters was driving a side-by-side through the property when he noticed an oddity positioned roughly 4’ off the ground. He popped the brakes, backed toward the object and looked in surprise at a trail camera belted to a tree.
“I didn’t see any words or stickers on it, but I knew right away it wasn’t ours,” Hunter Rainwaters recalls.
Following the hunt, he drove back onto the family property and spotted a second trail camera attached to a tree with several branches removed to allow for an unimpeded lens view. Rainwaters dialed his father’s cellphone, and described the two cameras: “I was shaken up when my son called and I knew immediately it had to be the TWRA (Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency),” Rainwaters recalls.
Deeply disturbed, Rainwaters arrived home later in the afternoon and took a look at the two cameras, mulling over whether to remove the pair. Two days later, with Rainwaters in limbo on what action to take — both cameras disappeared.

“The cameras were collecting pictures of us hunting, driving and just our lives,” he adds. “One of the cameras was even recording footage up to the back of my tenant’s house.”

That’s bad enough.  But it gets worse. (And I’ve added emphasis.)

Can the government place cameras and monitoring equipment on a private citizen’s land at will, or conduct surveillance and stakeouts on private land, without probable cause or a search warrant? Indeed, according to the U.S. Supreme Court’s (SCOTUS) interpretation of the Fourth Amendment. Welcome to Open Fields.
The vast majority of Americans assume law enforcement needs a warrant to carry out surveillance, but for roughly a century, SCOTUS has ruled that private land — is not private. Fourth Amendment protections against “unreasonable searches and seizures” expressed in the Bill of Rights only apply to an individual’s immediate dwelling area, according to SCOTUS.

Had the government agency mounted their little snoopies on utility poles on the public road off the property, I would have just shrugged.  But to come onto the land without a warrant or permission?

Somewhere, Feliks Dzerzhinsky is chuckling his ass off.

Me, had I discovered this shit on my land and ascertained that there was no label that it was government property, I think I would have moved well back out of range of the camera and performed a little long-range shooting exercise.

“After all, Yeronner, I actually thought it was poachers, scanning my land to see if there was any game for them to hunt illegally.  I never for a moment thought that this skullduggery could be the work of the Gummint!

(My other thought was to plant a Claymore mine at the base of the tree, but no doubt someone’s going to have a problem with this. )

Apart from my beef with the bastard government agency, my equally-enraged beef is with the fucking shysters on the Supreme Court.

Just as I don’t need some asshole judge to “explain” the meaning of the Second Amendment to me, I don’t need these turds to “explain” the meaning of the Fourth Amendment to me, either.

Private property is just that:  private.  And the sole function of government — any government — is to protect that right and ensure that it isn’t transgressed, by anyone.  Looking at the Fourth, I can see the problem:

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

So, in the exquisite nature of lawyers to parse the law literally and look for loopholes, the word “houses” is taken to mean just the area enclosed by walls, and thus government agents can pretty much run roughshod over one’s outdoor property (just as the TWRA did in the above story), as often and for any reason they deem fit.

Izzat so?

Listen:  everybody knows that the nature of government — of all governments — is eventually to oppress otherwise law-abiding citizens.  The only way this can be preempted is to force the would-be oppressors to convince a judge that what they want to do has a clear and compelling justification.  If the judge is just going to sign whatever they put in front of him and pat them on the head as they go on their way… what’s the fucking point of having a judge in the first place?

I’ve said this many, many times on this blog before:  whenever you get a situation where an individual starts whacking government officials and agents, the vast majority of the time it’s because the government is messing with his property in some way or another.  So do not be surprised when landowners start taking potshots at these bastards.

And if I were sitting on a jury to judge a homicide charge against the landowner under these circumstances, I would die before voting for a conviction.

I’ve slotted this post into the “Two Minute Hate” category at the top;  let me tell you, the hatred is going to last a lot longer than that.


  1. The legal term for this is curtilage.

    From Wikipedia:

    “In common law, the curtilage of a house or dwelling is the land immediately surrounding it, including any closely associated buildings and structures, but excluding any associated “open fields beyond”, and also excluding any closely associated buildings, structures, or divisions that contain the separate intimate activities of their own respective occupants with those occupying residents being persons other than those residents of the house or dwelling of which the building is associated.[1] It delineates the boundary within which a home owner can have a reasonable expectation of privacy and where “intimate home activities” take place. It is an important legal concept in certain jurisdictions for the understanding of search and seizure, conveyancing of real property, burglary, trespass, and land use planning.
    In urban properties, the location of the curtilage may be evident from the position of fences, wall and similar; within larger properties it may be a matter of some legal debate as to where the private area ends and the “open fields” start.”

    The Founding Fathers were far-thinking in many ways, but they never imagined real-time remote surveillance on privately owned property. Nor could SCOTUS in 1924.

    Its a very real problem that needs addressing.

  2. Our land is clearly posted with “No Hunting – No Trespassing ” signs at all the probable entry points because we don’t want people from Noo Jerssssy and NYFC trying to shoot our livestock. We’ve had cars towed to Red’s Junk yard. ( Parked right next to the tree with the “Posted” sign on it.) That’s always entertaining. When we find a trail camera that isn’t ours, we make sure it gets a good picture of a “Posted” sign and then we spray paint it Orange and leave it to be retrieved.

  3. Painting them orange is a good idea

    Tape over the camera might work. Need deep pockets to fight the state

    I usually obey the law but I can see a time when I might not anymore. Might have to get the jolly Rodger out of moth balls

  4. I like the “paint it orange” tack, but would also open the case, and remove the memory card. I have an industrial grade electromagnetic bulk tape eraser. 2 minutes with that at the card from every angle, and it’ll be electronic junk that no device will “recognize” ever again. Then, replace said card.

    I’d be tempted, too, to leave the case open to the elements, but depending on the State and it’s laws, wouldn’t want to draw a charge of destroying State property or such.

    They’d have a hard time though, proving up the bulk-eraser treatment as “destruction”, and damn sure not theft. They get their card back, and it’ll contain absolutely NO record of evidence of ANY thing, period.

    Sunk New Dawn
    Galveston, TX

    1. I’m not sure a bulk eraser works on solid-state memory cards (SD, microSD, CF, MemoryStick, etc.), as they don’t use electromagnetism to store data. They can go through X-ray machines without problem, which a floppy disk cannot do.

      1. Bulk erasers may or may not work, but microwaves certainly do.

        Quoting from a Tennessee Firearms Association newsletter about the 2020 Tennessee Legislative session:

        Public Chapter 799 (SB2292/HB2492) by Sen. Bowling and Rep. VanHuss amends the wildlife resources laws so that wildlife enforcement officers are prohibited from making a “search or inspection of a person’s dwelling, place of business, or interior of an automobile without a search warrant.” It was watered down from the original bill which prohibited TWRA wildlife officers from entering any private property (land) without a search warrant.

        Good intentions, but as usual, the RINO legislators half-assed it and deleted the one provision that made the whole effort worthwhile.

  5. Combine this with “asset seizure” laws, Ed Snowdon govt electronic sweeping up everything electronic, and general lying/coverups. I am afraid when the populace finally breaks, there will be a terrible come uppance.

  6. I read about this the other day (don’t recall where I saw the link, maybe Insty), and I had trouble believing it.

    My usual standard would be that if it’s illegal for a private citizen to do something on my property, someone acting on behalf of the government isn’t allowed to do so except under certain, stringent circumstances. So a private citizen coming onto my property (trespassing), cutting branches off my trees (property destruction), and attaching cameras to trees (unauthorized surveillance) would find himself in legal hot water, so if the government decides it needs to do so it has to jump thru certain legal hoops (establishing Probable Cause, getting a warrant). IOW if you can’t watch what I’m doing from public spaces (in which case I have no expectation of privacy) you need a warrant to watch me.

    The same article, IIRC, had someone who had his home raided by a SWAT team because he’d cut the offending cameras (which had no marking identifying them as government property) from his trees, seems the authorities wanted their cameras back.

    One wonders if there is some way to disable such cameras and made it look like it was done by nature instead of human interaction. Maybe make it look like a bear knocked it off the tree and chewed on it. Finding a way to get a hive of wasps to take up residence on it would be hilarious when they came back to get it, I’d be tempted to set up my OWN game camera to catch the festivities. , if I were the type of person to do such a thing of course.

  7. Just pull them down. Take them home. Put them in a closet.

    If they come asking about them, demand that they legally claim them. Put it in writing that they are yours, what agency they are from, and what legal justification you had for leaving them there, and I’ll readily hand them back. In the alternative, get a subpoena demanding their return.

    90% of the time, they will never admit ownership, never put anything in writing, and most importantly, never leave another camera on your property.

  8. Well, the claymore idea is a good one if modified. Instead of explosive shrapnel, maybe use orange paint or ground-up poison ivy leaves. (I know. Embrace the power of “and”.)

    As to memory cards – CF, SD, etc., most are impervious to magnetic fields. I’ve taken them inside the bore of an MRI machine and they were still readable. The best way to clear them without destroying them is to use a card reader attached to a computer with a forensic erase program. Once the card was erased, I would reinstall it in the camera and then cover the lens with tape. I would leave the camera in place.

  9. F&G has managed to exclude themselves from many firearms laws too. Even in places with legal car carry, check the F&G laws to see whether loaded long guns are legal. Also check the definition of loaded.

  10. I am certainly no expert on things electronic, but I’d be willing to bet 1)mud on the lens reduces it’s usefulness but does no lasting damage. Approach the unit from behind, reach around and slap a handful of Nature’s Finest Wet Soil on the lens. They may get a partial picture of a hand as the mud does it’s thing, but they probably won’t be able to do much with it. 2)cover the unit with a sack, bag, scarf or etc. Remove the memory card, and apply the pointy end of a screwdriver or pocket knife laterally across the contacts, making sure that you knock the contacts out of alignment. If possible, force the memory card back into the unit in an unnatural manner (upside down, sideways, or backwards.) Remove covering from unit. Leave area.

    You could also just take a shotgun to the unit, but there’s always a chance that the chip/card would escape damage. Or remove it from it’s mount and drop it in a campfire, and defy the gummint boys to find it. Remember to stir your ashes before you leave.

  11. I find something on my land that doesn’t belong there, I remove it, no matter who it belongs to.
    If it’s labelled with the identity of who placed it there, I may return it or file trespassing charges, depending on what it is and who the previous (now it’s mine, finders keepers) owner was.

  12. I’d take them down. Remove the card, copy the images to my machine, then format the card.
    I’d remove/disconnect the batteries. Then reset it back to factory settings, put the clean card back in, and sell it.

    or use it for myself.

    Who’s going to ask?

    What camera? You had a camera on my property?

  13. Another alternative; I’d mount a picture of a nasty, old , yawning vagina in front of it (or maybe a pecker), so that’s all it sees. Then I’d place my own cameras to see who comes to get it.

    Maybe remove the memory card, delete the images on it, and replace them with trannie porn. Or democrat politician head shots.

Comments are closed.