The four Missouri Hunters win their civil trespass case in Wyoming courts

Corner Crossing Update
Published: May. 27, 2023 at 10:52 AM CDT
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CHEYENNE, Wyo. (Wyoming News Now) - If you’ve been following the corner crossing story, a decision by the Wyoming District Court has been made on Friday.

This case refers to public or sportsmen’s access to public lands via the checkerboard pattern of private and public lands.

The case came into prominence when a private landowner charged the hunters with criminal and civil trespass while crossing on the corners of public lands at Elk Mountain in Carbon County.

The owner stated the hunters violated his private property and airspace with their crossing.

The hunters won the criminal case in 2022 and were in civil litigation until Friday.

Ryan Semerad, the lawyer representing the four Missouri hunters charged, said the District Court of Wyoming judged that the corner crossing by foot is legal.

The Wyoming court heard arguments by the plaintiff Iron Bar Holdings LLC, and the defendants, the four Missouri hunters, who were charged.

The court references the case of Mackay versus Uinta Development Co in the decision.

Stating the law reveals where a person crosses on foot in the checkerboard from public-to-public lands, without touching private land or damaging it, there is no liability for trespass.

“This decision says to all Americans that the public domain is just that, its public. And you should have a reasonable way to use and enjoy the public domain and private landowners can not have a monopoly over lands that’s not theirs,” said Ryan Semerad, Attorney at the Fuller and Semerad law firm.

The case is still up for appeal, which may put a pause on the court’s decision.

But the lawyer says this is great for outdoor enthusiasts everywhere.

President and CEO Land Tawney from the Backcountry Hunters & Anglers weighed in on the court decision.

“Today was a win for the people, both in Wyoming and across the country. The court’s ruling confirms that it was legal for the Missouri Four to step from public land to public land over a shared public/private corner,” said Tawney. “Coupled with recent legislation passed by the Wyoming Legislature, we are happy that common sense and the rule of law prevailed. Backcountry Hunters & Anglers applaud the court’s careful balancing of access to public land and respect of private property rights. We look forward to finding more solutions to access – together.”

We will update this story as more develops.