Open Tidal Creeks or Flats Water & Tresspassing

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Open Tidal Creeks or Flats Water & Tresspassing

Postby Modified_Choking » Fri Oct 27, 2006 11:09 pm

I'm trying to figure something out...

What is the law on hunting from open tidal water or Flat Water (see below) as it relates to the following:

I hunt South Carolina every year during the Holidays. Down there you could look at a tax map in comparison with aerial photography and see that a parcel of land is covered with water; for example old rice flats along the West Branch of the Cooper River [33° 07' 04"N, 79° 57' 37"W (NAD83/WGS84)]. The Game Wardens down there state that as long as you stay in your boat - you're good. But if you so much as even put your foot on the substrate where the property map shows private ownership - you are in violation.

So, does the same apply here in NJ? I would assume so but, I've looked at tax maps that cover some tidal creeks of Coastal NJ and I see that the parcel lines have been drafted in such a way that the tidal creeks appear to be part of a privately owned parcel. Likewise, does this mean that the tidal creek itself is owned by Mr. Anywho USA?

Certainly one could ask a local official, such as the Tax Assessor, but I don't know about you guys...I would rather not put any ideas in the head of such a person. Yes I am skeptical, even paranoid that yet another nice piece of NJ real estate would be targeted for POSTED signs or some municipal no-hunting ordinance. **You know as a side-bar it might be beneficial to compile such a list (Municipal No-Hunt Ordinances) to have here in the NJ forum - especially for newbies or folks like myself who are fairly new to duck hunting**

Anyway, thanks and I look forward to your responses. Please note, this is legit question...I'm not trying to start a long "?"itch session about losing places to hunt. Just trying to understand legalities of places to hunt.
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Postby Modified_Choking » Tue Oct 31, 2006 12:22 am

For those who may have read this thread. I thought I might mention additional impetus behind the thread...

In addition to my normal research on places to hunt, I cought a news item about a fairly recent decision in L.A. where a judge ruled against some guys fishing over water that flooded over levees of the Miss. R.

I thought I might see what folks here in NJ knew.

Nonetheless, I have pretty much answered my question(s) and thought I would share.

In terms of the way property lines are drafted. The NJ Division of Taxation has guidelines on how to depict property lines; including those property lines that exist as a stream, stream bank or centerline of a water course (regardless if it is tidal). The geographic location of a line and how it is represented are dependant on the property description in the deed.

In terms of what this means for a tidal creek...

Well, to some degree it may be open to interpretation on a state by state basis as states have the ability to regulate navigable waters. But, the Fed has traditionally defended the public right to use of navigable water under commerce law. In general, navigable water are those waters that exist up to mean high water.

If anyone else is interested...do a web search on "Navigation Servitude".

Or check out the following:
http://sports.espn.go.com/outdoors/bass ... rty_ruling
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Postby stevez » Tue Oct 31, 2006 4:13 pm

Actually I posted a similar question regarding a tidal river near me. It would seem that people are really in the dark about this issue (including myself). I understand that riparian (sic) rights allow for free travel on tidal water but does this include hunting? I was even told by a member of the Nature Conservancy that they could not prevent me from hunting IN THE CREEK but I could not enter the posted land on either side. What about those little marsh grass islands we see posted on a tidal river? Same apply here? Does anyone know the law regarding this?
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Postby Modified_Choking » Tue Oct 31, 2006 5:07 pm

You have to look at the tax map(s) and see who owns the "little marsh island". Note of clarification...the tax map will depict the property boundaries and will show a Block and Lot number. You then need to use the Block and Lot number to determine ownwership.

Depending on the geographic location there are various ways to determine ownership from a Black/Lot. For example, in Monmouth County we have an online records search system (http://oprs.co.monmouth.nj.us/oprs/index.aspx). Other places have internet Geographic Information Systems (GIS) mapping services that allow the user to input a Block/Lot and get ownership. Some of these also have the property lines it just depends on whether the government entity has had their paper tax maps converted to a digital mapping format for these online type applications.
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