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This is the first year I am hunting on my own, and I am confused on the rules/laws/SOP's of the closed gate. On the drive up this morning, there was a white truck at the gate I wanted to hunt. So I returned a couple hours later to check and he was gone.

When I started walking the road, I found another truck tucked back in the woods. So, I hoofed it out of there just in case.

My question, if a gate is closed but not locked, do I have the right/permission to open that gate and drive thru? Again, this was all on public land, and the gate was one of those heavy yellow ones blocking logging roads.
 
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I am not giving legal advise, but if a gate is not locked on public land I have no problem opening it and going in. Even if a gate is closed when I am on my motorcycle I have just gone around them. Never had a problem, even when meeting rangers out there. I think the gates are more along the lines of wishful thinking.
 
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I hunt allot of private and blm land.
my rule of thumb is, any time I find a gate on public land I close it when I pass thru .
If your on private always have permission, and ask the owner what there policy is on gates, I always close all gates I pass thru even if there open when I come up on one. IMO
 
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This is the first year I am hunting on my own, and I am confused on the rules/laws/SOP's of the closed gate. On the drive up this morning, there was a white truck at the gate I wanted to hunt. So I returned a couple hours later to check and he was gone.

When I started walking the road, I found another truck tucked back in the woods. So, I hoofed it out of there just in case.

My question, if a gate is closed but not locked, do I have the right/permission to open that gate and drive thru? Again, this was all on public land, and the gate was one of those heavy yellow ones blocking logging roads.

If you're talking about gates on logging roads, leave them the way you found them. There have been a few incidents up here this year where locks have been broke and people drove in to areas closed to vehicles. You can get a trespassing ticket if you drive where you're not supposed to. If you drive into an area closed to vehicular traffic and get an animal, you can kiss that animal, your rifle and a lot of money good bye. Most if not all of the timber companies allow walk in access. As far as finding a truck behind a locked gate, a lot of times there is more than one way in. You just have to find it. I've had both the displeasure of finding people driving in an area at an area I though was locked up and I've also had to chuckle at people's who's jaw dropped when they've seen me driving in an area they thought was closed.
 
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I leave gates alone, but I do check to see if they are locked. A lot of people with close gates on open areas to try to have them to themselves. I will respect signs at all times, but if there is no sign and the gate is closed and not locked, it was not someone authorized who closed it.
 
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Get permission ALWAYS on private land, and leave gates as you found them. It can make the difference between a fun day and a trespassing charge. Landowners often respond positively to someone who respects their property rights and politely asks permission.
 

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