“Lawyers spend a great deal of their time shoveling smoke.” ~Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.”
In my previous entry about a “Hunter” who was seriously injured when a tree stand that he climbed into collapsed, causing him to fall, there was a presumption that the “Hunter” was lawfully engaged in the activity of hunting upon the land of Charles Corliss. That is not the case. WILLIAM JASMIN HAD NO LICENSE TO HUNT.
On Wednesday, July 13, I went to the New Hampshire Fish & Game Licensing Division and filled out the form, N.H. FISH AND GAME DEPARTMENT INFORMATION REQUEST . “The information requested was not found” was how the form was returned.
This morning’s, Concord Monitor featured a story entitled, “Hunter falls from tree, sues property owner” where in that story Jasmin’s attorney B.J. Branch admits that Jasmin was drinking the day of the accident and he tells the monitor, “[w]as at or below the legal limit for intoxication. He added that because of Jasmin’s serious blood loss, the blood alcohol test may not have been accurate…”
But all of that aside, other questions arise. For example, N.H. RSA 635:2 (Criminal Trespass) states in part, “A person is guilty of criminal trespass if, knowing that he is not licensed or privileged to do so, he enters or remains in any place…”
RSA 214:1(License Required) states in part, “No person, except as hereinafter provided, shall at any time fish, hunt, trap, shoot, pursue, take or kill…[w]ild animals in this state, without first procuring a proper and valid license to do so, and then only in accordance with the terms of such license and subject to all the provisions of this title…”
When Jasmin, through his attorney filed his writ, he asserted, “On or about November 17, 2009, William Jasmin sustained serious injuries while hunting on property owned by the defendant…” Jasmin, through his attorney, made a “sworn statement that he was “hunting.”
RSA 207:36-a (Use of Tree Stands) states in part, “No person shall erect, build or use a tree stand… [o]n land of another person that damages or destroys a tree by inserting into the tree any metallic, ceramic, or other object used as part of a ladder or observation deck, without express written permission from the property owner or designee...” Jasmin asserts he had an “invite” to use the tree stand. Chuck Corliss states he hasn’t hunted in 40 years and was not aware of the tree stand’s presence. I believe Chuck Corliss and if the court does, then Jasmin violated yet another law. If a person hunting happens upon a tree stand and climbs into the stand…and branches have been cut, and then a Conservation Officer thereafter happens along, the C.O. is going to ask for the persons “written permission” to have a tree stand where limbs have been removed. Having no permission, a citation is inevitable.
RSA 214:20 states, “No person shall target practice, hunt, take, or attempt to take wildlife in this state by the use of a firearm, bow and arrow, crossbow and bolt, or any other weapon: I. While such person is under the influence of intoxicating liquor or any controlled drug, or any combination of intoxicating liquor and controlled drugs; or II. While such person has an alcohol concentration of 0.08 or more or in the case of a person under the age of 21, 0.02 or more.” Notice the word “or”? Whether Jasmin was under the legal limit or not, it is always a bad practice to be under the influence while handling weapons for the taking of wildlife.
So Jasmin has basically admitted that he was on Corliss’s land, engaging in an unlawful activity because he was hunting, and doing so without a license. Therefore Jasmin was on Corliss’s land unlawfully. If one is on the land of another engaging in an unlawful practice, what is the likelihood that such landowner would grant permission for another to engage in an unlawful practice? It is a fair and reasonable presumption is that a landowner makes his land available for lawful hunting practices, and does not contemplate lawbreakers like Jasmin.
So the question now becomes, Is Jasmin a mere trespasser? He was on Corliss’s land for a knowingly unlawful purpose. Jasmin is nothing more than a trespasser. Jasmin is hunting, yet he has no license.
This is the most extreme case of bad behavior with consequences for which William Jasmin desires to hang around the neck of Chuck Corliss. First, Jasmin had been drinking. Second, Jasmin had no hunting license; Third, Jasmin did not follow or take proper precautions to protect himself and used a tree stand he may have had no business using. and finally, the landowner denies all of Jasmins assertions that he was given his permissions.
As hunters we make a commitment to follow and observe all fish and game laws, respect the property of others and be safe and ethical hunters, and represent our tradition with the highest of utmost integrity. William Jasmin is no hunter and does not respect anything. He is little more than a lawbreaker who fails to follow rules and cares little how it reflects on the rest of us. If nothing else, this suit should serve as yet another object lesson for why we should promptly call out those who do such things and report them to Fish & Game Officers. Because their behavior extracts a cost none of us can really afford to pay.