California Fish & Wildlife Launches Home Inspection Program

Law enforcement superweapon or assault on the 4th Amendment?

California Fish & Game Commissioners publicly declare that Game Wardens have the authority to conduct warrantless searches with no probable cause at all times in all areas of the state. Game Wardens are normally associated with patrolling hills and waterways, but officials at California Fish & Wildlife allege that Fish & Game Codes 1006 and 1012 allow unannounced searches of residences and businesses. Their interpretations of the statute allow wildlife officers to inspect any residence, restaurant, office, store, shed, pool house, warehouse or doghouse in the state, with no probable cause or search warrant required.

It’s unclear if the targets of these home searches require the resident be a licensed hunter or fisherman since officials claim authority under FGC 1006 and 1012, which make no reference to permits – so it becomes a matter of interpretation by whoever is in charge of CF&W at the moment. It seems that state licensed falconers are the first wave of targets. In any case, CF&W officials claim search authority is given only to wildlife officers and not general law enforcement efforts; as if violating citizens 4th Amendment rights is not abuse when done under the pretext of wildlife management. Sportsmen may view this as simply the animal rights extremists' final solution to end hunting and fishing in the state since it has the hallmarks of that agenda; more alarming however is that a well-armed law force with limitless power an insidious threat to the personal security of every citizen of California.

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.