Game wardens basically have no more authority than any other police officer. They have maybe what some people would consider a detention without reasonable suspicion in that the law says if they see you fishing, they can check your fishing license and your catch. If they see you hunting, they can check your hunting license and what you killed. To that extent they can check your stringer, your ice chest, etc. Maybe some people think that is extraordinary powers.
Generally speaking the courts allow this as a highly regulated outdoor activity and not merely going about your business. We often hear that the Game wardens can go into your home and search without a warrant and other such nonsense. In fact the Parks and Wildlife Code specifically states that they do not have such an authority.
Here are a couple of pretty important definitions in the authority to search. They are residence and temporary residence.
Sec. 12.102. INSPECTION OF WILDLIFE RESOURCES. (a) In this section:
(1) "Residence" means a person's principal or ordinary home or dwelling place.(2) "Temporary residence" means a place where a person temporarily dwells or seeks shelter. The term does not include a hunting blind. The term does include a:
(A) hunting club or lodge;
(E) manufactured home used as a hunting club or lodge; and
(F) hotel room, motel room, or room in a boardinghouse used during a hunting trip.
These definitions are important in a following subsection that shows the prohibition in reference to these locations and particularly note temporary residence.
(d) Nothing in this section authorizes a game warden or other peace officer commissioned by the department to conduct a search otherwise authorized by this section:
(1) in a person's residence or temporary residence; or
(2) on a publicly maintained road or way that is.
(A) improved, designed, or ordinarily used for vehicular traffic;
(B) open to the public; and
(C) distinguishable from a shoulder, berm, or other area not intended for vehicular traffic.
Note that they cannot go into a temporary residence to search and that it would includes as specifically listed, a tent. You’ll hear people say that they can go into your Home without a warrant yet here is there a code saying they cannot even go into your tent, hotel room, cabin or anywhere else you used to stay while you were on a hunting trip.
I have seen on hunting forums going back many years people saying, the police should just bring a game warden with them because they can do anything. The premise is that if we think there are drugs in a house, simply bring a game warden and we could go in without a warrant. That is pretty laughable.
As far as the 14 days, he was doing more than just mouthing off. He was getting in my way by reaching across from n front of my chest with his arm and kind of pushing me back out of the way so I could not make an inspection. He always did it under the guise of trying to hand somebody a mixed drink or a beer. I even told him that if you need a hand this person that is 3 feet to my left a beer, go around me and hand it to him.
He made a point of being on the wrong side and having to push me out of the way to make a sale. I gave him warnings that he could not do that and he continued. I even brought him over and showed him his alcohol license which he claimed forbid me from searching but I pointed out the text that said any peace officer can make an inspection.
Although we all know that ignorance of the law is not an excuse, I used what is called confirmation. Although I could have simply made a criminal charge the first time he interfered with me, I wanted to give him a chance to correct his actions and also to explain the law to him and in the case of the alcohol license, actually showed him the wording. Doing so two or three times was not good enough for him and he kept telling me that I was wrong and I had no authority. THAT it would cost his bar 14 days of profits and him time in the county jail.