Last Sunday, Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks, Tourism (KDWPT) game wardens and Kansas Highway Patrol (KHP) troopers conducted joint “wildlife checkpoints” (a.k.a., police roadblocks) in central Kansas. The vehicular “stop and interrogate” effort coincided with the start of the state’s deer, dove and duck seasons. KHP troopers made the initial contact. “If a driver does not have a valid license, appropriate enforcement actions will be taken,” their presser promised. “Travelers should not expect major delays from this portion of the checkpoints.” And then . . .
Occupants of vehicles in the first check lane will be asked if they are hunters or are transporting wildlife. If they answer yes in either case, drivers will be directed to a nearby KDWPT check lane where Kansas game wardens will check for required licenses and permits, count the game and gather biological, harvest, and hunter success information. This portion of the checkpoints should also cause minimal delay.
Delay minimized to blunt the argument that the hunter-related checkpoints violate the Constitution’s prohibition against unreasonable search and seizure? As I recall, the Fourth Amendment gives Americans the right to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects. And does the fact that the dragnet was timed for the start of hunting season mean police have probable cause to stop everyone in the area?
In short, are you OK with this?