It’s long and (of course) full of legal terms but it basically says what DarrenB posted in a longer form. I think the important one for hunters is violations in plain view.
OGC 7: Staff Access to Property or Premises
Summary: The purpose of this policy is to address program staff's need for guidance as to how and when they may enter property for the purpose of carrying out their official duties. Entry may be needed to conduct inspections in connection with permit applications, to conduct inspections in connection with determining compliance with permits or other regulatory requirements, to undertake enforcement, or for other programmatic activity. Entry on to private property without the appropriate authority can result in adverse consequences for staff. As such, this document will serve as General Counsel Policy with respect to the entry by staff on to private property to carry out their regulatory responsibilities. All program staff should consult with their Central Office or Regional program attorneys for advice regarding their specific statutory and regulatory program authority.
Policy: It is the Policy of the Office of General Counsel (OGC) that program staff shall enter private property under the procedures set forth herein. In recognition of a person's Constitutional right of privacy and protection against unreasonable searches and seizures, this Policy establishes procedures to ensure that program staff possess appropriate authority to enter private property while carrying out their official duties.
Purpose and Background: The right to privacy and the right to be protected against unreasonable searches or seizures of one's person or property, is guaranteed by both the 4th Amendment to the United States Constitution and Article I, Section 12 of the New York State Constitution. Criminal trespass is defined as knowingly entering or remaining unlawfully in or upon premises (NY Penal Law §140.05). Unlawful inspections can result in the suppression of evidence obtained as a result of illegal entry. In addition, unlawful entry onto property can result in civil litigation or even criminal trespass charges. The procedures set forth in this policy are intended to protect program staff from the potential adverse consequences of entering private property without the necessary legal authority.
To avoid having to face civil litigation or criminal trespass charges, DEC program staff should enter private property only upon proper authority. That authority may arise from one or more of the following circumstances:
Consent: a business or property owner may consent to entry. Consent may be verbal or in writing, but it may only be granted by a person who has the authority or ownership rights to grant access. Consent may be withdrawn at any time, and once withdrawn, staff must leave the property. Consent may also be present under the terms of a permit, administrative order on consent, or permit application consent form. If a permit, administrative order, or consent form is the source of authority relied upon for access, it is advisable for program staff to have a copy of that document in their possession, with the access provision clearly noted.
Plain View: Violations in plain view may be observed and recorded from on-site or off-site, as there is no expectation of privacy when a violation is in plain view. Recording may be accomplished through such means as notes, photos, and/or videotape. Off-site observation may take place from adjoining public or private property, or through the use of State planes or helicopters. However, if staff uses adjoining private property that is not generally open to the public, that property owner must first have consented to entry on to their property for that purpose. Parking lots, shopping centers, and cemeteries are all examples of private property that are generally open to the public. Even in the case of private property generally open to the public, however, staff should be careful not to undertake any activity that interferes with the movement of other members of the public, or with the ordinary activity that occurs on that property. Observation of a violation from off-site does not justify entry on to the site (although it could provide probable cause for a warrant).
Search Warrants: Staff may work with their Central Office or Regional program attorney to obtain a civil or criminal search warrant. Search warrants are limited in time, duration and scope, and DEC staff must adhere to all restrictions and requirements set forth in the warrant.
Exigent Circumstances: This refers to entry on to property or into premises under emergency circumstances. An emergency situation is one that presents an immediate, substantial or serious threat to public health, safety or welfare. If faced with what they believe is an emergency, staff should first contact the appropriate Environmental Conservation Officer or the police, and immediately consult with their Central Office or Regional program attorney. If Department action could be deferred long enough to obtain a court order with no significant harm to public health or the environment, it is not an emergency situation.
Note: Under New York law, any property that is posted, fenced or gated, no matter how secluded, is protected private property. The unauthorized entry on to such property by anyone, including DEC staff, will constitute trespass. It should also be noted that regulatory inspections should be conducted in a manner that is reasonable. Under the holding of Flacke v. Onondaga Landfill Sys. (127 Misc2d 984 [Sup. Ct. Onondaga County 1985], affd 177 AD2d 992 [4th Dept. 1986] rev'd on other grounds 69 NY2d 863 ), overly frequent inspections of the same site may be deemed unreasonable and give rise to claims of harassment.
Note: Receipt of a complaint or other knowledge of a violation does not provide any independent authority to enter.