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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
After reading the book and some further research I am still a little confused. It would seem the courts have ruled that since determining exactly where the center of the lake lies and therefore where each proverbial pie shaped wedge falls is difficult, if not impossible; every homeowner on the lake has equal access to use any piece of the "pie" they so choose. If that is the case (correct me if I'm wrong) do I need to obtain permission from every owner whose wedge I will be hunting ducks in or can I simply obtain permission from someone on the lake and hunt where I wish. Also, since the state owns the access I would assume I can hunt in their "wedge".??
For the record, I realize I can't give permission to hunt my neighbors property on dry land. The property lines just get cloudy under water apparently.
 

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This is a good question and apparently since it's been on here most of the day, there appears to be no answer. Maybe if you go here:

http://mi-riparian.org/

I'm sure if you asked them, they may be able to give you a better answer than just a guess.
 

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Riparian owners have rights to 'bottom land'..The bottom of the lake. The state owns the water and everything in it. As long as you're not anchored, you would not be violating anyone's riparian rights. Gray area going to darker gray! Hunting waterfowl would seem to be allowed, following the safety zone requirements as though you were on land. Property owners on the lake that are misinformed would probably raise hell anyhow..JMO
 

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Riparian owners have rights to 'bottom land'..The bottom of the lake. The state owns the water and everything in it. As long as you're not anchored, you would not be violating anyone's riparian rights. Gray area going to darker gray! Hunting waterfowl would seem to be allowed, following the safety zone requirements as though you were on land. Property owners on the lake that are misinformed would probably raise hell anyhow..JMO

You can anchor.
 

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Has been answered before, many times. From document (Law Enforcement Division) on MDNR site:

2. Rights of Hunting
(i) Inland Waters - A riparian owner (owner of land abutting water) on an inland lake or stream also owns the submerged soil fronting the upland to the center of the lake or to
the "thread" of the stream.

In some instances, however, where fee title to submerged lands may have been
conveyed separately from riparian rights, a riparian may not have the exclusive right of
fowling. The courts have held that when such fee title is conveyed separately from
riparian rights, it must be specifically spelled out in the deed. In other words, the deed
should indicate that "the party of the first part withholds from the party of the second part,
and reserves to itself, the riparian rights attached to the submerged soil being
conveyed."
MCL 311.1; MSA 13.1321, as amended, reaffirms the common law and supporting
Supreme Court ruling, St. Helen Shooting Club v Carter, 248 Mich. 376; 227 NW 746
(1929) that the owners of land and their lessees or licensees have the exclusive right of
hunting waterfowl over the land. This right is vested solely in the landowner whether the
land be upland or covered with water, or whether on navigable (public) or non-navigable
(private) water.
 

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Lake St. Helen is a very specific case. I believe the only public lake in Michigan where hunting rights are privately owned.

And there's a big difference between owning bottomland and Riparian rights.
 

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Lake St. Helen is a very specific case. I believe the only public lake in Michigan where hunting rights are privately owned.
And you would be wrong, I'm sure there are quite a few people on this site, who live off a lake, that can attest that their deed does not convey hunting rights to another party, and, that their property line does not end at the waters edge.
 

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The deed to my 100' waterfront property states that I own 'more or less to the water line: low mark, high mark. It doesn't say anything about a piece of the pie. I also own farm land that has several hundred feet that borders a stream/river. That deed says I own to the middle of the river. I don't care if someone hunts ducks in front of my property. Don't shoot towards my house, and if you kill a duck and my wife catches you, she'll kick your asx all the way home..Law or not.
 

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Lake St. Helen is a very specific case. I believe the only public lake in Michigan where hunting rights are privately owned.

And there's a big difference between owning bottomland and Riparian rights.
You are correct about Lake Saint Helen. In last few years the rights to hunting on the lake were extended for another 100 years. All this when there is quite a bit of publicly owned land a on the lake where you should be able to hunt the adjacent waters.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I realize land owners own the lake bottom to the center of the lake. Not neccessarily the water directly in front of your property. My question isn't clear in the regs. The courts have stated that it is almost impossible to determine where the center of the LAKE is. Therefore every riprarian owner has the same right of usage in every wedge. So, do I need permission from someone or do I have to figure out where your wedge lies and get permission from you specifically?
 

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I realize land owners own the lake bottom to the center of the lake. Not neccessarily the water directly in front of your property. My question isn't clear in the regs. The courts have stated that it is almost impossible to determine where the center of the LAKE is. Therefore every riprarian owner has the same right of usage in every wedge. So, do I need permission from someone or do I have to figure out where your wedge lies and get permission from you specifically?

They do not own the bottom of the lake !

They have limited riparian rights.
 

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A heads up. Today on the radio show Stateside, 91.7 Ann Arbor 104.1 GR 3:00, there will be a guest discussing public/private rights and conflicts on shorelines. Don't know anything about the guest but it may be interesting. They will post the show on the web later.
 

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They do not own the bottom of the lake !
Incorrect, they very well may. You would have to see if deed states otherwise. Try putting a dock or swim platform anchored on someone's bottomlands.

You have to have permission of bottomlands owner to hunt or trap there. MCL statutes back that up as stated previously. If bottomlands owned by State then you are clear.

If you are in an ambiguous zone, my GUESS would be nothing may happen, if however, you are obviously in front of someones property, who objects, you probably will have a problem.

I equate this similar to people who are trying to hunt right on a property line and are looking for justification when prey goes on other side.
 

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Your deed is only for the purpose of spelling out the property description, and whether or not you own the bottom lands of the lake, or river, has nothing to do with the deed.
Some deeds may expressly end ownership of property at waters edge (or above).
 

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So, do I need permission from someone or do I have to figure out where your wedge lies and get permission from you specifically?
You need permission from the wedge you are hunting. As you stated, no such thing as a perfect pie type lake. So I would get as much permission as you can from adjoining property owners. Then the wedge is bigger. Somewhere there is a middle point ???? Maps, GPS ect can help you figure out where that permission wedge ends.

Do your homework the best you can. If ever in doubt contact the CO that is assign to the area where the lake is located. Now would be a great time to do this as gives them time to get you the best information.

Remember all other rules apply, safety zones, unsafe discharge firearm are a big one on lakes.
 

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From #4:
(which is almost always the adjoining lakefront property owner)
I totally agree shoreline owner is almost always bottomland owner. But there are a few cases where deed has expressly set a property line. Riparian rights CANNOT be seperated from bottomland owner, unlike mineral rights.
 

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From #4:


I totally agree shoreline owner is almost always bottomland owner. But there are a few cases where deed has expressly set a property line. Riparian rights CANNOT be seperated from bottomland owner, unlike mineral rights.
Seems like you're saying two things here. I have researched this and I cannot find one instance where the riparian owner does not own to the center of the lake, perhaps you have an example.

You would do yourself a favor and understand that a deed doesn't mean a thing in this case, with the exception of back lot owners. A deed has no bearing on what you own UNDER the water.
 
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