In a recent TV interview Cory Reid pointed out, without meaning to, that Bundy may have Prescriptive Right to the property.
There was a 15 year period during the 20 year period that Rory Reid refers to below in which no one did anything about the fact that Bundy was grazing on the land in question.
Ben Swann has written an article that explains that Bundy may now have rights to the land and that the BLM thinks that may be the case:
Among the questions Devlin asked of the BLM, “Is it possible that this guy (Cliven Bundy) has prescriptive rights?” The response from top officials at the BLM, “We are worried that he might and he might use that defense.”
So what exactly are prescriptive rights? Prescriptive right to property is an easement that gives some one the right to use land owned by someone else for a particular purpose. An example is using a path through Party A’s land to get to your land, a prescriptive easement is allowed which gives the user the right to get to his land through A’s property.
In most states, if a trespass or use of land occurs regularly for at least 5 years without the “owner” of the land taking legal action, prescriptive rights come into play. Because Bundy stopped paying his grazing fees to the BLM in 1993 but continued to use the land for over 20 years, it is possible he now has prescriptive rights to the land. That might explain why the BLM has not taken this issue to court and never bothered to file a lien against the cattle.