Mystery at Blind Frog Ranch: Understanding the mining claims case

There are several details about the Mystery at Blind Frog Ranch mining claims case that were never discussed in the show.

The Mystery at Blind Frog Ranch team has come up against more than a few unexpected hurdles in their journey to locate the hidden treasure which is supposedly buried on the property.

And, if you are caught up on the show’s most recent season, then you will know that the newest of these obstacles is the so-called claim jumpers who have invaded the property over the winter.

An update on the Mystery at Blind Frog ranch mining claims case

Claim jumping and other nefarious acts, such as high grading, are pretty much as old as prospecting itself.

And while it seemed for some time like Duane Ollinger, his son, Chad Ollinger, or the other members of their team may get involved in an Old-West-type shoot-out for their land, Duane did reveal in the “Back to the Energy Zone” episode that they decided to settle things the modern way.

According to what Duane shared, it seems like he was able to sue the claim jumpers who had managed to illegally trespass onto the property.

And while he did not share too many specifics about the case he did seem pretty happy at the end of it all. Fortunately, we have rounded up a few key details, which may help to put this claims case into perspective.

Following the Mystery at Blind Frog Ranch mining claims case

Trespassers have been impeding the treasure-hunting processes on Blind Frog Ranch for some time, but if you want a recap of the most important events leading up to this Salt Lake City court appearance, you should re-watch Mystery at Blind Frog Ranch season three from the beginning, as follows:

Episode Initial air date
Episode 1: “$3 Billion Heist” November 15, 2023
Episode 2: “Underground Tsunami” November 22, 2023
Episode 3: “Aztec Evidence” November 29, 2023
Episode 4: “The Mormon Wagon Trail” December 6, 2023
Episode 5: “Into the Mormon Eye” December 13, 2023
Episode 6: “Back to the Energy Zone December 20, 2023

What exactly is a claim jumper?

Before we can dive into the finer details of the Mystery at Blind Frog Ranch mining claim case, it is important to understand what a claim jumper is.

A claim jumper is more than a trespasser, and is someone who “locates” or mines for precious minerals on ground that has been staked by someone else, or who simply tries to claim someone else’s claimed land as their own.

The term reportedly dates back to the 1850s, when predatory individuals would rush to register promising claims before the true owners could make their way to the county offices.

Some claim jumpers also have a serious case of sticky fingers and simply lay claim to the valuable minerals that claim-holders have already mined (this is usually referred to as “high grading”, and it is just as frowned upon).

Understanding the penalties for claim jumping

Although the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) does maintain that a claim holder has the right to prevent others from prospecting and mining on their claim, this authority usually refrains from getting involved in claim disputes.

However, there are obviously still several legal routes that claim owners can follow when there is a claim dispute, as was illustrated through Duane’s recent court battle.

And, if claim jumpers are found guilty in these cases, jail time is not necessarily the only thing they should be worried about.

Courts tend to be more lenient when claim jumpers can prove that they were honestly unaware that they were infringing upon someone else’s claim, but in a case where a claim jumper knowingly took advantage of someone’s else’s staked claim, they could be subject to vehicle and equipment seizures, fines, penalties and more.

Should the Ollingers be worried about adverse possession?

If you have been following Mystery at Blind Frog Ranch for longer than just this most recent season, you will likely have gathered that Duane, Chad and the rest of their team vacate Blind Frog Ranch every year when the harsh Utah winter arrives.

And, if you have heard any tall tales about claim jumpers in the past, you may be worried that this could open them up to adverse possession claims.

However, there are a few different requirements associated with the adverse possession claim laws in Utah.

In this case, the trespassers will not only have to take up physical residence on the property, but also bring about improvements to the property and be transparent about their intentions (give or take a few stipulations) before they will have a legitimate claim to Blind Frog Ranch.