Trespassing: Protect Yourself and Your Property

Nothing can sour a hunt faster than confrontation, especially one involving trespassing allegations. Avoid a nasty situation by knowing the law and rights of the landowner and the hunter.

Whose Responsibility?

Some states require the landowner to post private property signs around the property boundaries or fence the land in, while other states place that responsibility on the hunter. Know if the burden is yours.

Landowner Tips

  • Hang signs in conspicuous locations
  • Plant borders with vegetation that keep people from seeing the property from the road
  • Coordinate with neighbors to watch each other’s land
  • Hang cameras on trails and in likely parking spots to identify faces and license plates
  • Check to see if you state has a property watch program

Hunter Tips

  • Do your research, know where public and private property boundaries are located
  • Obtain the contact information for and know the owner of all private land to be encountered
  • Use technological tools that can help you stay on top of ownership of specific tracts
  • TRY: OnXmpas “HUNT” app that offers several products for various devices to help identify boundaries and land ownership information. The app is free, but maps require membership

Tips to Calm Confrontation (when dealing with someone claiming public land is private land)

  • Stay calm, don’t get into a heated exchange
  • Clarity you don’t mean to be on private land
  • Suggest looking at a map to ensure everybody is on the same page
  • Exchange contact information, you should have nothing to hide
  • Offer to contact local officials
  • Leave the property if you are unable to convince the person you are lawfully there

Tips on Retrieving Downed Game on Private Property (state rules differ)

  • Know the rules of the state, some states do not allow a hunter to recover a bird shot on private property, but runs onto private land before dying UNLESS specific permission has been granted
  • Leave a trail that proves you harvested a bird on public land.
  • Tip: Use video to capture the shot or document evidence that led you to the private land. If you are an archery hunter, leave your arrow where it came to rest or turn on tracking on your GPS.
  • Punch your tag, even on an animal that you might not recover, that shows a landowner or warden that you are an ethical, law-abiding hunter

Do your part to learn the laws regarding trespassing in the states you hunt and have a happy hunt.

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