Are Hunting Access Changes Coming?

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Bismarck – Should hunters and other outdoor lovers be forced to ask permission to access someone’s land?

The answer would be yes should one state lawmaker get his way.

Calling the current law, archaic and out of date, State Senator Robert Erbele recently introduced Senate Bill 2315  that would reverse the automatic presumption that non-posted land is open to hunters and other wildlife seekers.

“The current posting law is so restrictive and the onus is on the landowner to prove that he posted properly and everything” Said Erbele.

If passed, Erbele’s bills would require hunters, birdwatchers and hikers alike, to ask for permission from the landowner to use their property or face misdemeanor criminal trespass charges.

“This takes away the need to post the land, so now all land is closed to all activities unless you have permission” Said Erbele

Erbele says he’s done the research, and other states have already made the change.

“For example South Dakota, Minnesota and Montana they’ll all closed states” Said Erbele

Darrell Oswald owns three thousand acres of land in the town of Wing and tells me he supports the bill in the hopes of repairing the strained relationship between hunters and ranchers.

Generally speaking, it’s the hunters that probably are not doing a good job anyway that cause the strain, and it this going to fix that 100-percent, by no means.” Said Oswald.

Now there is opposition to the bill, but both Erbele and Oswald tell me it’s from a small but vocal group of individuals, one even recently took out a quarter page ad in the Fargo Forum against the bill, but Oswald says knowing what is and is not private property should be common sense…

“Private property is a fundamental right, it’s in the constitution, and those things, and so if someone wants to be on that property, obviously I shouldn’t have to have the burden and the time and dollar spent to keep them off of it, they should just naturally or automatically know”. Said, Oswald

If passed the bill would also create a database of known private land that is open to hunters, to avoid problems or confusion.

The bill is expected to voted on by committee later this week and could reach the Senate floor next Monday or Tuesday.

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