One of the most contentious bills in the 2019 North Dakota legislature was "trespassing."  Lines were drawn in the sand from both sides on the issue.  Landowners wanted all land to be considered "private property" and should be automatically posted without having to physically post their land.  Landowners, argued it's their right as a landowner to not have to post their private property.  "It's something that should've been passed in the legislature years ago," according to a farmer friend of mine.  "Do you have to post your front and backyards of your home", he added?  "No, it's a given that is private property!"  "Why should my farm land be any different?"  Tough to argue with that.

People on the other side of the coin, (mostly hunters) argue that many farmers don't want to be bothered during the busy fall season, and if it's not posted, it should be open.  I'm the type of hunter where even if the land is not posted, I still try to seek out the landowner to make sure it's not off limits.  I just feel better about it, to make sure signs didn't blow off or what not.  However, I have had a farmer/landowner get annoyed with me for even asking.  "It's not posted for a reason, why are you bothering me?"  So, that is the case for some landowners.  Hunters also argue that the lack of "no trespass" law in the state is a North Dakota tradition.  Finding a place to hunt with competition from other hunters and guides and outfitters tying up land, has made gaining access very difficult these days.

It really got ugly in the legislature last time around.  Late in the session, the idea of electronic posting came up.  It was kind of a common ground between the two sides.  Landowners would no longer have to physically post their land, (which can be very time consuming and costly) they could post it with the click of a mouse.  If they wanted to leave the land open for hunters, they simply had to do nothing.  Now, existing posted signs would supersede electronic posting.  So for landowners who didn't physically mind posting, they could continue to do so.

There was a test run of the electronic app this past fall in 3 North Dakota counties and it appears it was a success.

Two "trespassing" bills were introduced to the 2021 North Dakota legislature and both passed the Senate with no opposition.  SB 2144 & SB 2036 both passed and will now head to the house.  SB 2144 is the electronic posting bill and SB 2036 is the continued study of land access & private property and to make sure electronic posting will continue to work.


 

 

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