By Joel Schnell for Ruffed Grouse Minnesota
Nothing can wreck a hunt easier than tresspassing, for both the hunter and the landowner. I’ve been on both sides of the line as a traveling wingshooter and also as a private property owner. I have a few insights on preventing an unfortunate confrontation.
It Takes Two to Tango
I believe it takes a shared effort by both parties. For the traveling hunter, know where you are in relation to property lines. Some landowners would consider that to be the end of the conversation. But few of us carry gps mapping apps that ensure it can be done when no line is marked. If you are entering on a road, don’t just walk in if you don’t see a sign. Drive ahead to look for the corner posts, and you will know everything in between corners is off-limits.
For the landowner, help them out by properly posting that invisible line in the woods. What does that mean, properly posting? To me, it means a legible sign, around eye-level, with your name, signature and contact information. What it doesn’t mean,– is a rotting old tire on a fence post, a torn or faded unreadable sign, or huge gaps between signs and none at the accessible corners. Signs on trees are most common, but not the most visible. A sign on a post stands out from it’s surroundings.
What Minnesota Hunting Regulations says
Page 8 of your regs says and I paraphrase: “… you may not enter legally posted land or agricultural land without permission”… “landowners … need only post their land once a year… at intervals of 1,000 feet (500 feet in wooded areas) or signs may be placed at primary corners of each parcel and at access points… in 2-inch high letters and have either the signature or the name and telephone number of the landowner…”
A good article by a conservation officer in the Duluth News Tribune by Matthew S. Miller has a nice synopsis.
Where Public and Private Meets
Anywhere a private property line meets a public road, trail, or waterway can be a location for extra care. Snowmobile trails in particular are great for grouse hunting but also cross private property regularly. If it’s important to the landowner to keep people off, post it properly. I’ve seen so many faded old signs out there that leave you scratching your head. Has the landowner moved far away or become to aged to visit his land? Sold it? Have the property taxes been paid, keeping it out of public use?
Trail Camera Evidence
Checking my camera recently, watching a few deer cruising my trails, I got an unpleasant surprise. First comes a hunting dog with an ecollar, then an old coot equipped with brush pants, lanyard, double gun and RGS hat. Clearly not a rookie hunter, walking in on my posted land trail to poach a few birds. The road he came off of has four signs, including the corners, and a gate. Did he not bother to drive to the corners to note where the line is, or just didn’t care? Really? How many birds do you need to kill in your life to want to sneak into posted land on a Friday morning when no one is around? He actually walks up to the camera and looks at it, and walks out soon after on the same trail. Being on a recently cut trail marked with flags should have been one of the clues he was not where he belonged.
Minnesota’s Public Hunting Land Bounty
The state of Minnesota really excels in helping anyone find public hunting land. The first place to look is the DNR’s ruffed grouse page with links to public land maps. For paper maps, the DNR’s PRIM maps are excellent and available to order by mail from the Minnesota Bookstore. Also recommended is a Delorme atlas, using Google earth, state forest paper maps, and county plat maps (some of which are available online). There’s just no excuse to not find easily accessible hunting land with good game opportunities, at least in the Northern third of the state.
Further information on using OnX maps and other apps can be found on my post on mobile gps apps.
By Joel Schnell
Posted November 27, 2018.
Joel Schnell is publisher of www.ruffedgrouseminnesota.com
He can be reached at info[at]ruffedgrouseminnesota.com
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© 2018 Joel Schnell, All Rights Reserved.