John Holyoke | BDN
By John Holyoke, BDN Employees •
December 7, 2018 1:00 am
For years, Maine has been ruled by a customized, if not a selected regulation, that permits hunters and different recreationists to make use of land that they don’t personal, as long as that land is just not posted, or as long as the landowner doesn’t in any other case prohibit the follow.
For some, that open-access coverage is taken as a close to birthright: Generations of hunters typically head into acquainted woods for yr after yr, assuming that they’ve permission to take action. And now and again, landowners voice frustration at that apply, saying they don’t really feel like they will handle their very own land the best way that they need or that their wishes are ignored.
In extraordinarily uncommon instances, tragedy strikes, because it did in 2017 when a Hebron lady was shot and killed whereas digging rocks on her personal land. The land was not posted. A hunter has been charged in her demise.
A month in the past, the BDN requested readers what they considered the open-access coverage and whether or not it must be modified. Of those that responded, 54 % stated they thought the state ought to change its legal guidelines to favor landowners and for many who would use land they don’t personal to realize permission prematurely. One other 24 % of respondents needed no change in any respect. And eventually, 22 % didn’t take a place both approach however did categorical considerations.
Here’s a sampling of what readers needed to say, edited for area and readability:
Invoice Dallmeyer, registered Maine information: “How are we a very free individuals if we might solely journey in place the place others give us their permission? We can’t. In some locations, notably the Scandinavian nations, Everyman’s Proper, or Freedom to Roam, is the customized and regulation of the land and consists of searching. In fact, an incredible duty exists when utilizing firearms and searching, and the horrible tragedy final yr in Maine is absolutely unforgivable. However it’s a uncommon factor. And our freedom is what makes us People … I might not be in favor in any means of requiring permission to hunt on personal land. Landowners already might publish their land and require permission. No one is arguing towards this. Besides probably me, who would advocate Everyman’s Proper.”
Stephanie McChord: “Sure, I really feel strongly that hunters ought to have permission from the landowner to hunt on that land. The landowner can point out any particular considerations about distances, household/animal actions on the land and another issues the hunter is probably not conscious of. My household would grant permission to anybody who exhibits the respect to ask first.”
Patty Faley: “I’ve posted the property many, many occasions through the years and have had lots of my indicators ripped down. I’ve even painted strains on lots of of timber. I decided that was a waste of time and power when the hunter security teacher on the native highschool had no concept what that meant once I talked to him about it. If he wasn’t educating it, what probability was there that hunters would know what it meant? I don’t attempt to impose my beliefs on others, however I want to stay quietly alone property with out worry of a member of my household being shot. This regulation must be modified.”
Dave Martucci: “Irresponsible hunters are inflicting this rethinking of the regulation. I for one really feel strongly the regulation ought to require landowner permission for searching regardless of the place. Anybody might publish “Searching Allowed” indicators if that’s what the landowners need, in any other case there must be no distinction between entry it doesn’t matter what sort of land is concerned.”
Don Bradbury: “I’m a type of individuals who think about it an unfair burden to require a landowner to publish his/her land in an effort to maintain uninvited individuals from utilizing it. I feel we should always have reverse posting, which means that intruders would legally need to assume that the land is posted until they’ve written permission to make use of it.”
James McDonald: “Wouldn’t it be potential to have giant tracts of land owned by firms stay open for searching whereas on the similar time making it unlawful to hunt on personal property with out the permission of the landowner? It’s one factor to stroll the woods however fairly one other to hold a deadly weapon with the intent of killing. I do know of associates who publish their land however nonetheless have hunters encroach upon their property with out permission. The present apply, customized and regulation relating to searching on personal property is not justifiable or acceptable.”
Phillip Kennedy: “’I’ve spoke to the identical two males three years in a row, and one had his son on youth day so near the home I might see them clearly. Once I approached he acquired mad at me and stated he has been searching there since he was a child and is aware of the place the homes are. We solely ask that folks hunt on the higher portion of the property, however they don’t pay attention and ultimately find yourself searching round the home the place it’s posted, so I spend a lot of the season protecting hunters away from my horses than I do out searching myself.”
Sandie Sabaka: “I’ll in all probability be within the minority of your readers, however I discover it astounding that the onus lies on the property proprietor. So no, I don’t agree with it, and sure I feel it must be modified … I hate the damned month of November. I’m a hiker, I need to be within the woods, I need to really feel protected. However the regulation isn’t on my aspect. And victims will all the time be blamed in an accident.”
E.L. Eaton: “The regulation as written is greater than truthful as No. 1, How does a hunter know if the land is personal or public or out there to hunt on by a prepared landowner until it’s posted? No. 2, Landowners are allowed to publish their land in the event that they don’t need anybody trespassing. No. three, If I owned land and didn’t need trespassers I might publish it in accordance with regulation. My land, my duty.”
Timothy I. Applegate: “Does the regulation must be modified? I don’t assume it does. Placing indicators or markers up each 100 ft is burdensome for landowners and perhaps that a part of regulation could possibly be adjusted or clarified. However the present system works and permits for contiguous statewide snowmobile trails, that are an enormous a part of the financial engine for some elements of our state. I would like my land and my postings revered by all customers. If I discover litter, unlawful logging or hunters who haven’t requested permission I must restrict entry.”
Invoice Francis: “I can’t ignore the variety of searching fatalities through the years. I really like the autumn time, as different do. It’s a nice time to stroll within the woods and luxuriate in nature. It’s a disgrace that an individual can’t stroll within the woods, on their very own land, throughout searching season for worry of being shot. That being stated, I feel that it’s time to take a look at this regulation, talk about it, have public hearings and enter, and think about some modifications.”
Charles and Mary Dorchester: “Posting is sensible the place individuals stay, even when their tons are sizable. The normal free entry rule ought to stand within the North Woods and areas with scarce inhabitants. Nevertheless, hunters must be cautious, and when unsure, not hunt an space. And hunters must be respectful of others’ property.”
John Glowa Sr.: “The time for requiring written permission to hunt on personal property is lengthy overdue. Hunters want to acknowledge that they’re a small minority (about one in 10 Mainers hunt), and that Maine is altering and turning into more and more developed. … Hunters are their very own worst enemy. By opposing reform and by persevering with to press for increasingly alternatives to kill Maine’s wildlife, they more and more alienate the nonhunting public. … It’s inevitable that Maine would require written permission to hunt on personal land. It’s only a query of when it’s going to occur and the way a lot the consumptive use extremists and their political enablers in Augusta will kick and scream.”
Ryan Fairfield: “I’m very appreciative of the regulation as it’s written. It permits me the chance to hunt woods which might be close by to my residence in Rome. In any other case, it will be very arduous for me to seek out an space to hunt that isn’t posted.”
Jim Karst: “Posting 55,00zero acres of woodland owned by a paper firm is very ridiculous. Nevertheless, capturing a moose in a subject with a farm within the distance is incorrect. That area belongs to that farm, most certainly. As with so many occasions earlier than, all that’s wanted is a handshake from the farm/landowner … and that moose is yours.”
Suzanne Pleasure: “I feel the regulation because it stands locations all of the burden on the landowner and never the hunter or others who’re trespassing. I don’t begrudge them free entry to unsettled lands owned by timber corporations, however land in settled areas ought to be off limits with out written permission of the landowner. I don’t see why the regulation can’t be adjusted in order that conventional searching areas stay so, that’s, these unsettled areas and timber lands, whereas additionally defending landowner rights in rural areas which are settled and owned by farmers or individuals who truly stay on that land.”
Steve Spencer: “I’ve hunted deer and partridge on each private and non-private land with out landowner permission in Maine for 54 years. Sure, I used to be born and raised right here. It’s not often clear in Maine what land is owned by whom and absent posting the landowner needs are often not clear. The random subdivision of the land and widespread apply of not marking boundaries (even when they’re recognized) makes it terribly troublesome to determine and get permission from landowners.”
Roger Ardston: “I discover that many Mainers contemplate it their God given proper to hunt wherever and each time they really feel prefer it! I’m all for altering the regulation in favor of the landowner.”
Craig Riley: “I consider the regulation ought to stay as is however that landowners ought to be rewarded for permitting searching and recreation on their land by permitting the land house owners solely to hunt on Sundays on their personally owned land solely. This may give them an incentive to go away their land open for others to take pleasure in and in addition give them a profit for his or her tax dollars that others don’t pay.”
Jonathan Eno: “I’m in settlement with reversing the regulation. Whereas nearly all of hunters and leisure consumer on this state are accountable, the numbers of irresponsible ones has grown exponentially. I worry strolling on my property throughout searching season, even my open area. The shortage of courtesy proven by not asking permission to hunt one’s land, to tell the proprietor that sure, I will probably be capturing in your land, has gotten out of hand. I see increasingly more posted properties as I drive by way of the midcoast. I’m loath to need to submit my land, however the one particular person to have EVER requested permission to hunt it, was my sister-in-law’s boyfriend.”