In every session of the North Dakota Legislature a no trespass/no hunting bill comes forward from a few people. Thankfully it has always been soundly defeated in the Legislature as a bill that is a perennial bad idea. Our current recreational access law allows sportsmen to hunt private land that is not posted. It has stood the test of time and legislative compromise for most of 90 years.
The new bill, SB2315, would require permission on all private land, which is 93 percent of North Dakota, even from landowners who have never posted. As a farmer I believe this new trespass bill would be a public relations disaster for the North Dakota ag community. Think about it.
Farmers have depended on public financial support to stay in business. Taxpayer-funded farm programs through the USDA have funneled billions of dollars into North Dakota agriculture. Add in other low-interest loans and grants for infrastructure like electricity, rural water and fiber optic. It made farms more profitable and valuable. Try that on your own dime. I am grateful for that public support. So how will the ag community show gratitude for that public assistance now? With a no trespass/no hunting bill.
A new statewide no trespass law seems to me a shortsighted and mean-spirited way to thank the hundreds of thousands of citizens who hunt and fish in our state and have supported us in agriculture. Those sportsmen will go someplace else and take their good will and dollars with them if this bill passes. That good will is too valuable to squander with a no trespass/no hunting bill.
Call your state legislators to defeat this anti-hunting proposal, SB2315.
Dick Monson, Valley City