Farmers' Rights and Obligations – Pennsylvania Farm Bureau

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15. What are my property rights regarding hunters?

Safety zones: It is unlawful for any person other than the lawful occupant to hunt, trap, pursue or disturb any game or wildlife within 150 yards around a dwelling, barn or stable without specific advance permission of the occupant. A safety zone of 50 yds. is established for archery and crossbow hunting. (Code – Section 2505)

Property damage: It is unlawful for any person, while hunting game or wildlife or taking furbearers, to cause or assist in causing damage to real or personal property. Also, it is unlawful to leave gates or bars open, break down or destroy fences, or tear down or scatter rail, post, wood or stone piles. It is unlawful to harass, injure or kill livestock of any kind. (Code – Section 2509)

Hunter trespass: The game and wildlife code prohibits persons from hunting or trapping in any unharvested buckwheat, corn, sorghum or soybean fields without permission of the owner or person in charge of the property. (Code – Section 2509) Act 107 of 2019 makes trespassing while hunting a primary offense, which makes it easier for Game Wardens to cite hunters who trespass on private property. A hunter caught trespassing on private property can be charged with a third-degree summary offense, which carries a minimum penalty of $250. In addition, if a hunter defies an order from a landowner to leave, the hunter can be charged with a misdemeanor, which carries a maximum penalty of a $3,000 fine and 6 months jail time. Any person who commits two hunting trespass violations within a seven-year period will face a misdemeanor charge for the second offense and lose the privilege to hunt in Pennsylvania for one year. (Code – Sections 2314 (a) and (c))

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A hunter who fails to obtain prior written permission to hunt on private land on the Sundays authorized in Act 107 will face an additional third-degree summary offense with a minimum $250 fine. (Code – Section 2315)

Littering: It is unlawful for any person, while hunting or trapping, to deposit or leave any garbage, bottles, cartons, glass, paper, or debris other than in a receptacle maintained for that purpose. (Code – Section 2510) Restrictions on Vehicles: It is unlawful to drive a motor vehicle while hunting or trapping on any cleared land except with the permission of persons in charge of the land. Also, it is unlawful to park a vehicle thus restricting entry to or exit from a person’s property, cattleway or field. (Code – Section 2510)

Damage to Trees: It is unlawful, while hunting or preparing to hunt for game or wildlife, to cause damage to any trees located on public or private lands as a result of use of a tree stand, unless written permission is given in advance. (Code – Section 2511)

Landowner Liability: July 2007, the PA legislature amended Pennsylvania’s landowner liability protection extending protection of landowners whom allow free access for hunting, from liability to include any injury to persons or property, “wherever such persons or property are located”. This Act addresses lawsuits for accidents or injuries on or off the property where free access is permitted.

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Ethan Smith is a seasoned marine veteran, professional blogger, witty and edgy writer, and an avid hunter. He spent a great deal of his childhood years around the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest in Arizona. Watching active hunters practise their craft initiated him into the world of hunting and rubrics of outdoor life. He also honed his writing skills by sharing his outdoor experiences with fellow schoolmates through their high school’s magazine. Further along the way, the US Marine Corps got wind of his excellent combination of skills and sought to put them into good use by employing him as a combat correspondent. He now shares his income from this prestigious job with his wife and one kid. Read more >>