Ask a Conservation Officer: What does a 'No Hunting' sign legally mean?
Q: As an outdoors person, I have noticed in Wisconsin as well as Minnesota that sometimes people post their property with "No Hunting" signs. What does "No Hunting" legally mean?
A: As an enforcement officer, I have seen a myriad of land postings from "Do Not Enter" to "No Hunting," "No Trespassing" and "Stay Out."
Each of these signs seems to convey a similar message, that people outside the property are not welcome. Some more-specific signs prohibit a specific activity, while others push for privacy.
According to Minnesota Statute 97B.001 relating to trespass law, there are very specific requirements for land to be considered legally posted, and to authorize law enforcement action for violation. The law specifies that signs must state "No Trespassing" or similar terms. Most of these signs convey such a message that you and I can understand. There also are requirements for timeliness of posting, frequency along property lines, and size of letters. Without each of these statutorily required details covered, enforcement action becomes impossible.
For the best success, "No Trespassing" signs convey the message and meet the requirements of law. For hunters and other recreationists, if you see such a sign then you know the message being conveyed. Respect land ownership and stay out.
Matthew S. Miller is a Minnesota Department of Natural Resources conservation officer with the Lake Superior Marine Unit. Send your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.