Current Legislation

An Act Relative to Hunting or Trapping on Private Land

House Bill 824

Sponsor: Representative Martin J. Walsh
Co-sponsors: Representatives: Balser, Calter, Canavan, Coakley-Rivera, Conroy, Dwyer, Ehrlich, Hecht, Khan, Lewis, Orrall, Pignatelli, Provost, Reinstein, David M. Rogers, Sciortino, Chris Walsh 

MSPCA position:  Support

Bill Status: click here

What would this law do?
The burden is currently on property owners to post a sign if they do not want hunters to come on their property.  This bill would shift this burden, so that hunters must obtain written permission to engage in these activities on private property.

Why change this law?
Concerns about trespassing on private property and ensuring landowner safety while enjoying their private property has prompted a call for change in this law.

Many landowners prefer to observe or enjoy the presence of wildlife and do not want animals killed on their land without giving their express permission.  The burden and expense of posting signs should simply not be on the landowner.

Twenty-one other states have laws that more fairly balance the interests and rights of landowners and hunters. This law would place the burden more appropriately on sportsmen to obtain landowner permission to hunt on private land.

Public safety and shared use
The increasingly suburban environment of Massachusetts leaves the chance for conflict and accidental injuries.  The Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife manages over 200,000 acres of land in over 100 wildlife management areas that are open to hunting year round and therefore this proposed change does not significantly impact overall hunting opportunities. 

Sponsor: Representative Martin Walsh