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What you need to know about the law that allows hunters on your land

Maine had more than 219,000 licensed hunters in 2016, and those hunters find spots to recreate in a heavily forested state. One thing you might not know is that hunters generally are allowed to pursue and shoot game on your property, whether you granted permission or not.

Simply put, hunters, hikers and explorers are typically allowed access to woodlands that aren’t marked with “No Trespassing” or “Access by Permission Only” signs or other markings.

“If it isn’t visibly posted, you do not need landowner permission to access it,” Cpl. John MacDonald of the Maine Warden Service said. “It’s different for all-terrain vehicles. You do need permission to ride on the land.”

According to the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry, Maine has more than 17 million forested acres. Much of that land is open to hunting. In fact, in a practice that may seem foreign to some who move here from other states, Maine hunters are allowed to assume that land is open if access is not specifically prohibited by posting.

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In the wake of the Saturday shooting death of a Hebron woman by a hunter, many Mainers will likely be re-examining their own access policies on land they own. The woman, Karen Wrentzel, was on land that was not posted, according to MacDonald.

Here are several basic rules to keep in mind.

The Fiddlehead Focus / St. John Valley Times is pleased to feature content from our sister company, Bangor Daily News. To read the rest of “What you need to know about the law that allows hunters on your land,” an article by contributing Bangor Daily News staff writer John Holyoke, please follow this link to the BDN online.

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