Posted Private Property

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Indiana Conservation Officers ticket several hunters each year for hunting on private property without permission.

Indiana Code Section 14-22-10-1 provides that [a] person may not:

(1) fish, hunt, trap, or chase;

(2) shoot with any kind of firearm or archery equipment;

(3) search for or gather any plant life (defined as the members of the kingdoms Fungi and Plantae); or

(4) search for or gather any artifacts (as defined in IC 14-21-1-2);

upon privately owned land without having the consent of the owner or tenant of the land.

A person who violates this law commits a Class C Misdemeanor, subject to imprisonment for up to 60 days and fine of up to $500.

This means that you must get permission from the landowner or tenant before hunting or trapping birds or other animals. You must also get permission before target shooting or hunting mushrooms.

You are responsible for knowing whose land you are using for hunting. Don’t depend solely on a map or plat book for landowner information because plat books are often very inaccurate. Always go to the landowner or tenant and make absolutely sure that you understand which piece of land you have permission to hunt. Ignorance is no excuse.

Many hunters hunt land that is owned or leased by the State of Indiana. The local conservation offices have maps of the approved hunting areas, but some of the maps are misleading. For example, coal companies have closed some roads that are shown on the outdated state maps. It is important to verify the location of a public hunting area with a Conservation Officer before hunting to avoid a navigation error.

The law does not require you to have written permission to hunt on privately owned property, but you may have a hard time proving your permission without written permission. A smart hunter will always get written permission from the landowner or tenant before hunting. A good plan is to copy a plat map for the property, highlight the hunting ground location on the copy, and get the landowner or tenant to write the permission in a margin or on the back of the map. You can keep the map and your hunting license together in your wallet for future reference.

Always practice good safety habits and show respect for landowners’ property when you are hunting. Common sense, common courtesy, and good sportsmanship help make hunting a lasting heritage for generations to come. Happy hunting.

Jeff R. Hawkins and Jennifer J. Hawkins are Trust & Estate Specialty Board Certified Indiana Trust & Estate Lawyers and active members of the Indiana State Bar Association and National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys. Both lawyers are admitted to practice law in Indiana, and Jeff Hawkins is admitted to practice law in Illinois. Jeff is also a registered civil mediator, a Fellow of the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel and the Indiana Bar Foundation;  a member of the Illinois State Bar Association and the Indiana Association of Mediators; and he was the 2014-15 President of the Indiana State Bar Association.

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