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Hunters should ask first before hunting on private land (2005-10-18)
Respect private property; ask first. That's the message to hunters from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR). Hunters must receive permission to hunt on agricultural lands and are strongly encouraged by the DNR to ask before hunting on any private property.

Hunters and private property owners don't always see eye-to-eye, said Wayne Edgerton, DNR agricultural policy coordinator. Hunters sometimes have difficulty understanding why so much land is posted. Some landowners are baffled that hunters can't understand why the land is posted. But it's up to the hunters to understand the landowner's situation and point of view.

"With the Minnesota firearms deer season opening Nov. 5, hunters must remember that their actions reflect on all other hunters," Edgerton said. "Hunting on someone else's property is a privilege that must be earned and can be taken away by a hunter's careless act. Hunters should demonstrate their appreciation and prove that the landowner's trust in them isn't misplaced."

Edgerton offered several guidelines to help hunters maintain good landowner relations:

- respect the landowner's property as if it were your own

- don't litter. Carry away litter left by others

- find out where you may drive and park your vehicle

- know the boundaries of the property you have permission to hunt

- keep your hunting party small and let the landowner know who is in your hunting party

- think before you shoot; know your target and what is beyond it

- don't walk through unharvested crops or hunt near livestock or buildings

- leave gates as you found them

- don't build fires, mark trees or alter the landscape without specific permission

- give the landowner your name, address, phone number, vehicle model and license

- if you have permission to return, find out if there are times and places you should avoid

- even if you have permission to return, always attempt to let the landowner know where and when you will be hunting on that property

- let the landowner know when you are done hunting and if any animals were harvested

- after the hunt, offer to share a portion of your cleaned game or send a gift or card.

"Most hunters respect private property rights and appreciate a landowner's point of view," Edgerton said. "The few who don't make it difficult for everyone."

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