Archived Story

Ohioans need stronger trespassing laws

Published 12:38pm Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Ohioans are increasingly voicing their concerns about the growing problem of trespassing.

Trespassers could be uninvited hunters/trappers/fishermen or could be the increasing cadre of illegal ATV riders that appear oblivious to personal property rights. Trespassers could be a contingent of many uninvited individuals traveling onto private property knowingly and willingly for various reasons without the landowners’ permission.

Thanks to the Ohio Farm Bureau, in 2009, Ohio’s All-Purpose Vehicle Law, Section 4519.47 of the revised code, made it easier to prosecute trespassers. The law allows landowners to take action against trespassers who damage property.

The legislation provides those who trespass on an ATV to face increased penalties and a “3rd strike and you’re out” provision that allows for the confiscation of their vehicle. ATVs are also required to display a visible license plate or number that would help law enforcement officials identify trespassers.

Permission is always required to hunt or fish on private property. Failure to obtain permission from the property owner results in trespassing. Ohio law requires hunters to obtain written permission from the landowner and to carry the permission form with them while on the property.

The Ohio Department of Natural Resources has forms available that are the preferred form for permission.

Knowingly entering land or property of another violates Ohio’s trespassing law, Section 2911.21. Enclosures and postings used to restrict access, such as signs and fences, must be respected. Failing to leave after being notified by the owner or coming in contact with posted signs is considered trespassing.

Vacant property of any type or size is not an open invitation to trespassers for their unlimited use or any use — if you do not own it then stay off the property unless the landowner has given permission.

A common myth is that the property must be “posted” with “No Trespassing” or similar signs before a criminal trespass can occur. This is not so. A property owner is under no duty to “post” his/her property or to advise everyone that they are about to enter private property.

Rather, it is the duty of the hunter/fisherman/ATVer/APVer/other to know who owns the property upon which they are entering. A hunter or fisherman who enters property that he/she knows he does not have permission to enter is guilty of trespassing regardless of whether he knows who the actual owner of the property is.

Landowners have a full right to use their property for their own benefit and some landowners have paid considerable sums for that right. Landowners also pay property taxes, insurance and upkeep for use of their property and not for use by trespassers.

In my opinion, Ohio legislators should strengthen these laws and increase penalties against trespassers thereby protecting personal property rights of all Ohio landowners.

Jane Huff


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  • deist

    I agree with th writer that laws must be enforced. That is the problem , not enough money to hire enforcement officers. But I am amazed that someone would advocate death for someone simply riding an ATV on someones property. Do you realize how insane tat sounds? If our society ever resorts to such arcane and barbaric remedies, we are lost.

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  • mikehaney

    Can’t be absolutely sure about this, but do atv’s run “off” atv trails in Wayne National? Run thru Wayne National,stop and rob, then run back into Wayne National.
    Also, here at Pedro, a farmer had to put up a barricade to keep atv’s from making a path thru his planted field.
    They didn’t just run a path around the perimeter. The path went straight thru his crop.
    Also disturbed when seeing children being transported on an atv by an adult out here on 522. Wouldn’t this be considered child endangerment?

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  • mickakers

    Poor Richard; I find merit in your comment. My compliments.

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  • Poor Richard

    Just nearly every crime committed is done so when a trespasser crosses onto someone else’s property. As I have said in past comments, citizens should have the right to take lethal action against anyone that is trespassing on their property for any reason, a perk provided by many other states. I think it was in 2011 when the Columbus Dispatch published articles about alot of upset citizens wanting the trespassing laws strenghtened in the city of Columbus. It appears Ohio farmers had to go to the Ohio Farm Bureau to get something done.

    The Forest Service has made the ATV problem 100 times worse with their ATV trails. ATVs are rampant in that part of the county. Most go off trail onto private land and buzz around residential areas where they are not wanted. Up and down public roadways where none of them carry insurance and none of them are suppose to be riding those pieces of junk. Anyone trying to enjoy the forest whether hiking, birding, or fishing have to listen to those idiot ATVers that not only disturb other forest users but also wildlife.


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    good artical, the trouble is getting the law to inforced. at leased in scioto co, if they don’t see it they don’t do nothing about it. Mabe after this election we will get someone in office that will inforce the laws but i dought it very much.

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