What Happens When You Hunt on Private Property Without Permission in Oklahoma?
Oklahoma’s says that hunters must get permission to enter any land that is posted, occupied or primarily used for farming, ranching or forestry. To enter this land without permission is considered criminal trespassing. But, as most hunters have wondered at some point, what are the actual consequences for breaking this rule?
First, let’s talk about what the law means by posted land. To be considered posted land in Oklahoma, the property must have signs that say “No Trespassing,” “Keep Out,” “Property Restricted,” or something similar. Oklahoma law states that whether the land is fenced or not, the signs should be placed in all the areas where it would be normal for someone to enter the property. The signs must be conspicuously placed. The only legal way to hunt on private property is to get consent from the owner. It is important to note that consent by the owner to hunt on their land is only considered valid for a year. The consent may last longer if the owner gives consent for a specific period of time.
The consequences for hunting on someone else’s private property without getting permission first can vary in Oklahoma based on the type of land and the hunter’s number of previous trespassing convictions. For a first time offense on land that is primarily used for farming, ranching, and forestry, the minimum fine for trespassing is $500 and the maximum is $1,500. The court can also order the hunter to pay restitution for any damages incurred.
For another offense after the first, the hunter receives a misdemeanor. They may be fined between $1,500 and $2,500 or be jailed anywhere from 30 days to six months in the county jail. The trespasser may also face both the fine and the jail sentence. The court can also order restitution for damages in this case, too.
For regular posted property, the fine is $250 or less, unless the person committed waste, theft, or damage. Then, they are fined between $500 and $1,500, sentenced to 30 days to 6 months in county jail, or both.
One exception that can be used as a defense for trespassing while hunting is if the person genuinely believes they had permission to be on that land. However, they have to prove this by having written permission to be on an adjoining property. A hunter can’t use this defense if they’ve been found guilty of trespass before.