Limiting Trespassing | Mossy Oak Gamekeeper
Gamekeepers Magazine

Limiting Trespassing

By: Jarrod Stephens

Temptation to cross onto property without permission can be caused by many factors. As the landowner, you should be vigilant first not to create a reason for trespassers to want to go onto your property. Avoid planting plots that are visible from roadways or other properties. Creating a visual barrier between public roadways and your food plots is advisable, further aiding in limiting trespassing. You should also take steps to create visual and sometimes even physical barriers to remove any excuses as to why an uninvited guest comes onto your property.


Todd Amenrud

Mark Your Property with No Trespassing Signs

no-trespassing-signOne of the simplest and cheapest first steps to limit trespassing is to clearly mark your property boundaries with “No Trespassing” signs. Sure, a sign only works well if the person reading it has the integrity and character to follow it. It gives all a visual clue where your property boundary is located and that you do not want encroachment. It can deter ethical hunters and remove excuses for accidental trespassing. Signs are especially important and effective where fences, roadways and other boundaries are not present.

Signs should be placed in plain view and not be spaced too far apart. Placing them high enough to where they are out of reach can keep them from being stolen. Generally speaking, to make your signs have the best effect you should be able to see one at any point where your land can be approached. That means in thicker timber, signs should be hung closer to one another than open areas. Hanging highly visible signs on trees, gates and fence posts can remove a would-be-trespassers desire to encroach. Identify areas that are prone to trespassing and put the signs closer together. The use of reflective or high visibility paints on boundary trees can also be effective. Check your state’s requirements for such signs before you begin this project.

Use Fencing to Clearly Mark Boundaries

Whenever people are hunting areas where numerous properties converge, accidental trespassing is not uncommon. A two or three strand barbed-wire fence through a wooded area is sufficient for clearly marking boundaries. However, before placing any permanent barriers on your property it is imperative that you know the exact location of your property line. Follow the description in your land deed or have the area surveyed for the most accurate location of your boundary.

Barbed wire fencing creates a good physical barrier that will not interfere with wildlife travel but will remove dimwitted excuses for hunters not knowing where your property line is located. Barbed wire fencing is also an enduring property line marker that can last decades once established.

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All gates along your property line should be chained and locked. Additional strands of fencing near high traffic areas can help thwart the temptation to cross onto your property.

Install Roads and Trails for a Visual Barrier

road-and-visual-barrierPerhaps the best visual barrier that you can create to mark your property line is a boundary road or trail. Roads that mark your property line will also become an asset to you as it will make traveling to your favorite hunting location and accessing the property for improvements easier. The roads do not have to be a “four-lane highway” but just enough to make the property line visible. In areas where ground level plants are dense the roadway can actually become a funnel for wildlife movement so they can be a win-win for you.

As wildfires have become quite prevalent in certain locations of our nation, having a barrier road can also aid firefighters in the case of the unfortunate wildfire spreading in your area. The roadway will also help create a fire-break and limit the spread of fire.

Whenever possible combining several efforts to limit or stop trespassing is most effective. A roadway along with a barbed wire fence gives both a visual and physical barrier that will be difficult for trespassers to ignore. Add signs and hunters will have no excuse to enter your property. However, you may still have some unethical people that just don’t care.

Create a Network of Landowners to Limit Trespassing

spartan-trail-cameraIt’s fair to say that not too many landowners appreciate trespassing. It negatively affects their hunting success or creates unsafe hunting conditions. The last thing that you want when it comes to trespassing is conflict with neighboring landowners. Honest mistakes can be made, but you can usually tell if it’s a mistake or intentional. Getting to know other landowners in your area and those who may lease the land for hunting can help you create a plan to limit trespassing on all properties. Cost sharing for fencing or roadway creation along property boundaries can help you and your neighbors save a lot of money.

You’d be hard pressed to find anyone who appreciates a trespasser, so creating a network of landowners who are willing to help you monitor such activity can prove to be worth the effort. Whenever hunters are willingly trespassing on your property, it is likely that they are trespassing on neighboring properties as well. It very well may be your neighbors who are trespassing, so making your position on the matter clear is important.

Never create a reason for someone to want to trespass on your property. Avoid bragging about big bucks and your food plots so that others are not tempted to encroach upon your land. However, do let neighbors and others know that you’re monitoring your property.

Trespassing on your property can be frustrating when it negatively affects your hunting success. In addition, it can become quite costly if you have a hunting cabin or other structures that might become the target of thieves or vandals. The use of cameras near any structures can provide digital evidence that could prove to be important in the instance that legal action needs to be taken due to trespassing.

If you do not live on your hunting property, finding individuals who own an adjoining property is an excellent way to keep eyes on your property when you are not there. As hunting and scouting increase before and during seasons, find out from neighboring landowners if they will have hunters on their land. Knowing who to expect and letting them know that you don’t want anyone on your property can prevent unwanted encounters.

Spend Time on Your Property


It is much easier for a trespasser to feel comfortable on your property whenever they know that you are not present, or if the property is run down and not tended. Spending time on your spread will make would-be-trespassers uncomfortable. Maintain your fences and signage to give evidence of your recent presence. Keeping your property’s frontage mowed and maintaining the buildings that are visible from public roadways will make the property seem under watch even when you are not present. If you don’t spend time on your property, someone else likely will. Ride your trails regularly and keep cameras fresh to reduce the likelihood of trespassers feeling comfortable there.

Prevention Pays

Unfortunately, some trespassers will not heed barriers or warnings and will continue to annoy. Be vigilant in collecting evidence of the trespassing with digital proof if possible and don’t hesitate to call your game warden whenever you suspect hunting violations. And when you catch someone, prosecute! Then, hopefully word gets out not to violate your boundaries…or else.

While stopping all trespassing may not be possible, any effort that you make to limit it helps. Each of these steps can be combined throughout the duration of your ownership to create a safer hunting spread for you and your friends. Begin by creating a network of landowners, add signs, while building fencing and roadways can be an ongoing project. As the old adage states, “An ounce of prevention is worth more than a pound of cure.” Your efforts to prevent trespassing are a lot more valuable and tolerable than finding yourself in a trespasser’s crosshairs as they scope out your property.

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