Committee Defeats Bill Increasing Hunter Trespassing Penalties

Mar 4, 2013

South Dakota is known for its hunting, but during hunting seasons, some landowners say they see many people trespassing on their personal property. Senate Bill 183 sought to increase penalties for people caught trespassing while hunting. The proposed legislation increases the loss of hunting, trapping or fishing licenses from one year to two for any person who knowingly enters or remains on private property. Jeremiah Murphy with the South Dakota Stockgrowers Association says there are hunters who accidentally get off track, and those who have no regard for personal property.

  “That’s the point where the law meets the people. You’ve got COs, you’ve got sheriff deputies, you’ve got states attorneys, judges and juries all of which are layers against a bad application of a good law such as might occur. Stockgrowers believe this is a good and necessary law to protect our property rights. We believe if you pass this, you’ll really cut down on the needs to have it. It’s enough of a burden on a hunter that I think hunters are going to be a lot more careful in the future if you pass this not to violate it. I trust those with discretion to administer the law to have that discretion and administer it well,” Murphy says.   Opponents of Senate Bill 183 say the language of the proposed law is too broad, and potentially puts people in bad situations by criminalizing innocent mistakes. Members of the House Judiciary Committee sided with the opponents and deferred the bill to the 41st day.