Senate Bill No. 132
Introduced By mesaros, rose, grosfield, tash, crismore, l. taylor, debruycker, beck
A Bill for an Act entitled: "An Act requiring a person who desires to enter or remain upon land to obtain the explicit
permission of the landowner or other authorized person, except
when the stream access law applies FOR CERTAIN
INCIDENTAL PURPOSES; eliminating the provision that permission to enter land is extended by failure to post notice
denying entry; providing that landowner permission is required for entry onto private property for all hunting AND
CERTAIN FISHING; and amending sections 45-6-201 and 87-3-304, MCA."
WHEREAS, THE ACT OF RECREATING ON PRIVATE LAND IS A PRIVILEGE AND NOT A RIGHT; AND
WHEREAS, IT IS COMMON COURTESY TO ASK PERMISSION BEFORE ENTERING PRIVATE PROPERTY; AND
WHEREAS, INCREASED COMMUNICATION NORMALLY LEADS TO LESS CONFRONTATION; AND
WHEREAS, WITH INCREASING RECREATIONAL ACTIVITY ON PRIVATE LAND, IT IS ESSENTIAL TO MAINTAIN A GOOD RAPPORT BETWEEN LANDOWNERS AND RECREATIONALISTS; AND
WHEREAS, THE STATE OF MONTANA HOLDS THE FREE-ROAMING WILDLIFE IN PUBLIC TRUST AND IT IS THE RESPONSIBILITY OF THE STATE TO WORK DILIGENTLY WITH ALL INTERESTED PARTIES TO INFORM AND EDUCATE THEM ON ALL ASPECTS OF RECREATIONAL ACTIVITIES; AND
WHEREAS, IT IS AN UNFUNDED MANDATE BY THE STATE TO REQUIRE PRIVATE PROPERTY OWNERS TO POST PROPERTY TO PREVENT PUBLIC ACCESS.
Be it enacted by the Legislature of the State of Montana:
Section 1. Section 45-6-201, MCA, is amended to read:
"45-6-201. Definition of "enter or remain unlawfully". (1) A person enters or remains unlawfully in or upon any
vehicle, occupied structure, or premises when
he the person is not licensed, invited, or otherwise privileged to do so.
Privilege Except as provided in Title 23, chapter 2, part 3, privilege PRIVILEGE to enter or remain upon land is extended
either by the explicit permission of the landowner or other authorized person or by the failure of the landowner or other
authorized person to post notice denying entry onto private land. The privilege may be revoked at any time by personal
communication of notice by the landowner or other authorized person to the entering person.
(2) To provide for effective posting of private land through which the public has no right-of-way
, the notice provided for in
subsection (1) must satisfy the following requirements:
(a) a notice must be placed on a post, structure, or natural object by marking it with written notice or with not less than 50 square inches of fluorescent orange paint, except that when metal fenceposts are used, the entire post must be painted; and
(b) the notice described in subsection (2)(a) must be placed at each outer gate and normal point of access to the property, including both sides of a water body crossing the property wherever the water body intersects an outer boundary line.
(3) To provide for effective posting of private land through which or along which the public has an unfenced right-of-way by means of a public road, a landowner shall:
(a) place a conspicuous sign no closer than 30 feet of the centerline of the roadway where it enters the private land, stating words substantially similar to "PRIVATE PROPERTY, NO TRESPASSING OFF ROAD NEXT ___ MILES"; or
(b) place a notice, as described in subsection (2)(a), no closer than 30 feet of the centerline of the roadway at regular intervals of not less than one-fourth mile along the roadway where it borders unfenced private land, except that orange markings may not be placed on posts where the public roadway enters the private land.
If Regardless of whether property has been posted in substantial compliance with subsection (2) or (3), it is considered
closed to public access unless explicit permission to enter is given by the landowner or his the landowner's authorized
agent. A PERSON WHO INCIDENTALLY ENTERS PROPERTY CLOSED TO PUBLIC ACCESS IS NOT IN
VIOLATION OF THIS SUBSECTION IF THE ENTRY IS BECAUSE OF THE PERSON'S MISTAKEN BELIEF
CONCERNING THE LOCATION OF PROPERTY BOUNDARIES.
(5) The department of fish, wildlife, and parks shall
attempt to educate and inform all persons holding hunting, fishing, or
trapping licenses or permits by including on any publication concerning the licenses or permits, in condensed form, the
provisions of this section concerning entry on private land. The department shall use public media, as well as its own
publications, in attempting to educate and inform EDUCATING AND INFORMING other recreational users of the
provisions of this section. In the interests of providing the public with clear information regarding the public nature of
certain unfenced rural rights-of-way, the department may develop and distribute posting signs that satisfy the requirements
of subsection (3).
(6) THIS SECTION DOES NOT PREVENT THE ENTRY UPON PROPERTY BY EMERGENCY PERSONNEL, INDIVIDUALS ENGAGED IN RETRIEVING STRAY LIVESTOCK, PERSONS WHO ENTER FOR PURPOSES OF INQUIRY OR INCIDENTAL SOLICITATION, OR PERSONS WITH EXPRESS OR IMPLIED PERMISSION TO CONDUCT BUSINESS OR SERVICE-RELATED ACTIVITIES.
(6)(7) For purposes of this section, "land" means land as defined in 70-15-102. (7)(8) In no event may civil liability be imposed upon the owner or occupier of premises by reason of any privilege created
by this section."
Section 2. Section 87-3-304, MCA, is amended to read:
"87-3-304. Landowner's permission required for
big game hunting AND FISHING. Every resident and nonresident
must have obtained permission of the landowner, lessee, or their agents before hunting big game animals on private
property OR FISHING UPON WATERS NOT SUBJECT TO ACCESS UNDER TITLE 23, CHAPTER 2, PART 3."