Dealing with trespassers on your land | Living the Country Life

Dealing with trespassers on your land

Learn how to approach a trespasser and how to involve law enforcement

Landowners who don’t want people traipsing around their property should have no-trespassing signs and fences clearly marking the boundaries. But, it doesn’t always work.

Bob King is an agriculture specialist at Monroe Community College in Rochester, New York. He says when you find unwanted visitors on your property, it’s important to be congenial. Perhaps they didn’t know they were on your land, or didn’t see the no-trespassing signs. Be pleasant, visit with them, and make them aware they are trespassing.

You might encounter someone who is intentionally up to no good. Don’t engage with a person carrying a weapon or who physically looks intimidating.

King recommends gathering all the information you can about the trespasser, and report it to law enforcement.

"If you’re interacting with people that are unwanted on the property, try to make mental notes of identifying features of the individual that’s doing the trespass," says King. "Make note of how that person accessed the property. Make sure you take notice as to the make and model of the vehicle, the license plate number."

Also note what they appeared to be doing. Were they mushroom hunting, fishing, looking at your equipment, or casing the place?  Law enforcement needs all the physical evidence and documentation you can give them in order to follow up.

But, King says don’t expect them to go onto your property to find the trespasser.

"What they may do is take mental notes, they’ll take physical notes of the location, the access, and then provide a card on that vehicle indicating ‘call me regarding an incident involving trespass’. Often times that’s sufficient to keep people from coming back on your property again," says King.

In most states, if you ask someone to leave your property, he or she is required by law to leave.

Learn more:

Tips for keeping trespassers off your property

State-by-state laws on hunting and trespassing

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