Both landowners and hunters in North Carolina should understand some basic laws and rules about hunting on private property.
Landowner Protection Act
The North Carolina Landowner Protection Act is the key law regulating hunting, fishing, and trapping on private property. If the property owner has installed “posted” signs on his land, the law requires for all hunters, fishermen, and trappers to receive written consent from the landowner in order to hunt, fish, or trap on his land.
In addition to posted signs, landowners may use purple paint to post their land against trespassing. The state allows this because paint is easier to apply and less likely to be vandalized than signs. All paint marks must be a vertical line of eight inches or more, and should be between three and five feet above the ground on trees or posts. To review the purple paint posting procedure, follow this link on the NC Wildlife Resources Commission website: http://www.ncwildlife.org/Portals/0/Conserving/documents/LandownerProtectionAct/Landowner_Ad.pdf
Written Landowner Permission
The hunter, fisherman, or trapper who has permission to hunt on private property must keep the landowner’s written permission form on his body at all times. To download the form, follow this link to the NC Wildlife Resources Commission website: http://www.ncwildlife.org/Portals/0/Conserving/documents/LandownerProtectionAct/Landowner_Permission_Form_Full_Size_07-2011.pdf
As a protection to landowners, state law provides that landowners are not held any more liable for injuries caused by or happening to visiting (with landowner permission) hunters, fishermen, or trappers than they would be liable for a trespasser.
But the landowner who charges a hunter, fisherman, or trapper to use his land takes on increased liability. In addition, if the landowner uses “malicious behavior” to cause visitor injuries, or “purposefully neglects” to warn of known dangers on his land, the landowner may be held liable for resulting injuries.
Shawn S. Lealos, “Hunting in North Carolina: 4 Things for Landowners to Know About Hunting on Private Property, Newsmax, May 28, 2015, http://www.newsmax.com/FastFeatures/hunting-north-carolina-landowners-private/2015/05/28/id/647352/
North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission website, http://www.ncwildlife.org
Vance R. Parker, JD, MBA, is an avid North Carolina outdoorsman, and estate planning, elder law, and special needs attorney, who also works to protect rural landowners, and drafts firearms trusts for sportsmen and sportswomen. He serves as Secretary of the North Carolina Rifle and Pistol Association (NCRPA.) Vance R. Parker’s legal practice, Vance Parker Law, PLLC, located in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, is A+ Rated by the NC Better Business Bureau.
Vance R. Parker also maintains the sportsmen’s and sportswomen’s law website NC Sportsmen’s Law News.