Area of Law: Animals and the Law
Answer # 458
Hunters on your propertyRegion: Ontario Answer # 458
“No Hunting” signs marking systems
All property owners in Ontario have the right to keep hunters off their property. One way to do this is by putting signs around the property indicating that hunting is not permitted. The signs must be posted in a particular way, as set out in the Trespass to Property Act. Signs posted on the property must be clearly visible in daylight under normal conditions from the approach to each ordinary point of access to the premises. You could use signs that have the word “hunting” written on them or show a graphic representation of someone hunting and then put an oblique line through the word or the picture.
Instead of signs, you could use a marking system to notify hunters that hunting on your property is prohibited. The Trespass to Property Act provides for the use of red or yellow markings that are made and posted, provided they are of sufficient size that a circle which is 10 centimetres in diameter could fit wholly inside the marking. The markings must be clearly visible in daylight under normal conditions from the approach to each ordinary point of access to your property.
Red markings mean that entry on the premises is prohibited. Yellow markings mean that entry on the premises is prohibited except for the purpose of certain activities. To ensure that the markings you use are correct, you should seek legal advice or contact the Ministry of Natural Resources which oversees hunting. You can also contact the Ministry of the Attorney General, which administers the Trespass to Property Act.
Hunting dogs on your property
Often, hunters use their dogs to go on ahead of them and flush the hunted animals out. Even in the case where it is not hunters themselves but their dogs that enter your property, this may also be considered trespassing.
In the case where a hunter or a hunter’s dog is on your property, you should consult the police and the local Ministry of Natural Resources office. If you have posted proper signs or markings on your property, you, a person authorized by you, or a police officer can arrest the trespasser without a warrant. However, anyone making an arrest who is not a police officer must promptly call for the assistance of a police officer.
If the person has trespassed and has since left the premises, only a police officer can go after them and make the arrest. Under the law, the trespasser may be ordered to pay a fine, or go to prison. The Ministry of Natural Resources might also be of assistance.
The Ministry regulates hunting, trapping and other uses of wild animals in Ontario. Its authority is set out in the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act. This Act provides that when hunting, the hunter must not violate the Trespass to Property Act. Violators of the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act may be ordered to pay a fine, or go to prison.
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