The Saskatchewan government says it’s willing to look at current trespass laws that put the onus on landowners to post their land to keep others out.
“Maybe it should be the other way around,” said Justice Minister Don Morgan after a bear pit session during the Saskatchewan Association of Rural Municipalities annual convention.
“I think that would be a potential discussion.”
That would mean those who want to enter private land would have to ask permission. The province has a Trespass to Property Act that makes it an offence to enter land if the owner objects either verbally or by posting signs.
However, other legislation that governs snowmobiles, all-terrain vehicles and hunting do allow access to some lands.
Arlynn Kurtz, reeve of the RM of Fertile Belt, told the cabinet that the current law needs more teeth.
“If I want to enter somebody’s property, I should go down the driveway, I should go to the door and state why I’m there and what I need,” he said.
Neither Morgan nor Premier Scott Moe, who also addressed the issue, would commit to changes, but they said they would at least have the discussion.
Environment Minister Dustin Duncan said he has heard both sides of the issue when it comes to hunting access.
“We’ve sent surveys out to landowners and hunters on this specific issue about written permission,” he said.
The Saskatchewan Wildlife Federation and other landowner organizations are also surveying people on the issue. Surveys were included in SARM delegate packages.
Two years ago SARM delegates voted in favour of resolutions that would require hunters to ask permission to hunt on unposted land.
Others say that is a challenge because farms are larger and often unoccupied.