SIDNEY — It’s beginning to feel like fall and the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office is preparing to receive phone calls of people trespassing on their property.
“In 2018, we received 89 trespassing calls,” said Shelby County Sheriff John Lenhart during his weekly interview. “In 207, we received 87 calls.
“A lot of these calls dealt with people hunting on their property,” he said. “Whether they are hunting mushrooms, doves, quail or deer, you must have permission to be a on person’s property.”
Lenhart said some of the hunting seasons began Sept.1.
“But we’re not just getting complaints about hunters, we also receive reports of people riding 4-Wheelers who are trespassing,” said Lenhart. “The owners of the land might have a wooded lot that is special to them. They don’t want people there.”
Property owners, said Lenhart, are concerned about the liability of someone hunting or riding a 4-Wheeler on their property. And, he said, trespassing is against the law.
Some tips for property owners include:
• Putting up No trespassing” signs on their property. The signs must be 3 to 5 feet off the group and placed 500 feet apart. The signs must be visible at all times.
• Trespassing is a crime in Ohio
• If the person is a known trespasser or a guest at a U-Pick business, there’s protection written into a law to protect the landowner against a civil lawsuit.
• If a visiting person to a property is allowed to walk to the woods and gets hurt, the owner is not liable.
• If the land owner intentionally sets booby traps against trespassers, and the person is injured, then the property owner is responsible and could get sued.
Lenhart encourages all land owners to put up signage warning against trespassing. His office will send a deputy to the property if someone is trespassing.
“The first time, we’re going to warn them if the signage is up,” said Lenhart. “The second time, they will be arrested. We’ve made 10 trespassing arrests over the past two years.”
Lenhart said if someone wants to hunt on your property, you should get a signed agreement between both parties. The ODNR, he said, has agreements online that can be downloaded.
Hunting laws vary on which game is being hunted, said Lenhart. ODNR has all the rules and regulations on its website or the information is available where a hunting license is purchased.
Some of the hunting rules include:
• The person cannot hunt out of a motor vehicle, board, aircraft or drone. It’s a felony if the hunter is caught doing one of these things, he said.
• The hunter cannot fire a gun from a moving vehicle.
• The hunter cannot use explosives when hunting.
• The hunter cannot shot across a roadway, railroad or by a church, cemetery or school.
“We once caught a hunter with his deer blind set up in a cemetery,” said Lenhart.
• All hunters, and people walking with them, must wear hunter orange.
• Hunters should ask permission of farmers before going onto the property to hunt. Make sure you know the boundaries of the property so you’re not trespassing on another person’s property.
• A warning will be issued the first time a deputy is called to a property about a hunter. The second call will result in an arrest.
Lenhart said snowmobilers and 4-Wheelers cannot be used on a property without the landowner’s permission.
“Think safety first,” said Lenhart. “There’s not a year that goes by that we don’t receive a call that someone has fallen out of a deer stand.
“If you are hunting, be careful, get permission from the property owner to hunt there, wear hunter orange and be careful what you’re shooting at,” said Lenhart.
The writer conducts a weekly interview to update readers with news from the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office, 555 Gearhart Road, Sidney.