Gov. Doug Burgum today signed Senate Bill 2144, making North Dakota the first state in the nation to allow electronic posting of private land and giving landowners another option for posting their private property.
“Senate Bill 2144 is a shining example of what we can accomplish when we work together and harness the power of technology to find new, innovative solutions to complex problems,” Burgum said. “This bill will ensure that landowners and hunters alike have a convenient option for posting private land and checking its status, while also leaving the traditional posting process in place for those who wish to continue using it.”
Under current North Dakota law, private land is considered open to hunting unless the landowner, or an individual authorized by the owner, posts the land with signs notifying hunters that no hunting is permitted unless they obtain permission from the landowner. Senate Bill 2144 gives landowners the option of posting their land electronically to an online database managed by the North Dakota Game and Fish Department instead of posting it physically with traditional signs. Hunters will be able to check whether the land is open for hunting via the Game and Fish website or a downloadable app.
The bill also gives discretion to law enforcement by allowing them a range of options for charging a trespasser, from a non-criminal offense up to a Class A misdemeanor, depending on the severity of the offense, if they caused property damage or if they are repeat offenders.
Lt. Gov. Brent Sanford praised the “amazing collaboration” that led to the bill’s broad bipartisan support, passing the Senate 44-2 and the House 89-3. The law takes effect Aug. 1, 2021.
Joining Burgum for the signing were Sanford, prime sponsor Sen. Bob Erbele, bill co-champion Sen. Dale Patten and Rep. Todd Porter. In addition to Erbele and Patten, sponsors included Sen. Jessica Bell and Reps. Chuck Damschen, Gretchen Dobervich and Bill Tveit.
Burgum expressed his gratitude for all the bill sponsors, stakeholder groups, elected officials and citizens who worked on the bill and came together to resolve this longstanding issue, including Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring, Game and Fish Director Terry Steinwand and North Dakota Information Technology (NDIT) Chief Data Officer Dorman Bazzell.
For information on the electronic posting pilot study conducted by the Game and Fish Department and NDIT during the 2019-21 interim, click here.