You might be surprised to learn that by default privately owned land in New Hampshire is open to hunting. Unless you explicitly prohibit hunting by “posting your property,” hunters are free to come on your land and shoot whatever wild animal is in season.
What’s more, hunters are even allowed to set up tree stands (such as the one pictured above) on your property if you don’t put up “No Hunting” signs.
When a property changes hands, hunters may not take note. There are stories of new owners being surprised by hunters who had permission from prior owners.
Prohibiting hunting on your land protects wildlife from some of the cruelest forms of hunting, which include hounding and bow hunting. (Some forms of hunting, such as baiting and trapping, require the owner’s written permission.)
Free “No Hunting” Signs
NHARL offers free “No Hunting” signs for those interested in posting their property.
Posting your land against hunting protects wild animals from human predators, leaving so-called “game” animals to nature’s true carnivores.
Note: Our free “No Hunting” sign program is intended for New Hampshire properties, but we do provide signs for land in adjacent states in some cases. (To protect property in Maine, contact the Maine Friends of Animals.)
When to Post
September 1 marks the start of a wide-scale assault on New Hampshire’s wild animals by human predators who have every advantage over their prey. If you have not already posted your property, summer (May 31 through August 31) is a good time to do it.
How to Post
There is an old law on the books causing confusion about how to legally post property in New Hampshire. That law, RSA 635:4, which has not been updated since 1977, states that the words describing the prohibited activity (such as “No Hunting”) must be no less than 2 inches high. As illustrated in the photo above of a typical no trespassing sign, only the word “Posted” is at least 2 inches high.
We are working to get the wording of RSA 635:4 fixed. In the meantime, RSA 635:2, updated in 2020, supersedes the older law:
According to state law RSA 635:2, “secured premises” means any place which is posted in a manner prescribed by law or in a manner reasonably likely to come to the attention of intruders, or which is fenced or otherwise enclosed in a manner designed to exclude intruders.
Some parts of the older law (635:4) should still be followed:
A person may post his land to prohibit criminal trespass and physical activities by posting signs of durable material with any words describing the physical activity prohibited… The signs shall be no further than 100 yards apart on all sides of the property and shall also be posted at gates, bars and all commonly used entrances.
Be Safe — Wear Orange!
When you head out to post your property, make yourself visible to hunters by wearing a blaze orange vest, hat, or jacket. The more orange, the better. And don’t forget a vest for your dog.
- Put up “No Hunting” signs no matter how small your property is.
- Staple signs every 300 feet and at gates and entrances.
- Be sure to put your name and address on the sign using a permanent black marker.
- NHARL offer free “No Hunting” signs. More durable signs can be purchased online.