For Immediate Release: March 6, 2007
Senator Kenneth Corn
Senate Passes Measure to Increase Penalty for Hunting or Fishing
A bill that would increase penalties for hunting
or fishing without permission on land primarily devoted to farming,
ranching or forestry was approved by the Senate on Tuesday.
Senate Bill 95, authored by Senator Kenneth
Corn, would remove the requirement for the landowner to
post warning signs and would require the forfeiture of hunting
or fishing licenses for individuals caught violating the law.
Corn said the legislation would amend existing statutes which
discouraged trespassing, but offered little punishment.
“There’s no question that in some parts of our state
today it’s very difficult to make a living as a farmer
or rancher,” said Corn, D-Poteau. “One of the few
assets some of our farmers and ranchers have is their land.
Landowners have continuing problems with people coming on their
property and damaging
machinery, cutting fences and shooting animals.”
Corn said concerns over the problem had been voiced by landowners
throughout his district, and his hope was that the legislation
would cause people to ask before choosing to hunt or fish on
a farmer or rancher’s property.
“Trespassing can cost people thousands of dollars in damaged
fences, and even livestock get shot,” Corn said. “I
know a lot of farmers and ranchers who are more than willing
to allow people to hunt on their land as long as they ask for
permission and leave the land as they found it. We have people
who have their entire livelihood invested in this land and the
property they have, and it’s not fair for people to trespass
on it and do as they wish.”
Debating in favor of the measure, Senator Jeff
Rabon said the Legislature has waited far too long to pass
legislation strengthening punishment for trespassing. Rabon
noted that he often finds deer carcasses on his land and has
repeatedly had fences cut and warning signs removed.
“If people come into your home uninvited there would be
outrage, but we look the other way when it comes to land and
property,” said Rabon, D-Hugo. “I’ve had a
lot of constituents that contact me and tell me they have their
fences cut and property damaged and they feel like they can
do nothing about it and their sheriff says he can’t do
much about it. Farmers and ranchers in Oklahoma are sick of
it, and this body finally has a chance to take a look at the
issue and put some teeth in our trespassing laws.”
The measure will now advance to a House committee for consideration.
For more information contact:
Senator Corn's Office - (405) 521-5576