From the US Sportsmen’s Alliance: A bill being considered in the Rhode Island legislature would make hunting for deer on private land without permission a felony level offense. …House Bill 7858 would also require jail time (up to two years) for anyone who hunts deer on private land without written permission.
The state’s Department of Environmental Management and Rhode Island sportsmen’s clubs have testified against the bill as being “unnecessary and excessively punitive.”
I agree. While I hate those who knowingly trespass and poach as much as anybody this bill has the potential for trouble. You know how difficult it can be to determine exact property lines in the woods. Some (most) are not clearly marked and/or posted. Suppose you unwittingly veer onto a tightly posted property and get busted?
Suppose a young, newbie hunter would do that? He could conceivably go to jail and have a felony record that would follow him around and jeopardize his ability to get a job and own a firearm.
“While we certainly do not condone trespassing, the penalties included in this bill go well beyond any reasonable expectation,” said a USSA spokesman. “Requiring imprisonment for someone who makes an honest mistake is draconian and overly excessive.”
I think most of us would agree with that, right?