For those who have not read July's Hawkeye magazine. I would like to loosely summarize an article that grabbed my attention!
It goes something like this, In Nov of 2009, an unnamed hunter fell out of a tree stand, that belonged to another unnamed individual. The hunter who fell had no permission to hunt on the property of the gentleman in Epsom. I know, he does not need any, as it was not posted. Bless the gentleman from Epsom who does not (currently) post his property, so that people may hunt and use the snowmobile trails. It is not clear, but implied, that the fallen hunter did not know the owner of the tree stand. The property owner did not know the owner of the stand either, as he neglected to get (required by law) written permission from the property owner! Regardless, the fallen hunter, in his infinite ignorance, and brass kahoneys, hires an (unnamed) lawyer to sue the generous land owner. He received a summons this May (I believe)to appear in court to defend himself from the hunter who fell out of the illegal tree stand that did not belong to him.
I don't know the basis of the suit. I can only imagine that the tree containing the illegal stand was not OSHA approved, therefore showing negligence. NH RSA 212:34 basicily protects landowners from being sued. However, the case apparently is going or has gone to court. I would like to assume that the case will be thrown out or at least lost by the selfish person of infinite ignorance. However, there are many liberal judges & juries in this country! Note: Stella v.s. McDonalds. That said, the kindly landowner, who opens his land to hunters and snowmobiles is now solely, (financially) responsible for defending himself. Note: neither the clumsy hunter nor the illegal stand owner help the landowner pay for his property or his property taxes!!
I am a staunch supporter of NHF&G (who has received a letter from the landowner regarding this case), and I am sure they have no legal obligation to help this person defend himself. However (previously owning a large parcel of land) I personally know that NHF&G solicits farmers & other landowners to keep their land open to hunting, angling, & off road vehicles. I would think that NHF&G has a moral obligation to support benevolent landowners from frivolous suits, both financially and through their expert testimony. I hope an appropriate F&G person replies to my concerns in this post. There is a lot of land, particularly in Southern NH, that is posted No Hunting or Fishing! Please don't blame the land owners. It only takes one incident like this to discourage many landowners from opening themselves up to a law suit. I have been down many brooks, far off the road, and found garbage including worm containers & tackle wrappers that were left on private shore land. Just last winter, late afternoon, right before a big storm. I picked up three empty beer BOTTLES thrown on the edge of a snow bank at a launch on a small pond!
Thanks for letting me rant, (if you're still with me).
BTW, I don't feel comfortable listing the Gentleman's name from Epsom here, but his name & phone # are in Hawkeye if there is anyway someone or all of us can help him with his case!