South Dakota Landowner & Outfitter Alliance-Your Sub Title Here
For Immediate Release
March 30, 2021
Contact: Pat West 605-381-4440
South Dakota Landowner & Outfitter Alliance Applauds New Restrictions on “Open Fields Doctrine”
Pierre, SD – Monday, the South Dakota Landowner & Outfitter Alliance thanked Governor Noem and legislative sponsors at the signing of HB 1140, a bill “to restrict the entry of conservation officers onto certain private land without permission”. The bill was introduced by the House Ag and Natural Resources Committee, at the request of the governor. HB 1140 requires conservation officers (employed by the South Dakota Game, Fish, and Parks) to ask permission before entering private property.
“The Open Fields Doctrine has a long and controversial history in South Dakota, dating back decades. Until the law was changed this year, conservation officers could enter private property without landowners’ permission and with no reasonable suspicion or probable cause,” stated Reece Clarkson, SD Landowner & Outfitter Alliance Board Member.
In a press release, Governor Noem said the bill was designed to strengthen private property rights. South Dakota Game, Fish, and Parks (GFP) officials were supportive of the changes. GFP Secretary Kevin Robling testified in support of HB 1140, stating that although officers could enter private property without permission, since 2011, the department had scaled back such activity.
“This has been a long road. A lot of us have been working toward this change for years. For some of us, our parents and grandparents had this fight. It’s good to finally see it resolved,” said Clarkson.
The governor and Secretary Robling have made giant steps toward improving landowner relationships and supporting private property rights. We really appreciate Governor Noem for her leadership. Lt. Governor Larry Rhoden, Senator Gary Cammack and the other sponsors just wouldn’t accept the status quo. This whole exercise is a testament to perseverance and hard work. Our Alliance is really proud of this win on behalf of South Dakota landowners,” stated Cody Weyer, Vice Chair South Dakota Landowner & Outfitter Alliance.
Prior to enactment, state conservation officers could enter private property without a warrant.