SCDNR Property Watch Program

Title 50 Laws

1. 50-1-90 Hunting, fishing, trapping without consent of landowner

Elements of Violation:

  1. to be physically on the lands of others
  2. no permission/consent
  3. hunting, fishing, trapping or enter for such purposes


This law does not require a landowner to post property. Posting property will enhance any cases made by showing a landowner advance warning.

Normally, a hunter must be on the property in question. The unintentional ranging of hunting dogs is not prohibited by 50-1- 90. A hunter that intentionally sends his dog onto the property of another would certainly violate the theory of trespass; however this is an untried application of 50-1-90 at present. It is suggested that the landowner contact an attorney prior to bringing charges in the application of ranging dogs.

This is the most often utilized trespass statue by DNR officers. The DNR is attempting to alter this law to allow more points to be assessed against persons convicted of this violation and attempting to establish higher fines to deter crimes of this nature.

2. 50-1-100 Fishing or hunting from the banks of navigable streams without landowner permission

Elements of Violation:

  1. Fish/Hunt on bank of navigable stream
  2. No permission from landowner


This law prohibits hunters or fishermen from getting out of boats on navigable streams and hunting or fishing along the banks without permission. This is similar to 50-1-90; hunting, fishing, trapping without consent. Landowners are advised to use 50-1-90 in most cases. In certain instances, a DNR officer may use this law for trespass enforcement.

3. 50-1-137 Impeding or obstructing hunting, fishing, trapping, or harvesting marine species unlawful; penalties

Elements of Violation:

  1. Wilfully impede (intentional hindering)
  2. Another person while lawfully hunting, fishing, trapping, etc.


This law is often referred to as the hunter harassment law. However, as written, the DNR has successfully used this law in landowner disputes with an adjacent landowner intentionally hindering hunting by blowing horns, making noise, etc. The DNR has also used this law in situations where commercial fish traps have been stolen or sabotaged by others.

In theory, this law could be used by landowners in repetitive cases of adjacent landowner's dogs interfering with still hunting. This application would require some prior communication between the two parties to establish knowledge of the problem. Once the adjacent landowner is aware of the problems caused by the dogs, continuation of this problem would establish intent. Also a great deal of documentation would be required by the prosecuting landowner.

The DNR suggests that the landowner contact an attorney before attempting to prosecute with this law and a local DNR officer to assist with documentation.

4. 50-11-760 Hunting from certain public roads and railway rights of ways prohibited; exceptions; penalties

Elements of Violation:

  1. Hunt from public road/railway
  2. Adjacent land posted against trespass or hunt
  3. No permission to hunt/enter adjacent lands


This law is useful to charge persons hunting from public roads that do not have permission to hunt on either side. This is a very difficult law to use due to the extreme circumstances of proving hunting (as opposed to "catching dogs") and the strict posting requirements. The landowner's property must be posted and the suspects must have loaded firearms in immediate or constructive (close by) possession.

Landowners should not attempt to prosecute these charges but should allow a DNR officer to investigate. If the landowner has seen a situation that the DNR officer feels is chargeable, the landowner may be asked to sign a warrant . The landowner needs to be aware that a "road hunting" problem may take a DNR officer quite some time to solve. In many cases, this may require constant help from the landowner.

The DNR is attempting to modify the road hunting law to "enhance" enforcement efforts, property protection, and hunter image with the non-hunting public.

5. 50-11-2430 Fur trappers to carry proof of ownership of or permission to use land on which traps are set; penalties

Elements of Violation:

  1. To be trapping/checking traps
  2. Not carrying proof of ownership or written permission to use land


This law is strictly used to control trapping activities. A landowner should use 50-1-90; Hunting, fishing, trapping without consent. However, under certain circumstances, a DNR officer may utilize this law for trespass enforcement.

6. 50-11-770 Unpermitted hunting with use of a dog on property without hunting rights; dog not to be harmed; penalties; suspension of hunting privileges; exceptions.

  1. For purposes of this section:
    1. "Hunting" includes:
      1. attempting to take any game animal, hog, or coyote by occupying stands, standing, or occupying a vehicle while; and
      2. possessing, carrying, or having readily accessible:
        1. a centerfire rifle with ammunition capable of being fired in that rifle; or
        2. a shotgun with shot size larger than number four that is capable of being fired from that shotgun.
    2. "Possessing", "carrying", or "having readily available" does not include a centerfire rifle or a shotgun that is:
      1. unloaded and cased in a closed compartment or vehicle;
      2. unloaded and cased in a vehicle trunk or tool box;
      3. in a vehicle traveling in a normal manner on a public road or highway; or
      4. in case of a stander with no vehicle, encased or unloaded with the shells at least thirty feet away and stacked, piled, or otherwise gathered together in like fashion.
  2. Notwithstanding the provisions contained in Section 50-11-760, it shall be unlawful for any person to hunt from any road, right of way, property line, boundary, or property upon which he does not have hunting rights with the aid or use of a dog when the dog has entered upon the land of another without written permission or over which the person does not have hunting rights. The provisions of this section apply whether the person in control of the dog intentionally or unintentionally releases, allows, or otherwise causes the dog to enter upon the land of another without permission of the landowner.
  3. It is not a violation of this section if a person, with the landowner's permission, uses a single dog to recover a dead or wounded animal on the land of another and maintains sight and voice contact with the dog.
  4. A dog that has entered upon the land of another without permission given to the person in control of the dog shall not be killed, maimed, or otherwise harmed simply because the dog has entered upon the land. A person who violates this subsection may be fined not more than five hundred dollars or imprisoned for not more than thirty days. The penalties for violations of this section as provided in subsection (E) do not apply to violations of this subsection.
  5. A person who violates this section is guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction, must be fined not more than five hundred dollars, no part of which may be suspended, or imprisoned for not more than thirty days, or both. The court must transmit record of the conviction to the department for hunting license suspension pursuant to subsection (F).
  6. In addition to any other penalties provided by law, a person convicted of a violation of this section must have his hunting privileges suspended by the department for one year from the date of his conviction. He may not have his hunting privileges reinstated by the department until after he successfully completes a hunter education class administered by the department.
    1. The provisions of this section do not apply to bear hunting.
    2. The provisions of this section do not apply to Game Zones 1 or 2.