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311Hemi

MN road/ditch hunting??

42 posts in this topic

A few posts I have read on another site have explained that even though you may be next to someones property line (and they may think it's their land), hunting the ditches is public right of way and not trespassing. Is this the case in most places in MN? This particular person has had a few people come out and rudely complain to them to get off their land....and he nicely informed them that it is public right of way and he would in no way tresspass on their land even for a downed bird.

i.e. you can hunt the ditches next to a farmers field (in the ditch) without crossing into his land. Also obeying the the tresspassing laws if by chance a downed bird lands on his property.

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You can hunt the ditches, but try and find some that haven't been mowed.

Some counties and cities actually pay the land owner to mow the ditch. confused.gif

I'm sure there is a good explanation, but it seems we're destroying some good habitat.

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i banged out a nice rooster out of an un-mowed ditch over MEA on the way to town from the cabin, but like you say there are not many un-mowed ditches out there anymore.

seems like a waste of habitat to me also except maybe on really busy county roads where the added visibility of a mowed ditch helps with safety issues (deer, etc)

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I had a run in with this a few years back....some guy tried to tell me I couldnt hunt the ditch and was absolutly fightin mad about it. So I went directly to the sherrif and county DOT because I knew some guys there and asked for myself. They tell me that it can be different for every county and depends weather or not you are on a county or township road. In the county I was in they told me that if you are on a township road the landowner still pays an easement for the road and the property rights are still theirs. If you are on a county road it is county property 33' from the center of the road and is a public right of way. I had known this prior to the run in and I was walking, not road hunting, the ditch of a county numbered and signed gravel road. Needless to say that guy got a phone call and an earfull when I got the story stright from authority.

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Ditches are mowed or burned to help keep snow from drifting over the road when winter sets in.

Sometime the grasses are baled and used by the farmer other times just cut like a town lawn.

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I would personally be careful in hunting ditches. To each his own but there is no way that you can tell without doing research if the road is in an easement or if the controling entity (State, County or Township) has actual fee title to the roadway.

With there be lots of other places to hunt I just avoid the issue and do not hunt ditches.

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Ditches are also mowed to help prevent some of the noxious weeds from migrating into the fields. This is one of the reasons you will see mowed ditches next to newly planted CRP and agricultural fields.

mw

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Here is a reply I got back from the DNR on hunting road ditches:

Low maintenance roads (gravel/dirt) it's usually ok. There has to be a

public right-of-way to make it legal otherwise you'll need to ask the

private land owner for permission. You cannot shoot across the road,

but you can certainly be in the road ditch. Hope that helps.

Thank you! Have a great day!

Jennie Urbano

Customer Service Specialist Int.

DNR Information Center

651-296-6157 or

1-888-646-6367

jennie.urbano@dnr.state.mn.us

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Went home for thanksgiving weekend and found that most of the farmers have burnt the ditches, I am just curious does it really help drifting snow or could they save alittle habitat for pheasants. One bad winter and the great number of birds we have will drastically go down because of the lack of cover. I don't know If it is like this in other areas but back home every ditch, slough bottom, or cattails were burnt.

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It's perfectly legal to hunt the road ditch on an "improved" road. Just don't shoot across the centerline. It's the minimum maintanence roads you have to be careful on. Often, the farmer will own the land right up to the gravel (dirt).

Another reason for mowing the ditches is to enhance the motorist's visablity. Road ditches can be wonderful habitat for birds and other wildlife, but that is not what the highway engineers have in mind. A ditch is placed next to the road to help make it safe for travel. They'd prefer that the ditch is not a good habitat for critters that may jump out in front of your car. It's their job to maintain safe roads, it's the DNR's job to purchase and maintain land suitable for wildlife.

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Many times ditches get burnt out to get rid of weeds. In the long run this is actually good. If the land owner doesn't burn them out there's a good chance in the spring a bunch of weeds will pop up. Then the county or township sprays them and that's real real real bad for the birdies.

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You should double check in the regs, but it used to be that you had to be 500 feet from a state or federal road. So you could only hunt the right of way under county and township jurisdiction.

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Instead of hunting ditches which I know can be productive at times, I think a person's time would be better spent knocking on doors and making contacts. Sooner or later someone will give you access. Just be quick and courteous when at the door. Say thank you and move on if they say no. Say thank you and offer them a bird (if you are lucky enough to get some) if they say yes.

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There are a lot of neighbors here that burn the ditches. I don't see the benefit that much and so I don't really understand. As far as knoxious weeds, it can help but once the grasses take over, the weeds are too choked out to compete. The grasses are first to sprout in spring, way ahead of the broadleafs. As far a snow drifting, the first time the snow plow goes by, the blade cuts the dried grasses and weeds off at the ground. There is no more to collect the snow and start it drifting. Besides, in the 15 years that I have lived here in the Osakis area, we have only had about two or three years that I can recall where there was enough snow to drift at all and even then, burned ditches didn't stop anything.

I say, leave them be.

Bob

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Here in Montana, you cannot hunt in the rightaway. You must be 33 feet from center of the road on gravel and 75 feet from center of road on the highway. They enforce it very harshly. CAJ

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Well over in Osakis you have more cover than in areas west of there. If we didn't burn or mow the ditches getting around in the winter would be a major problem. some townships actually require that you burn or mow your ditches. As far as habatat, I can think of lots better. A bird will not survive in a ditch when the snow starts to drift. It will get covered up from the drifting snow and its a gonner. frown.giffrown.gif

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We're not talking about hunting ditches on major roads. Some of the dirt roads I see mowed probably don't even see 50 cars a day. It's hard to argue with the "it's a saftey issue" excuse and I'm sure thats why it's used, but IMHO, they mow them to keep the hunters out.

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Yes!!!! Farmers mow the ditches strictly to keep the pheasants from thriving and the hunters from hunting.

Next time you are out in a rural area asking permission to hunt, have a little chat with the land owner. Ask him why he mows the ditch? Tell him where you are from and how you feel about this subject and maybe, just maybe he'll kick you off his land.

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Quote:

It's hard to argue with the "it's a saftey issue" excuse and I'm sure thats why it's used, but IMHO, they mow them to keep the hunters out.


I don't want to sound rude but that may just be the silliest thing I've heard all week.

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Wow! Apparently I touched a nerve with that thought.

Rost - The pheasants will still thrive without your ditch habitat, but would ditches get mowed like they do if it were illegal to hunt them?

Why would it matter where I’m from?

It’s no secret that land owners have a dislike for road/ditch hunters.(and that might be putting it mildly from your reaction) It only makes sense that if you take the habitat away the birds go away and in turn the hunters go away.

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Why does that sound so silly? Seems like simple math to me.

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It might not be a safety issue - for you. Now, for the three or four families that lived down the lightly traveled gravel road that I grew up on, and traveled it twice a day or more, it was a problem when the ditches weren't mowed. You'd be on top of a deer before you knew it, and you couldn't see around tight corners as well either.

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I'm not saying it isn't a safety issue and maybe my comments are silly, but mowing the ditches down to the ground like they were fairways seems silly to me.

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I'd agree that in very few cases, the farmer may mow the ditch to keep hunters away. But I'd also guarentee that the majority of them couldn't give two rips if a hunter shoots a pheasant in their ditch. They are mowing for other reasons.

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It may be simple math to an un or wrongly informed person living in North Saint Paul and not a person living on the farm in SW Minnesota.

In all honesty if landowners in the middle of nowhere SW Minnesota wanted to keep people out of a ditch that 5 cars a day drive past there are a lot more effective ways to do it than start it on fire or mow it.

It's statements like the ones you made that make landowners around these parts say things like,"You want to hunt my property??? Go ahead, the cows are on the west side so please stay away from that area. Bring the kids by later for ice cream. Want to go have a beer later? No way on Gods green earth are those yahoos from the cities going to go with you, however. Not on my land"

But then again, what do I know. I only live here. For the record, yes that has been said to me. By very good and trusting friends of mine, while some fellow FM'ers were down here doing a little hunting.

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