I grew up on cartoons, and it seemed like trapping people was natural.

After a steady diet of cereal and Bugs Bunny every Saturday morning when I was a kid, I just sort of assumed that setting booby traps was just something you'd always be doing as an adult. Neighbor dog pooping on your lawn? Trap! Person stealing the apples off your trees? Trap!

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Much like how I thought quicksand would be much more of a feature in my adulthood, I assumed getting trapped, or laying traps was always going to be a thing. Now, I'm old enough to know that's called things like "assault" or "kidnapping." Both of those are very serious crimes, that I wouldn't wish on anyone.

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As landowners, we've all thought about it at points, right?

rural road across meadow to sunset or sunrise

Not the assault or kidnapping part... Just the part about trapping people in your yard for doing stupid things. But some people own large swaths of land and trespassing is a more serious problem. While you may not think about setting bear traps, can you set any kind of trap to deter people from trespassing on your property?

TSM South Jersey
TSM South Jersey

The answer is of course, no. You can take steps to keep people off your property for sure, but if you willfully mislead people into thinking something isn't dangerous that actually is, you could face charges, depending on if there were injuries or something of that nature.

Ranch gate is locked and chained with mountains and brush in the background.

Can just anybody go on your property?

Kind of... Maine has an implied use "tradition". By no means is it law, but there's an understanding, so to speak, that if your land isn't posted, you're essentially agreeing to let people cross it respectfully. This would be for hunters, ATV riders, that kind of thing. So if you don't want people using your land, you'll need to post it.

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Maine is a big state. Often times, the situations like we're describing are happening on sizable pieces of land where the owner can't keep all eyes on it. And don't be fooled, there are plenty of laws in place to protect landowners as much as users. So it'd be good to be familiar with your rights, pertaining to your property.

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