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Does New Hampshire premises liability law protect hunters?

If you are going hunting on someone's land in New Hampshire, with their permission to use the land for recreational activities, do they have any obligation to make the area safe for you? Hunting accidents do happen, after all, so hunters must know what rights they have.

Generally speaking, the law does not protect hunters. Landowners are told that it is not their responsibility to make sure that the land is safe. This begins with the woodlands and other such area, but it also extends to structures that may be on the property. Even if they warn you about something -- such as an old barn on the property that is unstable -- you cannot make a claim against them if you are hurt.

There are exceptions to this rule. For one thing, if you are charged to use the land, then the landowner has more responsibility to ensure that it is safe, seeing as how he is collecting a fee. He is also responsible if he does anything intentionally to cause the injury or if he intentionally withholds information that leads to it.

However, the most important part of that provision is that it has to be intentional, so simply forgetting to tell you about a dangerous area or structure will not be the basis for a premises liability case. It would have to be shown that he did not forget but kept the information from you on purpose, hoping that you would be hurt.

Though you may not be protected in many cases, it is important to know as much as you can about the exceptions, just to be safe.

Source: New Hampshire Fish and Game, "Landowner Protection" Nov. 22, 2014

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