Bill Limiting Pa. Farm Owners’ Liability for Hunting Accidents On Gov.’s Desk

July 5, 2007

A bill limiting Pennsylvania farmers’ liability for hunting accidents on their properties has flown through the House and Senate and been sent to Gov. Edward Rendell for signing.

The measure was backed by Pennsylvania Farm Bureau, which sought to strengthen an existing law that provides liability protection for farmers and other landowners who allow hunters on their land.

House Bill 13 would amend the Recreational Use of Land and Water Act (RULWA) of 1965 by increasing protection for landowners from liability for injury or property damage caused by hunters that occurs off the landowner’s property.

The law already provides landowners liability protection for actions that occur on their property as a result of recreational activities such as hunting, fishing, swimming and hiking.

But farmers sought to clarify the law in the wake of a 2006 court case in which the owner of a Lehigh County orchard was found partially liable for damages for a situation where a stray bullet fired by a hunter traveled about a half-mile before accidentally striking a woman sitting in a car on a different property.

PFB argued that many farmers would choose to limit or exclude hunters from their property if they could not re not sure of protection from liability.

“Pennsylvania farmers need assurances that they will not put their property and livelihood at risk when they allow hunters on their land. This bill should ease their concern,” said PFB President Carl T. Shaffer.

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