Our best "revenge" may simply be to hunt well!
Dear Woods-N-Water News:
I read Randy Jorgensen's article regarding hunting becoming a 'competitive sport' in the October issue. I have to say that I wholeheartedly agree with his comments, and also feel the pain of the Midland County landowner that he referred to in his article.
I own a small, twenty acre, parcel of land that I am building a home on in southern Gladwin County. Originally, I bought a long ten, and built a nice elevated blind, forty yards from the boundary of the one hundred ten yard wide parcel. I had a blast building it, and it's nice to be able to take friends and family out to simply watch deer in comfort, all season long.
I have spent untold hours of time and dollars, improving the habitat on the property as well as building up the soil and preparing food plots for deer. It appears that my efforts have done nothing more than infuriate my neighbors who own very large (half section plus) tracts of property, evidently because they feel that I am now hunting 'their' deer. I have never set foot on their land, or said or done anything to them to provoke a conflict. The only direct contact I ever had with them was when one of them drove in one day when I started building my house, to 'see what was going on over here.' All he was interested in is if I intended on hunting my property, and wouldn't shake my hand when I introduced myself.
I simply would like to be left alone, to enjoy my passion for hunting.
At first, they would set up pop up blinds ten feet off the line. I now have two of their hunting shacks to look at, well within ten yards of the property line, one of which faces my property, and is painted bright white. Last year, this blind was an old travel trailer awning wrapped around some sticks with a lawn chair inside, but considering their stellar success from the blind, it evidently warranted an upgrade. (i.e. when I didn't retaliate the way they certainly would have, by trespassing and knocking it down, they took it up a notch.)
When they installed the first permanent blind, they built a road with a bulldozer, that they drove no less than eight feet over the line, so I would be sure to notice, and I have to look at it constantly only fifty yards from my stand. I have yet to see them actually hunt out of them, so I can only make the assumption that they are trying to send some kind of message in their native language. Shortly before their new road and blind popped up, they installed two foot square orange and white 'No Trespassing' signs every twenty feet down the entire property line. I also found mothballs scattered all over my food plot, and spent the next week picking them all up to attempt some level of damage control, so as to not allow them to totally destroy the ground.
Thankfully, the plot has since been re-worked and re-planted, and appears to be OK for the most part, other than a few lower spots where the soil may have been ruined. One of my trail cams has been moved to a hidden location in the area, as at least some level of insurance against any further trespass and harassment. I never go anywhere on my property without my cell phone, and always have my video camera with me when hunting, just in case.
I had been cautioned that I might have trouble with these guys by the previous landowner, but just assumed that some of his concern may have been unfounded or maybe embellished a bit. Boy was I wrong.
These 'hunters' continue to haul bait in by the truckload, in blatant disregard of the ban. They post township property adjacent to theirs with QDMA signs, and hunt it as though they have exclusive ownership. They attempt to threaten and intimidate neighboring landowners, once allegedly with a loaded rifle. They spend a great deal of time 'patrolling' their property from outside of its boundaries, simply to keep track of what everyone else is doing.
They claim strict adherence to QDMA principles, but use it only as justification for killing everything that they see. (Or making the attempt) Every winter, I find the results of their pathetic efforts, laying dead on my property. (Spike, fork, and two does this past year) I even got video of one emaciated, year-and-a-half-old five point that they evidently shot weeks earlier, and never followed up on. I put him down and tagged him, despite the poor animal being totally rife with infection and worthless. My blood boils with rage, every time I think of it.
These 'hunters' are absolute slobs, and I have informed them in writing, as such. I reminded them of the damage that they do to the reputation of QDMA with their actions. I also told them that if they truly wanted to adopt QDMA methodology, count me in, but continuing to act irresponsibly would result in my never cooperating with them in any way. They simply don't seem to care, and in fact, seem to justify escalation of their antics in the face of any perceived confrontation. Their attitude towards baiting, for example, is simply to pay the fine when they get caught, and then keep right on doing it.
Opening day of firearm season last year, I killed a nice eight point at 5. Luckily, he only went ten yards, as when the neighbors heard the shot, they were on location with a four wheeler, well before I could walk the one hundred yards to my buck. They didn't say a word, but just sat there, forty yards away with the quad running, and the light pointed in the direction of my buck.
That's where I'd choose to be during the last hour of daylight on opening day. Sitting on a quad, worrying about what the neighbor is up to, instead of hunting. I'm sure they will see this as another instance of my killing one of 'their deer,' and justification for further harassment this season, despite the fact that he came out of one of my sanctuaries from the total opposite direction.
Sure, I've thought of ways to 'get even,' but to what avail? Putting up a four by eight, solid white 'NO TRESPASSING' sign of my own, right next to the line by their blind, is certainly legal, and within my rights as a landowner, but would probably serve only to justify further escalated retaliation in a twisted mind. The privacy fence angle proposed by the Midland County landowner in Randy's article is a nice touch, but now what? What are the neighbors going to do next? It's not right, but I'm sure they would now feel justified in retaliating against 'that crazy guy who built a fence to try and wreck their hunting.' It never seems to end, no matter how unfounded and unethical their initial actions to incite conflict are. They will always be in the right, just like the little snot on the playground that keeps kicking a kid when nobody's looking, and then runs to the teacher when he eventually gets his clock cleaned for him by the kid he was tormenting.
Despite the shenanigans of these clowns, I have killed three eight points in the three years that I have owned the property, and passed up fifteen smaller bucks, just last year alone. I have, for all intents and purposes, given up exclusively trying to attract deer with food plots, in favor of providing them with the security cover that the neighbors can't hunt near, destroy or otherwise take advantage of. They will continue to do nothing less than condition the deer to lay low and stay away from their fruit stands during daylight, by the end of the first few weeks of bow season. I can wait them out. That is well within my abilities and control. Opening weekend of archery season for these guys this year, was spent hauling tons of bait, as well as what sounded like four wheeler races from midday until well after dark, as I sat in my stand all day. Tearing around on quads seems to be more important to them than hunting, and that suits me just fine.
Was I mad? You bet. But I choose to be patient, and wait until things eventually turn in my favor. They always do.
I once heard that the best 'revenge' is to live well. Maybe this can apply to the overwhelming majority of true hunters, pitted against the small number of slobs. Our best 'revenge' may simply be to hunt well.
January 05, 2011