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Do You or Don’t You?

Rusty’s Take on Hunting Property Lines
 
Hunting season is pretty much over now in my neck of the woods. Seems like a good time to talk about a subject that many of us have had to deal with at some point over the years – folks who hunt right on the property line of other folk’s land.
 
This is my second attempt to write this short article. The first attempt is in the recycle can on my desktop computer. By the way…I kinda miss the old days of typing on a noisy typewriter and, you know, when you mess up you just RIIIPPPPP the sheet of paper out, wad it up into a miniature basketball, and do your best Larry Bird fade-away jumper at the trash can…and throw up a brick. Remember that? Anyway.
 
The reason I deep-sixed the first version is ‘cause I wrote it all “Field & Stream” style. You know, the perfect little article discussing an issue in a middle of the road kinda way that ends with a tidy little conclusion where everything is A-OK and everyone goes “A-HA” and “poof” …problem solved. That’s about as realistic as a California Democrat joining the NRA. So, I did what I do. I opened a cold one and got serious about getting serious.
 
Here’s version two about hunting property lines. It’s written in two parts to speak to the two common types of folks that are out there.
 
Part 1 – Addressed to the scum-sucking, low-life dregs of our species who just don’t give a rip about anything other themselves.
 
Let’s face it. This guy just doesn’t care. He hunts as close to someone else’s land as necessary to be able to see into good spots on the neighbor’s place. He’ll put his deer stand right there. “Oh no!” he’ll indignantly blow when confronted about being tempted to shoot a nice buck that’s across or near the line. He wouldn’t think of doing that! Heck, he’d shoot the deer on the neighbor’s place faster than RJ (that’s my oldest boy, Rusty Jr.) runs off with the last fried chicken leg at Sunday dinner.
 
This guy, and the folks like him, look at hunting as “kill at all cost,” “if it’s brown, it’s down,” and “if it flies, it dies.” They don’t think hunting has any other value than just shootin’ something. And they’ll cross any line, bend any ethical guideline, and even break the necessary law to do it. You just can’t reason with this crowd. They are the “what’s mine is mine and what’s yours is mine” cow piles that we all know.
 
This is about all you can do with those folks…see the picture below that I took on a place I know where they got tired of a wanna-be hashtag hunter with a tribal tat and face paint looking down 300 yards of a trail running down their property line.

 

 

 
So, as you can see, I don’t think anything me or anybody else could write, say, sing, or pantomime would make a difference with these types. You just have to fight the fights you have a chance of winning. Or like the Lord explained…only the seeds planted in the good soil would grow and produce something.
 
So, in my humble way of trying to follow how the Lord would do it, I’m going to try to plant seeds in the good soil.
 
Part 2 – Addressed to the folks who see hunting as a privilege, understand private property rights, and want to enjoy all that hunting offers – the good soil.
 
I know it’s tempting to want to set up a lock-on right on a property line if a good trail is nearby. I also know that what looks like the best spot for your box stand or ground blind may be in a place that it is just a few feet away from a line. Heck, it’s tempting to want to set up where you know you can cut off deer that are headed to or from that great food plot your neighbor has that’s close to the line. I get it. You’re trying to kill a good buck and you want to do anything to increase the odds.
 
But keep a few important things in mind:

 

1. Putting a stand right on – or even a few yards away from – a neighbor’s property line crosses into that gray ethics area that most of us instinctively understand. No, it’s not against the law (unless your lease has some specific rules about it) but come on, you know what you’re doing. Don’t go all “LA Law” courtroom on us and try to split hairs. You know.
 
2. Your neighbor put in the time, work, and money to develop that great food plot. You could do the same. He’s trying to make the property better for hunting and for the wildlife. Why not do that yourself and have deer stands on your own food plot?
 
3. Be sure you have a conversation with your neighbor – if it’s possible – about what he wants you to do if a wounded animal crosses over onto his place. Let him know you’d be glad to help him find one he shoots that may cross onto you. Give him your number and tell him to call you anytime it happens. A cup of coffee and a discussion about how you do things may be just what somebody needs to hear. Some folks aren’t as much hard-headed as they are just “haven’t thought about it like that before.” There’s a difference.
 
4. Staying away from the edge can eliminate potential problems that could come if you saw a shooter across the line. Why put yourself in a situation where you know the outcome could be bad? I’m betting many of you are the kind of folks who would always do the right thing in a situation where a big buck was on someone else’s property. But some of us…we’d be bad tempted! So, let’s just settle that up front and not be in that spot. Like my wife, Penny, tells our three boys, “Boys, just don’t be where you know bad stuff is happening.” Good advice.
 
Here’s an article from the folks at REALTREE about this that’s better than mine. He mentions a couple situations where hunters were faced with the temptation to shoot wall-hangers across the line.
 
5. We all want to kill what we’re huntin’. Heck…that’s one of the main reasons we spend all the money we do on gear, leases, land, licenses, equipment, ATV’s, 4-wheel drives, camps, guns, ammo, bows, fixed blade broadheads (what us serious bowhunters use…Ha!), and stuff. Dang! Hope Penny doesn’t read this. She thinks I’m a product tester, and I get this stuff for free!
 
We get up at ungodly hours day after day, deal with bad weather, and face disappointment more than success. We want to kill what we’re hunting.
 
But you and I also have other reasons for hunting, don’t we? We want to spend good times with family and friends. Help our kids learn how to do it right hoping they’ll learn to love it enough to teach it to their kids. We get pleasure in the preparation and pursuit and just being out there. We take pride in leaving the land, the habitat, the wildlife, and the outdoor industry a little better than we found it. And if we kill something, too…BOY! That’s what it’s all about!
 
So, let’s do it the right way. The legal way - of course. And the ethical way - always. Let’s be good neighbors. Even if that means being a better neighbor than that guy across the fence who may be part of that group I mentioned a minute ago.
 
There’s no silver bullet solution to this problem. We’ll all face it and have to deal with it…as the doer or the do-ee. The best thing is to settle it ourselves, with ourselves, and make up our minds to just do what’s right.
 
_________
 
Rusty Nale is a rugged, yet refined…simple, yet sophisticated writer of all things that interest him. His extensive knowledge is limited only by his lack of formal education, limited experiences, and travel. His broad insight has been shaped by his narrow, and often jaded, perspectives.
 
“Rusty’s rambling, to-the-point, style will cause his readers’ minds to both wonder and wander,” says his mama, Pinkie Nale.
 
Rusty is married to his first wife, Penny. They have at least three boys…Rusty Jr., Waylon, and Willie.
 
Rusty sums it up best, “If Rusty says it, you can take it to the bank…it was said.”

 

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