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Private property ethics version 2
I have properties where I have stands very close to the borders and regularly hunt them. In all of these instances, both properties hold deer and the deer readily move along the creek or treeline from one property to another. I would have no problem if my neighbor had a treestand just across the border on his property. In some cases they do.
In this instance, I had a stand about 5 yards from the south line and about 30 yards from the west line. Deer come out of the trees from the other guy’s property daily and either follow the treeline or go out into a field to feed and bed. They also go from our property to his in the opposite direction. The guy has confronted me about staying off of his property, which I have always done. When he did that, I kindly asked him to stay off of our property as well.
So I have a stand near the corner of the property line. Last winter a camera was stolen just under the stand. This year a friend shot a deer from this stand and it ran onto the neighbor’s property. This was the first time that had ever happened. We got permission from the guy and went in looking for the deer. The guy mentioned several times that he didn’t like us having a treestand so close to his fence.
I had decided to let him know that we would be moving the treestand farther away from the property line after the corn was cut and thank him again for letting us search for the wounded deer. Before I could do that, I went in to check the camera and found that the straps to the treestand had been cut. The lock on the camera had been cut and the disc was missing. I’m 100% sure that this was either done by the landowner or someone under his control.
As with my previous scenario, the stand and camera are perfectly legal. The difference here is I made no attempts to lure deer from his property; I’m just hunting a natural travel route. If he had a stand 5 yards on the other side of the line, I would have no problem with it.
I mentioned above that we have never set foot on his property except when we had permission to look for a wounded deer. I do have a picture of him on our property as well as another guy coming from his property onto ours. I also found a dead doe that had come from his property onto ours so it’s not like these things haven’t happened on both sides. Obviously, someone came from his property onto ours to take down the stand and steal the disc.
My question is, just how nasty to I get over this. There has been theft, vandalism and destruction of property. All are crimes of varying severity. Do I report it to the Sheriff? Do I confront the guy first? I’m fairly certain that he didn’t steal the camera and treestand for 2 reasons. #1 He didn’t want it to rise to the level of a felony. #2 He wanted to make a statement that I was not allowed to hunt that close to his property and if it continued, I could expect it to happen again. I should mention that I had been warned by one of his neighbors that he was the biggest Ahole in the county.
I would put the stand and camera back where they were and would rig a second camera In a hidden location. When I caught him in the act I would confront him, and kindly let him know that next time law enforcement would be involved and that respect goes two ways. Then I would move my stand and camera off the property line with the understanding no more hijinks would occur from his side.
I would set a trap with a new treestand and a very obvious camera, using multiple hidden cameras from different angles. Then decide whether to confront him or turn him in based upon what sort of outcome you want to achieve. Sometimes a testy truce is better than a war....
Whatever you decide to do, you need hard photographic evidence before doing anything. I've had experience with adjoining landowners who behave this way, and often they are pathological liars who have groomed local law enforcement to give them the benefit of the doubt.
Do is a favor and let us know how this turns out.
Brotsky, looks like we posted at the same time. Great minds...
First thing - Will your neighbor respond to a logical discussion?
If so, I’d sit down and talk with him explaining that someone from his property appears to be trespassing and vandalizing my property.
If not, I would do as Brotsky recommends.
I’ve hunted property lines and have had neighbors do the same to me. In both cases we were both reasonable and it worked out fine. All it takes is one party to be a jerk and it ruins it all.
If it’s a spot you enjoy hunting, I wouldn’t give it up because of a jerk, you may have to change methods. If you have to, take down your camera or move it, take down your stand and then hunt out of a climber when you hunt there - is it as convenient? No, but you wouldn’t be giving up a good spot and as far as your neighbor knows, you’ve moved on and aren’t hunting that area any more.
Agree with suggestions above. Decoy equipment (crappier the better) with several other cams hidden well up high pointed down. Take lots of pics, short time between triggers and high res. I’d even consider one set on video.
Sitting property lines is questionable and I’d have a discussion on it. Both sides need to be under the same understanding. It gets problematic if only one side is doing it. If both are on the same page, no problem. Under that scenario I’d also say both sides agree to help the other find deer on their property, but under no circumstances is a hunter allowed to trespass. Both are under the understanding that if they shoot a deer and it goes into the others land they will be helped in person to find said deer. Has to be mutual.
Just out of curiosity, how long have you owned your property? How long has the other guy owned his? One more question.....(and I am betting that I already know the answer)…..Whose stand was put up first?
Kill him and eat his liver.
Actually, a better idea would be to try and get a mutual "we can both hunt the edges and we call each other if it dies on each other's land" agreement. That may not be possible. If it's a good spot, explain that this isn't the Brooks Range and everyone has borders.
Either way, I'd have cameras at 30 feet all over the place.
My rule with war is this: Avoid war if at all possible. But if it comes to war, win. You win war with brains, not just with brawn.
Know thy enemy....
Some of these clowns are so determined to win, it just doesn't matter how much effort or pain they go through. They literally will NEVER give up. Can you ever hunt (next to that type person) with an easy and confident mind?
I’ve seen almost exact things happen here. I have some of the worst neighbors ever, especially when deer season rolls around. I have experienced these things and many more. It needs to be addressed immediately. I’ve seen a lot of boundary testing and chest thumping and it won’t get better. I also know that without proof law enforcement probably isn’t going to do anything. Be careful, bad things can come of this sort of thing. It takes a lot of the enjoyment out of it for me.
This property line discussion comes up a lot and it always catches my eye as I am guilty of looking at it from BOTH sides. We have many stands that are within 5-10 yards of the property line because it is the only place to possible have a stand within hundreds are yards. If you have properties with pasture, prior timber cuts, or crop fields......it can be very difficult to not hunt property lines as often times that is where the larger trees, or any tree exists. With that said, we don't shoot across the line, don't trespass, and have never had issues with deer running the wrong way. The neighbors have given us permission to get deer as well if needed. It does irk me a little when I see a stand right at the line, but I just look in the mirror and realize I do the same. As long as a mutual understanding exists.....no big deal.
Your situation is quite different considering the vandalism and theft. I would start with an honest conversation and see where you go.
Vandalism and theft by property owners, friends or just plain old tresspassers. Hard to know for sure until you have a conversation.
Years ago we found out on a relative's land I was hunting that an anti-hunting neighbor was directing bowhunters/shed hunters on to the property telling them to ignore the property signs (claiming they were illegally posted). Also recommending if they saw stands to take them as they were illegal as well. After the useful idiots were stealing stands and pissing off folks on both side of the property line my brother heard the story at the local archery shop. After listening in, asking a few basic questions found out who it was. I wasn't there, if I was I would have cornered them, called them out in a crowded store and demanded the stands back, or reimbursement. Maybe called police if it got physical. Granted, there was a huge local buck on that property at the time but that behavior is totally unacceptable. So as said above, know thy enemy.
Long story short it was a relative of the knucklehead we had in office as the mayor who wanted to eliminate the police force a few years ago. I guess that's the "rest of the story."
I like the dummy system. In the meantime how about something like this... “Mr Neighbor, have you had issues with trespassing, theft, and property damage on your land? I’ve had the following things (insert issues). I have a call into the sheriff and he said he would get involved but I wanted to see if anybody else was experiencing similar issues.” It will send a message without being accusatory or threatening. He should be able to read between the lines.
Pretty sad commentary on whitetail hunting in this country has become. Stuff like this is all to common.
The most disturbing part of this story is that the straps on the treestand were cut. That reveals some very bad intentions.
I don't know if they were cut all the way thru or just enough to create a trestand failure during a sit. Wow, that's just SO wrong.
I have a patient who is a game warden and he told me that there isn't much they can do about trespassing unless the LEO catches the trespasser in the act. With pictures it's still not clear if the picture depicts the actual suspect and if the picture was really taken on the property in question.
HOWEVER, sabotaging hunting equipment in order to interfere with a hunt is a different matter. Call your local game warden and tell him about the straps being cut. That's an attempt to seriously hurt someone (if I'm understanding this right). Just see what a law enforcement person has to say.
Man, does this ever take the joy out of hunting your own land. I have one awesome neighbor and one who has the reputation of being the biggest A-hole in the county as you put it.
I would try to get along with my neighbors at all costs but you'll just have to live with the a-holes. I would just stay away from his border and deal with the issues but always stay in contact with the landowner so he knows you know what's going on. Kill him with kindness first.
It's amazing what a stupid deer will make people do. The only thing that makes men do dumber stuff is women.
We would be having words after the straps got cut. That takes it to whole new level
So after reading both stories, I’m in the “it’s a sad state of affairs” category as well. Hunting is supposed to be our escape from the bs. But WT’s always seem to bring out the worst in us. Let’s face it, you are both line hunting, that’s clear. It’s legal, yeah. But it leads to trouble. He’s using bait, your not. Legal, but your pissed. Your gear gets jacked, you ask permission to pull out a deer but the neighbor (or his hunter) doesn’t, so clearly you are on the right side of the “ethical” line here. But hunting property lines always leads to trouble. So how far do you take it? Well, you say you’ve been warned this guy is the biggest douche in the county, right? So reasoning with him probably is a waste of time. But maybe not. You also say you’re fairly certain he didn’t personally steal your gear, and that you don’t mind that they have a stand 5 yds off your line. So if it were me, I’d at least try to have a talk with the guy. I’d take the guys temperature and if I thought I could get away with it, I might even start out by joking and saying I was warned that he was the biggest horses ass in the county - by several folks, but I’d say I wasn’t taking anyone’s word for it and he’d have to prove it to me himself. I’d use that to set the stage for the meeting, but carefully, and only if I was sure I could get away with it. Setting the stage for a meeting like that is powerful, it tells they guy that you are running the show, not him, and if you do it right, you send the message in a subtle way, where you both might be able to have some fun with it. Then I’d try to hash it out. Come up with terms that you can live with before you meet, goals that you’d like to achieve during the meeting, and a plan to reach them. If it doesn’t work at least you tried. Then go to war.
In my opinion you really really need to sit down with him and have a discussion. As it was just mentioned, I'd take the route of hey neighbor, here's what happened to my stuff and I'm wondering if you experienced anything of the sort? That will start the conversation in a non threatening way and let him know that you are on his side of the argument when it comes to destruction and potential body harm from someone cutting straps. Obviously he knows he or someone else did it and he can't think you are that stupid not to know that. But you have to meet as a last ditch effort to salvage something here. He already let you retrieve a deer so there must be some kind of trust at least even though I'm certain the only reason he did that is because he knows he may be in the same situation one day. If that meeting goes sideways then you know what you get to live with forever and at that point feel free to call the police to report the instances.
Set up that meeting and let us know how it turns out. I think we can all learn something from your situation here.
my father was an old school marine corps officer. no bulls!!!t & tough as nails. & & I grew up that way & I am not a hard ass but I do speak my mind without hesitation. it has cost a few jobs friends & even a few days in jail. & in your case if I was 100% certain he did it I'd confront him about it
SD Buckbuster and Busta'Ribs have both laid it out for the best possible outcome. Amicable resolution is the ultimate outcome, if not possible work your way down from there.
You could easily open the conversation by telling him that he should check all his stands because somebody sabotaged yours and you're concerned about his safety. Play the angle you both should work together to stop the thief and vandal. It's possible he doesn't even know that someone he allowed to hunt did that. Avoid accusations.
I read these and as a LO could add my own, but they all sound similar. Think about our game departments having to deal with all these personalities.
Your neighbor would have to be a real rube to walk into the "stand and camera" trap. By cutting your straps and taking the disc he knows you are aware of the incident. He was sending you a message and I doubt he will do it again knowing you have made obvious set ups to catch him doing it again.
You might need to be more subtle to catch him.
"Sometimes a testy truce is better than a war..."
I'd call the sheriff out about the damage and theft have a report written up so there's a paper trail. Then, make a visit to his place under the pretense of being a good neighbor to let him know you've seen some trespassing issues and that you've let law enforcement know about it so he should "watch out in case they're on his place too", but do it without accusing him of anything. Maybe it will make him reconsider the liberties he's taken and he'll sweat a bit, if nothing changes then more different actions would be required. The cut tree stand straps show that he's willing to potentially injure somebody over some deer hunting, I'd take it seriously.
The mistake many of us make is thinking people will do the right thing. 8 years ago the place I hunt in Illinois had a similar issue.
The owner told the neighbor if any more “things“ took place a 10 foot fence was going up on his border. Never had an issue again. Turns out it was way more important to the neighbor than the land owner to keep things as was so no fence was needed.
As mentioned , I would try the adult, mature way of solving the problem. If that didn't work then it would be war and win at all cost, within reason.get as many cameras as possible out and get hardcore evidence criminal trespass, theft and any and all wrong doing. Then prosecute to the fullest extent of the law. If need be take them to court and suet hem for malicious wrong doing. If that doesn't work , go the guys mortgage and then call his loan lol if that doesn't work I would have to load up some rock salt and buy a ghillie suit and give up hunting deer for ass*#*es. The final as you all, is the saying,"fences make good neighbors. "
Thirty or forty years ago I would have beat a dog turd out of him, but as much as it pains me to say, I think now I would just move my stand and let it go. Next move is his, and it better not escalate, because my son would beat two dog turds out of him. He already wants to anyway.
I have two scenarios involving fence sitters. One is with my neighbors. They sit our line. I have one stand on the line that we haven’t hunted in 5 years. We have an agreement that if a wounded deer goes on the other property that the landowner is notified before you enter the property to retrieve it. On my property the retrieval will be after dark and if I can I will help them get it out. We have yet to test it in the past 10 years. The other scenario involves my boundary with public land. Part of my property is bordered by a township road. Public land is on the other side of the road. It is relatively easy to police except for a 20 rectangular piece on my side of the road. A few years back a guy I know shot one of our hit list bucks. I heard from several reliable sources that he shot it off our property. While I had some evidence, I didn’t feel that it was strong enough to prosecute. The next year I find this guy in a treestand on the property line. He was legal. I told him that I didn’t appreciate him sitting on the property line when there was several hundred of acres that he could hunt across the road. He cussed me up one side and down the other and made some veiled threats. I contacted our game commission to see if we could work a land swap. I had access to purchase other acres of good timber ground that was across the road and contiguous with the public ground. I offered them 40 acres for the 20 on my side. They told me that they wouldn’t even talk unless I was offering 60-80 acres. I told him no thanks. I then had a 10’ high deer proof fence erected around the perimeter of the 20 acres rendering it all but useless as the deer seldom go in there. Problem solved. Best $ I have ever spent. I also have a wack of wireless cameras everywhere. I guess that I ascribe to Ike’s approach.
On my parents farm, a flat lander next door cut down a big blue spruce on our property and took just the top for a Christmas tree. My father never said a word. The guy and his wife went back to Rhode Island and my father cut down 10 trees on his 5 acre lot. The next Saturday morning that guy showed up with a state trooper and the trooper asked my father if he knew who cut down the trees. My father said, “I have no idea. I bet it’s the bastard who cut down my blue spruce. When you find him I want to have a word with him.” The flatlander got pretty red-faced and the trooper smiled. End of problem. Justice was swift up here back then. My grandfather shot a thief stealing horse collars out of our barn. It was midnight, full moon, and he heard the hounds going nuts. The thief dropped the collars and ran across our field. The constable came and by lantern light saw a little blood on the snow. Old Pop Daudelin told Gramps “I guess you just winged him.” The next morning, at daybreak, my grandfather headed out across the field with a shovel over his shoulder. Times have changed.
Thanks for the input. I had already planned to take the high road on this and try to have a civil discussion. I would not accuse him of doing it but I would point out that since the incident occurred just days after he expressed his displeasure with the location of the stand, it's perfectly reasonable to come to the conclusion that either he did it or someone under his influence did it. Saying that I experienced some vandalism and he should keep an eye out would be a complete waste of time. We both know he knows all about it. I would very much prefer to deal with this like neighbors and not as adversaries.
It seems all your troubles revolve around fence sitting. Whether it's you or someone else doing it. There's an easy solution to that. Think about it.
Where I live and own land the parcels are fragmented into 10-40 acre parcels. I am fortunate to live and hunt on a little over twenty acres. My habitat is one hundred twenty five yards wide by 400 yards long. If I were to stay an ethical compound shot say 30 yards away from any property line, that would leave me with roughly a 60 yard “corridor “ to hunt from. My corridor on my property is my bedding area, it’s just the way it’s laid out. So am I not suppose to hunt because I’m to close to the lines? I have one stand on a line that I have no chance of shooting on the neighbors, 1 ten yards from a line and the others 3 are 20 yards away. I have recovered 2 deer from my neighbors that my kids bow killed without incident. My situation has worked because of my initial visit to the adjoining landowner. 7 years ago a few weeks after we purchased the place I showed up with the 3 kids and a bag full of hotsticks , sausage, honey and cheese and introduced ourselves as the new nieghbors. The next thing I said to him was that if he ever killed a deer and it ran on my place for him to go get it but to contact me- I might be able to help him. I put the ball in his court. What was he to say to me bearing gifts and having a group of well behaved outdoor kids and I just gave him run of my place. He said the same went for me and we have had a great relationship since. He has A 94 year old WW II vet dad that still hunts and we try to put him on deer when we can by letting them know where deer movement is. I realize that not every situation is like this but thier are ways to go about it and hunt where you want on your property
To close to the line....a weekly slingshot scent dispenser would getcha even
I think that you would probably be wasting your time trying to have a civil discussion with this guy. The kind of guy that would come on your property and vandalize your tree stand, knowing full well that you will know that he did it, is not the kind of person that you are ever going to reason with. Trying to catch him, or involving the law, probably isn't going to work either. Even if he doesn't detect, steal/destroy, your hidden cameras, I'm not sure a photo of him proves anything in a court. I would act like everything is fine, and figure out how to get even, without him suspecting you.
Use a cellular trailcam- then pulling the card is a non-issue.
5 years from now will it matter? Is it really worth it? Life is full of cheapskates and dousch-bags that cheat, steal, and take advantage of you. In the end, it won't matter anyway. Severe ties and cut losses while you're ahead...
Thus why I hunt my property lines where the neighbors can’t reach the line from their side ie. Cutbanks,water or no trees
I think the biggest problem I see here is the theft and destruction of property. What if someone climbed into that stand, assuming it was still in the tree, not knowing the straps were cut? The stand falls when weight is put on it and the hunter falls to his/her death. Could that now be considered 1st degree murder? It was premeditated and planned to cut those straps.