Ah! The fall season — putting up applesauce just like my grandma used to make, using the oven again after a hot summer, and fall harvest. Before you know it, you have “friends” whom you have never seen before arriving on your doorstep, wanting to hunt. I know hunting magazines give etiquette lessons yet people often forget their manners when they hunt. It is refreshing — and rare — for someone to introduce himself and say where he is from — before he asks permission.
Many of our neighbors are leasing out their places and usually they get enough money to at least pay the real estate taxes for the year. My husband won’t hear of it. He remembers all of the times when he was in high school and college that he was granted permission to hunt. No one charged hunters then, at least no more than asking for a donation to the local volunteer fire department. I couldn’t charge money, so I took matters into my own hands.
I had 1,800 square feet of sod to place, while my husband combined corn. Thinking along the lines of Tom Sawyer, I made a plan to enlist assistance. When a couple of hunters drove in and asked permission to hunt I told them I would make them a deal. If they would help me with the sod, I would let them hunt. They looked at me like I was nuts and I went back to work. Then they talked it over and proceeded to unload sod. A few minutes later my son and daughter-in-law showed up and between the five of us, the sod was laid inside of a half-hour. All four helpers went back to their hunting and I admired my green yard.
Once in a while we get hunters with an attitude. I have wanted to tell them to buy their own land and pay their own taxes then they could have the pride of ownership and could hunt anytime they pleased. They could also experience the joys of inconsiderate hunters. We had a neighbor who used to say, “Oh, just let anyone hunt. What’s the big deal?”
Then someone shot toward his house and buckshot hit the siding. Somehow his tune changed and he could understand why we are hesitant about hunters in general. Our family hunts and it is a great thing to do. It’s just that we have so much other fall work going on that it is nice to take a break and go out on the spur of the moment. When there are others all over your land, those moments are lost.
We have confronted hunters who were trespassing only to have them say, “Oh, isn’t this So-and-So’s land? When the name they drop is from a farmer 4 miles away who has his name prominently displayed on his seed corn sales sign, it’s more than a little suspicious to us. They know they are trespassing but don’t want to admit it. Or the hunters who say, “Fence? What fence? I didn’t cross any fences to get on this land.”
The other sides of the coin are the hunting lodges in the area. One of them advertises on the internet that their fee is $2,895 gun for three days of hunting and four nights’ lodging. Meals, booze, shells, licenses, safety lessons and stocked birds are included. Heck, the 21 fowl you are allowed to bag in that package deal are even cleaned and packaged for the trip home.
It’s no wonder that helping lay a little bit of sod looked pretty appealing to those hunters.
Peggy’s internet latchstring is always out at Peggy@PeggySanders.com. ❖