Sander: Hunters need to remember manners on private property
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. No one charged hunters years ago, at least no more than asking for a donation to the local volunteer fire department. Money wasn’t going to be charged, but a little labor was fair and I took matters into my own hands.
I had 1,800 square feet of sod to place. 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. It took very little time and they got to hunt for free.
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. His tune changed.
Our family hunts, but 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 on 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 four 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,” even though their rig is parked beside a neighbor’s cornfield.
If hunters want to hunt on private land, perhaps they should be upfront about it and ask permission. They might be pleasantly surprised to be given access.❖
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