Re: What would you do?
Let me start off by saying I see you are in VA and talk about property in NC, so this makes me wonder if some of the property we have, and mostly where I hunt isn't pretty close to you. It's on the VA/NC border literally about 1.5 miles from the NC line. I know there are a couple of other guys on here that are from this area.
Anyway, I've got mixed feelings of this having been on both sides of this. I say both sides, because when I was younger I was with a group of guys that I hunted with in an area I didn't know very well and they dropped me off at the edge of the woods and told me to go into the woods and explained where to go. It was on a farm we had permission to hunt on. I got in there just fine, but coming out everything looked totally different and I got lost. I walked and walked and walked in the direction I'd come in and never found my way out. I eventually walked up on a house in the opposite direction that's next door the the property I was supposed to be on. I finally decided that I'd just head on out and walk back down through the ditch the half a mile or so to where I'd been. I unloaded my gun and walked on out. I made it about halfway across his yard, when he came out yelling telling me how he didn't allow hunting on his property, and how he was going to call the Game Warden. I explained to him where I was hunting, what had happened to me, that I didn't know the area, and what was going on. He calmed down, and pointed me in the correct direction to go, but was very stern about how upset he was that I was on his land. I apologized several times, and it was the honest truth that I was lost and just trying to get out of the woods. I'd taken every step I thought I could by unloading my gun and making sure it was obvious I wasn't hunting before walking out right by his house.
Ever since that time I guess I have a soft spot, because I realize that some guys really aren't lying about why they are on your land, and it's not always on purpose.
However, on the other hand in the last couple of years we have been having more and more problems with other hunters. I've been just giving them warnings and trying to find out what was going on for the past few years, but this year, I'm to the point where I'm tired of it, and most likely just going to call the Game Warden and let them sort it out. I mean obviously if a 15 year old kid that lives 3 hours away comes wondering up lost like I did, I'm probably not going to be calling the Game Warden, but that's about the only situation I can think that I won't.
The start of the problems we've had is last year on the last day of hunting season and buddy and I had walked into the woods on our land that we have in the mountains and don't often get to hunt even though it's actually closer to where I live. I hadn't gone far from the path, and I sent a ways into the woods. I sat there for about 30 minutes and see a truck come up the path. It's a drivable path, but it just will scratch the heck out of your truck trying to get up it. The guy probably in his mid 40's gets out and is clearly trying to hunt from his truck. We notice each other, and he proceeds to tell me that no hunting is allowed on this property as if to tell me to leave. I explained to him that it was my immediate family that owned this land. He proceeded to tell me, well he went down to talk to them about hunting permission as he'd hunted there since he was a kid and they told him no one was allowed to hunt there. At this point I remembered him and he had been down to the house about 7 or 8 years prior. I explained to him, that while we do hunt it, we don't allow others to hunt there because it's fairly often that we are riding dirtbikes, or kids are playing in the woods, or similar, and we don't want to risk something happening to one of them. He then tried to tell me that so and so owned some land on the other side of the path that was 5 acres and he was allowed to hunt there and some bear dogs were coming that way so he was coming to check on that land.
Funny, because the national park which hunting isn't allowed on starts where our land ends on the other side of the path. I chatted with him for a bit and just asked him not to come back again as we don't allow hunting.
Then fast forward to this year, and muzzle loading season starts. I didn't get to hunt nearly as much as I'd like, but got out a few times. After driving 2.5 hours to a different piece of land we have than the previous one and being sick on top of that I get out and before light and get in the stand. A few buddies are in their stands about 200 and 500 yards from me. About light, I start hearing dogs running. At this point I'm thinking wtf as hunting with dogs is illegal in black powder season. Now let me say that when regular season comes in I hunt with a group of guys that hunt with dogs, and I enjoy it, so I'm not anti dog hunting, but I am anti dog hunting when it's illegal, and when I've been suffering through sitting in the cold for over an hour, and then your dogs just start running through. At first I thought maybe their dogs got out of the pen by accident, and then I hear shooting and a truck taking off. A few minutes later I hear shooting in a different spot near where the dogs are. Then hear a truck take off again. This happens 2 or 3 times before I start getting bothered. My friend saw the dogs run a buck in front of their stand and by this point the whole group of us hunting is getting frustrated. We suspect we know who it was but never actually saw them shooting. This went on all morning, then all afternooon, then again the next morning. The more this happened the more aggravated we got. I never saw anyone or the dogs, I just heard the dogs and the people shooting, but after this experience if I catch anyone on our land other than the group of guys I hunt with, I'm just calling the Game Warden right away because this is starting to get ridiculous. Not only are they using dogs in a season where it's illegal, but they also clearly are using rifles not muzzle loaders.
To me this was the straw that broke the camels back for me. Now, I know the majority of guys aren't doing illegal stuff like this, but the few that are have ruined it for the rest of them. From this point on, I'm just calling the Game Warden anytime I catch anyone without permission on our land, and I don't really care the reason unless like I said above it's a kid or something that really appears to be lost.