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Interlopers – Part 4

hunting log.JPG

I’ve found this little set up more than once at Fallen Timbers. I’m pretty sure it is a make shift hunting station. This chunk o’log is resting on a flat stone. You can’t tell very well from this picture, but the ground in front of the log (to the left in the photo) is scraped clear of leaves and sticks. As though someone in heavy boots might have spent a lot of time sitting on that upended log.

This is near the NW corner of our “40 acre square” and it is where the land rises sharply from the wet-season creek that cuts through the northern third of our woods. As a result, this spot gives one a good view of about twenty acres of hillside rising on the other side of the creek. By November, when the leaves are mostly off the trees, it’s a nice little vista. I imagine that might be perfect for a hunter who wanted to see a deer coming from a long way off.

This little station is not very far from our northern fence, and just beyond that is a forest road that my neighbor keeps open. And this convenient access is probably the reason my interloper hunter friend has chosen this spot, for I don’t think it is an ideal spot.

The hunter would be peering (and shooting) into the sun from this perspective. Safety issues aside, how well can one spot a deer, much less shoot it cleanly, when looking at the dawn? I don’t know about such things, but it does seem bassackwards.

Not very far to the east of this are the skeletal remains of a more permanent tree stand. Not much is left of it, but it has the appearance of once looking much like the kind of treehouse most kids dream of. Someone put a lot of time and effort into this stand several decades ago. Yet it, too, looks over the same land to the south — into the sun again.

My imagination races. Perhaps my interloping hunter friend is a descendant of the person who built the hunter treehouse. Perhaps this bit of land has been hunted by the same family for generations. Perhaps it is a family ritual to come to this part of the Ozark forest to attempt to bag a deer.

I’ve heard stories of old timers holding utter contempt for things like bills of sale and transfers of title over pieces of land. Even though some Kansas City smarty-pants may have “bought” some piece of property, ain’t nobody going to tell grandpa that he can’t hunt there. He’s hunted there every year for sixty years, and no piece of paper is going to change that. Anyone who says otherwise is likely to get himself shot.

This, of course, has not happened to me personally, but I occasionally hear tales like that. Still, it leaves me to ponder. As I’ve said several times before, I am not opposed to hunting (even though I myself don’t hunt). And while this interloper is sitting on my property, I don’t really consider the deer to be mine. I mean, if the deer is on the other side of the property line, he would effectively be my neighbor’s “property” according to such reasoning. And then when he steps across the line, he becomes mine?

So once again, Pablo is tied up into non-action by his moral musings. The first time I came upon this single-log hunting station, I gave the log a nudge, and it rolled in a very satisfactory fashion down the steep hill and crashed into the dry creekbed below. I thought I was sending the interloper a good message. Ha! It was eleven months before the fellow would be back, and I guess it would be reasonable to think such a log wouldn’t necessarily remain standing on its own in that time anyway. Nor would the hunter understand that it is the landowner’s displeasure he is receiving. Any other interloper might have kicked over that log. (Even interloping loggers and interloping neighbors who don’t know where the true property line runs.)

I thought that when I know I am going to visit Fallen Timbers again, and I know I am going to hike to the NW corner again, I would write a friendly note explaining that this was private property and perhaps the interloper didn’t know he had crossed into it. I’d tell him that he is welcome to use my woods as long as he asks permission first. I’d wish him good luck. Then I would seal the note in a plastic bag and put the note on top of the log, with a stone resting atop it to keep it in place until the next deer season.

As congenial and non-threatening as I imagine this message would be, I suspect the interloper would find some other use for the piece of paper out in the woods.

Update: Leap forward to Interlopers – Part 7 for the latest installment of this saga.

Further Update: Have a look at 10.28.2007 – Part Three for the latest installment of this saga.

11 Responses to “Interlopers – Part 4”

  1. Floridacracker Says:

    The hunter may find your note amusing, having brought her own note and baggie to thank you for the deer and to request that you stop kicking her sitting log down the hillside.

  2. Rexroth's Daughter Says:

    It never occurred to me that a deer crossing on your property becomes your deer. Once it crosses on to your neighbor’s property it’s his. Interesting concept. Do hunters actually aruge about stuff like this?

  3. dread pirate roberts Says:

    i suspect that the deer “belong” to the state, and that the state requires that they be bagged legally, which would preclude trespassing. legal niceties aside, it’s like art—what you can get away with.

    maybe it’s a perfect place to hunt at dusk. the setting sun behind the hunter, shining like a spotlight on the deer and into their eyes. do people hunt at dusk? would that be a dusk hunter?

  4. vicki Says:

    Rexroth’s Daughter raises an interesting point. Does this mean I own the rare Bullock’s Oriole that is currently visiting in my neck of the woods. But I know what you mean, Pablo. We often find evidence of interlopers in “our woods” or even fishing evidence on “our dock” and I’m not sure, really why it bothers me so much. But your imagined note is quite polite and reasonable. I would guess that once a hunter has had luck in a spot he’ll return no matter what.

  5. Harold Stallard Says:

    I’ve hunted deer for over 50 years and have killed them at all times of the day. Deer are basically nocturnal creatures so you are most likely to see them early morning and late evening. Some stands I hunt from are morning stands and others I see deer only in the evening. A lot of factors go into deciding the time to hunt from a stand.

    The creatures in a forest don’t BELONG to ANYONE. Neither an individual nor the state can claim ownership. The state might have stewardship over them and an individual can harvest them but own them…no. That’s like saying “I own the air that is over my property.

    In my state (Virginia), if an animal is shot on state or national forest land and dies on private land the hunter must ask permission of the landowner to retrieve it. If the land owner so desires, he can legally keep it for himself.

  6. I Gallop On Says:

    Here in northern New Mexico, the locals complain about those smarty pants from California!

    This autumn, we had the largest crop of pinon nuts in years. The pinon gatherers were out in droves. On the weekends, cars lined our rural road. Some of them were folks from town who were enjoying the countryside. Some were poor families who were harvesting the delicious nuts to roast and sell. (Harvesting and shelling the teeny-tiny nuts is a lot of work. Harder than gathering black walnuts. I still remember hulling those as a child in Oklahoma.)

    During the next pinon season, I think I’ll write some notes. I don’t mind sharing the pinon nuts, especially with people who are trying to make a little extra money, but I do mind the trash some of the harvesters leave behind!

  7. Jim & Peggy Says:

    I don’t know if you have quail out that way, but turkey is good, and a certain vice-president may be looking for a new hunting ground. If you could dress up a deer in an orange vest the Veep might even get lucky. And I’m sure he wouldn’t mind shooting into the sun, at least that way he’d have an excuse… ;~)

  8. Floridacracker Says:

    In Florida, all native wildlife, game and nongame are property of the state. Remember we are the state, and so in effect it is group ownership of something that no one person can or should own.
    I think anyone who investigated their state’s policy would find that is similar

  9. Administrator Says:

    I guess my point was that I can’t really object to someone shooting my deer simply because they are on my land. Rather, my objection is that someone is using my land without the simple courtesy of asking.

  10. Floridacracker Says:

    I got your point, I thought some of your commenters were confused about what is a pretty uniform code of state regs regarding wildlife.

    No one should even step on your property without asking.

    …in my opinion

  11. Roundrock Journal » Blog Archive » Interlopers - Part 7 Says:

    [...] When we were at Fallen Timbers last week, I took the chance to revisit the site of a little interloping. You may recall from this post, that I’ve found this hunting station in my woods there more than once. It is on the side of a hill, near my northwest corner there, and it has a commanding view of about 20 acres of hillside opposite from which a hunter might spot a deer with ease. [...]

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