I grew up in western Pennsylvania where fences and property lines didn’t mean much during deer season. Occasionally, you would run across a sign that read “No Does,” but those were the days before game management when hunters believed shooting a doe was nothing more than eliminating a chance for another buck the following year. Today though, property owners protect fence lines for many reasons. First, the owner hunts and doesn’t want competition. Others practice sound whitetail management and do not want a yahoo coming around and shooting less than mature deer, while others are simply tired from experiences with rude or unsafe “guests.” While I sigh at the sight of posted lands I used to hunt, I respect the owner’s decision. If you find yourself looking to post or protect your property from unwelcome hunters, here’s the Shooter’s Log‘s top five tips.
If you are serious and plan to go through the trouble of researching local and state laws and then properly posting your land, you need to follow through and hold violators accountable. Trail cameras can provide the necessary photographic evidence along with time and date stamps. No, it is not a slam-dunk, but a visit or two from the game warden or local law enforcement and the word will spread.
Check your local laws and ordinances for guidance. Likely, you’ll have to post about every 50 yards, which is a lot of work depending on the size of your property. On occasion, signs may disappear and you may receive a few dirty looks once scouting begins in earnest or during the season. You’ll have to remain vigilant to ensure proper posting though.
You may be able to plant natural borders comprised of shrubs and unfriendly plants to discourage hunters on foot in high traffic areas. Granted this tactic is not quick, but over time, you can effectively shut off roadside access. Plan accordingly though and make sure the shrubbery will still do the job when other flora has shed its leaves. Another consideration is to be sure it is not an attractant. You do not want to attract deer to the property lines—especially those in areas with high hunter activity.
Keep it Secret
If there is a bigger liar then a fisherman, it is a whitetail hunter. If you see a big buck, mark it “Top Secret.” When you harvest a big buck, swear it was on you brother-in-law’s property to anyone not a game warden in the pursuit of official business. If you are not married, get married quickly and swear it was on your brother-in-law’s property… I suppose you don’t have to arrange a quick marriage, but have your story in place ahead of time—all except for the data on the tag of course. Do not run afoul of the law; check it in a county or two over though just to be safe and legal.
Most people carry a cell phone with a camera. You can always video record the trespasser or vehicle as proof later. Usually that, and a few well-chosen words, is enough to keep them from coming back, but the documentation will be key in case they do. Remember; be careful when confronting strangers or unscrupulous brothers-in-law. You are alone and everyone is armed. Instead, give them a friendly warning and escort off the property. Afterward, you can report it to the authorities later if you so desire.