A hunting license does not authorize you to enter private property without permission.
Last week, my friend Robin and I got into a conversation about hunting on private vs public lands (and about hunting on Sundays, but that’s a different blog) and the lack of public land around to hunt on. IFW says 94% of land in Maine is privately owned which makes hunting hard if you do not own land to hunt on.
I am fortunate. The three pieces of land that we hunt on make up about 430 acres and are owned by my parents and grandparents. We have allowed people to hunt on the land as long as they asked and did not use four-wheelers. I hunt in a small town where everyone knows everyone else and knows where they hunt/own. It is a community where the rules and verbal requests to hunt on certain parts of land are taken seriously.
This year, we posted a new piece of land to keep people off of the logging road and away from where my tree seat is. We don’t expect to have problems, but with a new logging road popping up, there can be temptation. It was the first time we have ever actually posted land.
But what ruined it for me was something that happened Saturday.
Dad and I built our Sky Condo 5 years ago. It sits on the edge of the woods and a small field and is on route for the deer traveling between food and beds. The property abuts one other owner named “Bob”. On Saturday, at about 3pm Dad and I were waiting for some deer movement when I spotted a hunter in the back left corner of the field. The hunter walked along the field/woods line and then started walking towards us. We got the binoculars out to see if we knew who it was and we didn’t. The hunter stopped, waved to us and kept coming towards us. He got to about half way down the field before he turned around and took his time going back from where he came from.
We are baffled. “Bob” knows that we hunt and knows that we hunt in the Sky Condo so we can’t imagine him telling someone in his hunting party to come onto our property to hunt. “Bob” has all of his land posted so a random hunter would have a hard time stumbling onto our property. As a result of this, we are posting all of our property. It makes me (and Dad) a little sad to think that we can’t trust people to ask before they come onto our property, especially as we were sitting and hunting right there.
I know that the battle between public and private land is a huge issue for hunters but unfortunately this one has ruined it for other hunters on our land. We will continue to let some people hunt with permission, but they will be surrounded by yellow posted signs as they walk into the woods.