Friday, September 1, 2017

An increase in trespassing


Trail cameras are addicting. You buy one, get some pictures then decide that you should have another one at a certain intersection and the next thing you know, you are like us and have almost 10 out in the woods, trying to pattern your deer.  That excitement of pulling those memory cards quickly vanishes when you see things that don’t belong on your property. 


In the past couple of months, we have had lots of activity on the trail cameras; a car driving around in the newly planted clover and a man walking through a highly traveled deer intersection.  Both men had to make an effort to get where they were; this was not just an 'oops, I took a wrong turn.'  We had posted signs up already and clearly that was not enough of a deterrent to keep them away. This is when it pays to be friends with police officers.  I sent pictures of the car to a friend, who came back within minutes with the name of the car's owner.  I did the same thing with the pictures of the blonde man, baseball hat on backwards and watch on his left wrist.  Thanks to trail cameras, there are eyes in the woods even when you are not there.  As a result in this increase, we have started putting cameras out for our cameras just in case someone tries to steal the camera (or the memory card) that has their picture on it.  It is easy to hide a camera when its sole purpose is to keep another camera safe.

It is also disappointing.  It used to be that you could trust people to respect your land and their lack of access to it.  People would communicate with the landowner if they wanted to be on the land to hunt, fish, trap and/or forage.  There was a mutual understand and respect for the owner, user and land itself.  I remember hunters coming to the door and talking to Dad about hunting on our property a month before the deer season was scheduled to start.  Dad would sign their landowner permission slip and ask them to hunt in a certain region of the land and not to use four wheelers.  Everyone was happy and followed the agreed upon rules.  That is clearly not the case anymore.  I understand why more land is being posted.  Within hours of seeing the car on our trail cam photos, I added more posted signs to our property

So what happened? Why the lack of respect for landowners? and when did trespassing become a new norm?  Across the country, there is discussion around protecting public land for hunters to use.  Here in Maine, more than 95% of our land is privately owned (Maine.gov.) That is a lot of land to lose access to if trespassing continues to increase and landowners begin or continue to post their land.  A few bad apples could ruin it for everyone, so it is up to us to discourage it, report it and work to keep hunting lands available.



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