When the rural fashion scene is dominated by neon orange and camouflage, you know its hunting season.
I’ve been lucky – I have a good relationship with the people who hunt our woodlots. For the most part, they’re respectful of my family, our privacy and our property. But I’ve noticed that as hunting becomes more popular, the people knocking at my door asking for permission to hunt are less in tune with the fact that I’m trying to make a living from these properties. They are also more aggressive and pushy in their efforts to gain access to our property, and this is a turn-off for me. I call it the Rambo factor. Have gun – must shoot.
We need responsible hunters to keep the deer and wild turkey population at a reasonable level. We also need hunters to understand that they should not: put nails in trees when installing tree stands, knock down more corn than a herd of deer in pursuit of that mega-rack, leave their garbage behind, or park vehicles in appropriate places (blocking field access). I don’t think this is asking for much.
Some farmers think it would be fair to charge hunters a fee to access the game on the property. I’d be interested to hear if anyone has explored or undertaken these kinds of arrangements and what’s involved. The word “liability” leaps to mind.
Hunters like to think they are really helping me by harvesting the deer on my farms. I guess this is true, but it’s the hordes of dog-sized raccoons that are really hurting my bottom line. In fields that border woodlots, I give up the first 12 rows to these corn-gobbling vermin. Deer are dainty nibblers – raccoons are gluttons. To add insult to injury, if you leave the combine in the field overnight, they use the engine compartment as their porta-potty. Man, that makes me mad.
When I tell hunters that if they really want to endear themselves to farmers, they’ll take out some raccoons, they look at me like I just asked them to clean a truck-stop bathroom. The indignity of the request is written all over their faces – they did not buy $10,000 worth of gun/scope/GPS/camo-wear to hunt the lowly raccoon. Ever seen a raccoon head mounted over a basement bar? There is no such thing as a “trophy” raccoon. One hunter said shooting raccoons was against his morals as he did not eat raccoon meat. I asked him what he did if he had mice in the house.
Maybe we need to ask the boys in the biotech lab to genetically engineer a raccoon that has antlers so we can get the big game hunters to help us out. We could even change the name to RACK-coons to generate some interest from the wall-mounting set.
What do you think? Do you have a positive relationship with hunters? Should we ask hunters to help us with vermin in return for access to trophy animals?
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