The hunting rights to your land are an asset. As with money in the bank, you need to take precautions against those who would take your resources without permission. Laws vary greatly from state to state, but there are a few common steps to take that will reduce poaching and trespassing. Although law enforcement is charged with the legal steps to make arrests, conservation officers are spread very thin, so your best bet is to be proactive, as this Whitetail Institute post suggests:
A few years ago during deer season, I was sitting in my easy chair late one evening when the phone rang. When I answered the phone, I recognized the voice of a landowner next to one of our leases in an adjoining county about 40 minutes away.
“Brad,” he said, “a few minutes ago I heard a shot down the road on your lease, and I jumped in my car and raced down there as fast as I could. Unfortunately, I didn’t get there quickly enough to get any identification on the vehicle. I believe they probably poached one of your deer near the wooded point that comes down close to the road.”
The next morning, I drove over to our lease and, sure enough, just inside the woods I could see the outline of a deer’s body. I walked to the deer and found it to have a huge body for our region, but it was headless. Obviously, a poacher had shot one of our best bucks and took only the head and antlers, which, though taken illegally, was still obviously a “trophy” to him. Instances of poaching such as this just leave us with a sick feeling in our stomachs. And although we typically associate poaching with huge bucks, this isn’t always the case. For example, six years ago, soon after dark, I was waiting for my wife, Carol, to pick me up from my hunt when I heard a shot in a field east of me. “They’ve shot another one of the area’s good bucks,” I thought. When Carol showed up, I told her about the shot. She had seen a truck in the field, so we went and checked it out. We found a small gut pile in the field, indicating they had poached a fawn of some type. Although a trophy buck is a monster to all of us, we must remember that a fawn, doe and small buck might also be something worth poaching to many people. Even when a small buck is shot, we lose years of growing time, and our lives are only so long. Let’s examine some of the steps that can be taken to keep deer poaching to a minimum.
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Photo (top): Mister Tristan