I picked a chapter at random from my forthcoming deer hunting book to give you a feel for it. I'll post other chapters in the future, but here is a chapter on hunting property neighbor relations.
I should have probably waited until I proofread this again, but I want to get the whole rough draft written before I start on the proofreading and finding a proofreader.
Hunting Property Neighbor Relations
The very first thing you will want to do with your new property is to put “no trespassing” signs up, and maybe a gate, or fence, along a side, or two.
Buy shiny new, durable, “no trespassing” signs and surround your property with them. Know that the only thing worse than not having the signs is having worn out signs. Surrounding your property with new signs shows that you are at your property often and that you would notice trespassers.
Sometimes properties have old roads, or trails leaning into them. Block off roads that you don’t want to use with logs or fences. Some deer may travel down those roads, but you should block the road at your property line so that it is not too easy for someone to trespass.
You do not want to travel all over your property or have roads all over. But you will need, at least, one entrance road. That road should have a gate that looks solid and maintained.
Like new signs, a solid gate shows that you are serious about not wanting trespassers to enter your property. And no gate, or an old worn out one, shows that you probably don’t visit often, and probably wouldn’t notice trespassers.
If you add a gate over the main entrance, make it a really big one so that you can get big tractors in someday. You may hire loggers or someone to spread lime on your food plots and you won’t want to tear down your gate so that they can get in. I have two 12 foot gates, making a 24 foot opening, so that loggers, tractors and anything else that I may want has no trouble entering.
You will also want to get to know your neighbors. Having a good relationship with your neighbors will make owning a hunting property much more enjoyable.
An early conversation with your neighbors should include the following statement from you:
“If you hit a deer and it runs onto my land, just go get it.”
Your neighbor will most likely respond the same way. Wounded deer running onto neighboring properties has been known to strain relationships. In many states you are legally allowed to trespass in order to collect a dear that you have shot. But it is always better for you to talk to your neighbors before that happens.
Your neighbors are probably unlikely to give you trespassing problems if you have friendly relations with them.
When you have some need to walk on their property instead of yours, then consider if you would mind if you were the landowner and they were the one considering walking on your property. If you would mind, if you were in their place, then don’t do it.
You may want to take note of when your neighbors are around. If you are trailing a deer, or need help dragging one out, then having friends nearby is good. You should be willing to help with their deer too. Compliment their deer and be pleasant. It is much better to have friendly neighbor relations, than it is to have unfriendly relations.
You’ll have neighbors who have different hunting goals than you do. This may be frustrating when you let bucks go and your neighbor shoots all that he can. There is not much you can do, or should do, to move his opinion to where yours is. You might explain that you are letting the small bucks go because they won’t get big if you shoot them when they are small. Bringing the point up repeatedly may annoy your neighbor to the point that he wants to shoot lots of small bucks just out of spite. Showing this neighbor the deer or pictures of the deer that you shoot will be more effective in convincing someone to let small bucks go.
Don’t get too frustrated with a neighbor who shoots small bucks. Its his property and he can do what he likes. And the distance between a property that is filled with big bucks and one that lacks deer may not be far.
A few years ago a neighbor shot a buck fawn which ran 150 yards off of his property and fell right underneath my treestand. I reverse trailed the blood trail to find the hunters and found them coming for the deer. They had only seen a handful of deer, of any size, during the few days prior and I had let several medium sized bucks go, not 200 yards from where they were hunting on that very morning. Despite the fact that we share a property line, they who shoot lots of does and small bucks see a few small deer, and I have had opportunities at lots of bucks.
It may get annoying when your neighbor shoots a buck, but you just have to accept it and congratulate him.
Some neighbors can be jerks and there isn’t much you can do about it. By try not to intentionally antagonize them. When you talk to them try doing so like you do with family members who, perhaps, have a different political persuasion. Be polite, but try to avoid the things that don’t need to be discussed.
The biggest problem that you are likely to have is your neighbors putting up their treestands right next to your property line. There is not much you can do about this, unless they trespass. You may want to place a “no trespassing” sign in front of their stand, if they get too close. Or you may prefer to put a Quality Deer Management Association sing there instead. A sign that says “QDMA is practiced here” is much less confrontational than a sign that says “no trespassing.”
Sometimes you’ll need to put your stand near a neighbor’s property. It’s a good idea to put these stands up so that they clearly face away from the neighbor’s property. Sometimes you need to be near the line, but try not to look like you are hunting over their land.
If you are reasonable with your neighbors, then they will most likely be reasonable as well. Having people nearby who can help move deer, or tow your truck out can be valuable to have. Think of the golden rule and you shouldn’t have many neighbor problems.