During the summer, we’re busy preparing our properties for the hunting season. We plant food plots and work hard to improve the habitat in an effort to attract and keep whitetails on our land. The bucks we grow with sound management also catch the attention of trespassers. If we take precautions to stop lawbreakers before they enter our property, we can avoid becoming victim to poaching and theft.
Put up “No Trespassing” Signs
It’s common for trespassers to say they thought they were on public land. Whether their plea of ignorance is a lie or an honest mistake, take any confusion out of the equation and post signage to let passersby know the land is private and that trespassers will be prosecuted.
Consider using a 3D post that can be read from all angles and stand up to the weather. Dig a hole and use a T-post as a base for the sign, and then fill the hole with concrete. Do this in as many places around the property as you can. Concentrate on obvious parking spots and vehicle turn-offs along the road and trailheads. Be sure to look up your state laws regarding what defines trespassing and the required posting in rural areas.
Another tip is to include warnings of surveillance even if you do not have cameras set up. However, even a few trail cameras spaced out around the property can serve as a watchful eye while you’re away. Simply thinking you may have proof against their violation is a powerful deterrent to trespassers.
Know Thy Neighbor
If you haven’t already, pay a visit to the landowners of the surrounding properties and introduce yourself. Tell them about your passion for hunting and managing land. It’s not uncommon for some folks to think “your land is my land” applies until told otherwise. How accommodating you want to be is up to you. Just be absolutely clear on any agreements you form.
Now would also be a great time to ask them about their Quality Deer Management (QDM) practices. You want them to come away from these conversations with an understanding that you will respect their property boundaries. Let it be known that you expect the same in return.
It’s also a good idea to get to know your local game warden. If he knows you’re a law-abiding hunter and practitioner of sound wildlife practices, he’ll take note and keep a watchful eye on your property when he can.
If you do decide to put up a wire perimeter fence, keep it low enough for deer to travel over. Be sure any gaps are small enough to impede snowmobilers or 4-wheelers from entering. Installing a wire fence can also create funnels as deer will look for the easiest route to cross. Another option is to screen fields and food plots that can be seen from the road with tall annual grasses or cedar trees. These natural screens will deter poachers from eyeing deer in your food plots. It’ll also make deer feel more comfortable when feeding.
If someone trespasses, prosecute them. Warning are taken lightly by non-law-abiding citizens, many of who probably think they’re entitled to cross your fences. Once word gets around that people caught on your property illegally will be punished to the full extent of the law, trespassing will quickly subside.
This summer, as you work to attract more deer to your property, consider implementing these tips to keep trespassers out. You may still have a bonehead who fails to heed the warnings. If that does happen, gather as much information as you can and contact the authorities. Let them bring the perpetrators to justice.