No, I'm not talking about meth heads, swatters, or kids out for fun on a Friday night. Nor am I talking about timber value, timber stand improvement, or the emerald ash borer. I'm talking about that guy you gave permission to be out there hunting.
Following is the scenario that played out on our farm last week.
Everything was fine until Tuesday, when dad and I were going to town. Off in the distance we saw something out of place. There was a tower built out in the field near the woods on land we farm. Dad called the landlord to find out what was going on. The landlord told dad he had given a friend's son permission to hunt and put up a tree stand a few years ago. Over the course of time, walk paths changed to ATV trails; the definition of "tree stand" must have changed.
Here's the problem: This structure (obviously not a tree stand) was built outside the woods on a Wetland Reserve. An even bigger problem is that the hunter sprayed the native grasses dead and re-seeded the land around the tower. Both of these are violations of the WRP contract and could cause the landlord to repay all payments going back to day 1, plus penalties.
To add further insult, the hunter is apparently a member of the Quality Deer Management Association. He had them call dad at 9:30 one night looking for 'some Stackhouse farmer.' I guess he was supposed to educate "dumb" farmers on how to get along with hunters.
The man wouldn't give his full name, and his number didn't show up on caller ID (*69 did work though). He couldn't believe that we would go out on the property and see what is going on. Never mind that we farm the land and maintain the WRP. He had no concept of who the FSA or NRCS is, nor did he have any idea of what wetland reserve is.
We fully support hunters and allow hunting on properties. Our only rule is they have to take females with the trophies.
Fortunately, we have a good FSA/NRCS office. We called them and let them know what is going on, and that we are trying to get things straightened out. They also noted that the hunter did this without permission from the landlord. They mentioned that there have been situations in the past where the landlord has been fined and had to sue the trespasser.
This hunter has certainly overstepped his bounds. It's guys like this that give all hunters a bad name. But it begs the question that so many landowners and land renters should ask themselves: do you know what's going on in your woods?