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Letter to the Editor: Trespassing on private property

Save your hunting rights, control unethical behavior

Save your hunting rights, control unethical behavior

Save our hunting rights from radical environmentalists, is a phrase often used by hunters. Is it only environmentalists lobbying to have hunters shut down? Or is there a large portion of landowners so fed up with the hunters, and the authorities who are hired to enforce hunting regulations, that they also want hunting seasons shut down? Maybe the phrase should be, save our hunting rights from unethical hunters.

I’ve heard the argument that most hunters are ethical — just a few are not, in 36 years that is not the numbers I have dealt with. I realize that environmental officers cannot patrol every private property, but when I have photos of license plates, photos of persons, names, times, dates and the only action taken is well we’ll give them a call, this does not discourage trespassing and hunting without permission. Yes, charging people with violations is expensive (maybe an enforcement fee of $10 per tag should be added to all tags sold), why have laws if they are not going to be enforced? When laws are not enforced with penalties that discourage people’s criminal action, we are just encouraging criminal behavior, the number of people who behave this way will increase.

Yes, I am against hunting, on my private property, which is small, compared to the vast amount of crown land that is opened to hunters. I also believe that hunting serves a purpose, if hunters respected my rights as a landowner to refuse entry and hunting on my private property, I won’t be against hunting.

I have had irrigation destroyed by people running over it as they drive out in my field, to stop this I have for the last 30 years starting the beginning of September until end of November have to get out and unlock a chain across my driveway even though I have a cattle guard, which unless you have ever had to open and close a gate every time you leave or come home you may not understand the aggravation but believe me there is a reason cattle guards are put in. Please don’t tell me about signs — I have this year sent photos to the RCMP of hunters walking right past signs to enter my property, and was told they didn’t recognize the people and didn’t really know what they could do about this ongoing problem other than to tell me to put up gates and maybe more signage. Made me laugh —I’m sure had I put up three signs right where they walked by. Signs are easily ignored if there is no consequence for ignoring them.

I have had four-wheelers driving all over my land from a road they access, which actually has a sign stating no motorized vehicles by the forestry. Off-roading causes weeds and destroys vegetation that the wildlife needs but doesn’t seem to matter to these hunters. I have invested over $1,000.00 in bugs to get a handle on the knapweed.

I own only two horses that graze my property the rest of the feed is for the wildlife, which I love and enjoy watching. My children have started giving me trail cameras that are mounted on my own private property last year one was stoled during hunting season, so this year before hunting season we took a ladder and raised all the cameras 10 to 12 feet up off the ground hoping to stop theft. Someone managed to get up to one camera and because it was locked to the tree broke it off, the lock and strap are still there, another camera they stole by falling the tree to get it.

Next time you wonder what could people possibly have against hunting season think about the fact that this is just a small portion of things that only 1 private property owner deals with and imagine how many other people are dealing with this behavior yearly.

Save your hunting rights, control unethical behavior.

Alice Letcher/Grasmere