The Republic Masthead

Driftwood outdoors: Communication key in determining hunting boundaries


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I could hear the four-wheeler coming, but I couldn’t turn around to see who was driving it.

I was 15 feet up a big oak trying to wrap a ratchet strap around the trunk. Once the rider was basically right below me, I peeked under my arm and saw it was the adjacent landowner.

This is the third year I’ve leased the same farm. There’s never been a problem, although this adjacent landowner and the fellow I lease with seem to disagree on a property boundary.

My hunting partner believes the property line runs along a ditch, while the landowner believes it’s actually at the edge of the field the ditch runs through. His belief limits us from shooting deer along our side of the ditch.

This is actually a big deal because the brush draw along the ditch is a major travel corridor.

The landowner was gracious in wanting to speak about the boundaries. I like the man and understand his position. His land is a dream come true, but now he has to deal with hunters squeezing in on him from every side.

It’s something most landowners have to deal with, but still, it’s a bummer. He had hopes of managing the deer herd, and that’s just not feasible because the hunting parties on two sides of him shoot a lot of deer and have no problem killing the first legal buck.

So he came to speak with me about not shooting along the ditch. He said his son will be hunting opening morning along their side of it. OK, so this isn’t good for me because the tree stand I was hanging is meant for opening day of rifle season. Now, instead of creating a problem by hunting the stand, I’ll just hunt somewhere else.

But this bothers me because now I can’t hunt what I believe to be the best spot on my property.

There’s an easy fix, but it would take a little time. Each piece of property is surveyed, so we could go to the county and figure out exactly where the property line is.

The landowner stakes his claim on the fact that the old farmer he bought the land from told him the boundary was the field edge.

Well, that’s fine and dandy, but the old farmer who used to own our lease told my hunting partner the ditch was the border.

So now we have a classic case of “he said, he said.”

The good thing is, we have communicated. I understand my neighbor’s stance and feel like at this point it’s up to me to either obey based on his belief or discover evidence to the contrary. I like the fact that he came to me to discuss the situation before the heat of the moment. At least, I know what he believes and will respect his boundary.

The key to good relations is communication. This is true in just about any situation. It is especially true when dealing with hunting properties.

I strongly encourage you to take a few moments to speak with the folks hunting the property next to you. Try to come to an agreement on boundaries and any access issues, such as what happens if a wounded deer runs on the other guy’s property.

Also, let them know where you plan to hunt. This will hopefully keep everyone conscious of sending random bullets into the bush.

See you down the trail.

Brandon Butler can be reached at

driftwoodoutdoors@yahoo.com.

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