Hunters Conflict With and Frighten Property Owners

We’ve been property managers on a 315 acre property in Western Mass. for more than 35 years. The land is under a Conservation Restriction owned by a large non-profit, which has been monitoring wildlife around a pristine vernal pond via remote wildlife cameras.

They’ve gotten wonderful photos of bear, bobcats with kits, coyotes, fishers, deer, wild turkeys and raccoons. Over the years the property owners have supported our efforts to keep hunters out by posting the roughly 5-mile long border. It took a while, but eventually incursions by hunters seemed to stop. We staple up bright, flexible plastic signs purchased by the hundreds on rolls, and use a small aluminum ladder to put them high on the trees, so they can be easily seen in the dense woods and are beyond the reach of vandals. Experience has taught us that despite legal requirements, many hunters believe that if the signs are not 50 feet apart they are not valid. We have even had hunters refuse to accept our verbal orders to leave the land. But the well-posted boundary has generally been an effective deterrent.

Late in October, the non-profit staffer checking her cameras reported finding another remote camera nailed to a tree near the vernal pond. This was obviously the work of hunters–several excellent photos of two camo-clad men and a dog turned up on the resident cameras.

We removed the rogue camera, and sadly decided to remove the resident cameras as well, out of fear of retaliation. In the past few years, gun advocates patronizing a local shooting range have become increasingly nasty and confrontational in our small town. We put a laminated notice on a signboard near the site of the hunters’ camera, stating that this was protected land, no trespassing allowed, with our phone number. We said they could have their camera back if they contacted us. Then we put up fresh signs along about a half-mile stretch where it seemed the illicit access was most likely. Since time was short we were not able to use a ladder for this posting, and when we went back to check the site a week later, nearly all the new signs had been torn down. We printed out the hunter photos and circulated them around town, trusting that the word will get out that this land is not only protected but patrolled, and that poaching will not be tolerated. This seems like an ominous development, for hunters to waltz boldly onto conservation land and destroy property despite a good-faith offer to return their illicit equipment. Next year we plan to repost the entire border, and be more vigilant. With 300 million guns out there and with increasing social class tension and resentment, we fear a new era of scofflaw behavior on the part of hunters may have started.


Contact Us

Committee to Abolish Sport Hunting / C.A.S.H.
P.O. Box 562
New Paltz, NY 12561