By Calvin of Oakknoll

“Nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation” Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, part of the Bill of Rights.

Attempting to live a simple bucolic life in a remote region of Chautauqua County, in the southwest corner of New York State, was impossible for several reasons. The most prominent was the invasion by force of arms of state-licensed hunters. These privileged characters so vexed us that we were unable to safely use our land. We could not cut firewood, go out at night to talk with owls, or even picnic in the immediate vicinity of the house. Hunters’ bullets came zinging through the air, snapping against the boughs of shade trees just above our heads, right outside our front door.

Less immediately menacing was the economic squeeze put on us. The economic screws included escalating real property taxes, gross mismanagement of wildlife, and the bias of law enforcement favoring the gunslingers. Prominent among the insidious pressures was the overloading of our four hundred acres of land with an unnatural number of white-tailed deer. The overload of the land with “big game” was caused and maintained by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC). The DEC should be adopted as a full subsidiary of the National Rifle Association. It should be renamed something more in tune with its true function – that of taking private land for the special interest group that hunts. Perhaps “The Hammer and Sickle Society for Expropriating Private Land” would be more fitting.

To that end, it markets a form of public use of private land, trampling private property rights, which in theory give an absolute right of quiet enjoyment of private land to the tax-paying landowners.

In England, form where our property law is derived, a vestigial leftover from feudalism keeps the notion alive that the Monarchy owns the whole country, and that common folk merely occupy private land by the grace of the King or Queen who rules by the grace of God. In America, however, where notions of royal privilege no longer prevail, and Church and State are separate, citizens own land by absolute title. I believe that confiscatory real property taxes and the confiscatory infestational practices of the DEC are no less than armed theft of real property rights and might be challenged in court. I have gotten absolutely nowhere with my amateur pro se petitions on taxes and property. Apparently it will require smarter lawyers, more altruistic and insightful magistrates, and a more strongly aroused public before changes are made.

The deliberate infestation of farms and forests with state-owned deer, instigated by the greed of these state agents to raise money, combined with the greed of the hunting lobby to take over private land for their so-called “sport,” takes private property for public use without just compensation in violation of the taking-clause of the Fifth Amendment – a very important part of the Bill of Rights.

Achieving human sanctuary would also achieve the same sanctuary for wildlife residents on private land.

There once existed in the wilds of New York, and in all of the Northeast United States, prey-and-predator balance between the herbivores and carnivores; but in abysmal ignorance, state and provincial governments have seen fit to exterminate wolves, panthers and cougar, so the deer population has grown substantially. The deer have been left with no natural enemies, and into this weird situation, the hunters suggest themselves as the fake heroes who would replace the natural carnivores of yore, restoring the long-sought “balance of nature.” Alas, the hunters shoot wide of their mark. They cannot disguise themselves as having any role in the balance of nature.

Surely nature is enormously off-balance and the herbivores are destroying the forests, allowing no seedling or sapling to survive; but there are good reasons why a rag-tag army of hunters invading private property are most unlike natural predators. First, the hunters are obnoxious, arrogant and dangerous trespassers. They take land by force of arms whether or not it is posted, endangering life and limb of legitimate landowners. Wolves and big cats pose no such menace to humans. Hunters always vastly outnumber landowners and enforcement officers, and hunters are invited to abuse private property rights by the sloth and convenient blindness of the state police and conservation officers.

Second, humans hunt seasonally, while the wolves and big cats were a constant and relentless pressure.

Third, the culling effects of human hunters are spotty and focus usually in certain locations close to roads and cities. Cats and wolves police the whole area.

Fourth, human predators kill trophy deer in their prime, rather than sick and aged animals that natural predators would cull. This frustrates and reverses natural selection upon which evolution and genetic maintenance depend.

Fifth, far from thinning the herd down to a reasonable density over the terrain, the orchestration of the length of the hunting season (quite brief) with the orchestration of doe permits (quite restricted) leave the deer-to-land density at such an infested level that the deer starve, and it is impossible to protect orchards or field crops from them. In the total process, the Royal State “takes” private property in confiscatory magnitude to the utter exclusion of all other (private) uses. This is far from any form of wildlife management; it is indeed an agricultural enterprise of the state that “takes” private property for public use in the shallowest disguise of “wildlife management.” The state operated, state-owned herd of quasi-domesticated “wild” cattle is orchestrated, like all agribusiness, to use the entire resources of land for highest profit, allowing no quarter to other private or alternative use, and ignoring the rights of tax-paying owners. Like the royal fox-hunts of England, this outrageous taking of land by the States tramples the common man’s crops, ignores his boundaries, destroys his fences, and makes a mockery of private rights to property, all in the arrogant spirit of royal amusement. This is most un-American!

Calvin of Oakhill can be reached at Wallkill Correctional Center, 81C0541 Box G, and Walkill, NY 12589-0286. He is serving a 25-year prison sentence for shooting and killing a hunter in self-defense. The hunter had trespassed on his property, refused to leave when asked, and pointed his rifle at Calvin. Unbelievably, Calvin’s 400 acres were confiscated and given to the hunter’s wife, leaving Calvin’s family impoverished.

Note: The Bureau of Wildlife (BOW) of the DEC collected million of dollars in fees from hunting licenses and federal taxes on lethal weapons, contributes nothing to the general work of the DEC, uses the DEC’s resources (offices, equipment, printing facilities, toilet paper, coffee machines, secretaries), taps into the general fund, and lives off whatever good reputation the DEC has. We suggest isolating BOW from the rest of the DEC and demanding that they support themselves entirely. BOW is like a private hunting operation that operates under the protection and reputation (mixed as it is) of the DEC. This applies to all other states, though the names are different (e.g., DEP, DNR, etc.).


Contact Us

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