Sitting in a tree

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Sitting in a tree minding my business

Sitting in a tree

The only stress I feel with a rod and reel or gun in my hand these days is what law might I be breaking and will I get accosted any minute for who knows what?

I can’t keep up with the rules and regulations and not sure there is a Alligator Harborcentral authority to go to for 100 percent up-to-date data. Ever purchased one of those fishing law books only to find it’s outdated before summer is over? Who can remember all that crap?

On top of that you better be dang sure the map you have of the state and/or federal property you’re hunting on is accurate as well. Doesn’t matter if you picked it up at the local ranger station either, it’s not their problem if the map isn’t accurate, it’s yours.

Here is an excellent example; many years ago I was hunting in a state management area.

It bordered a federal wildlife refuge. Naturally I thought the best place to head was as close to the wildlife refuge as I could while staying on the state side. With my trusty map I navigate to the fire break that divides the two and walked along the side (on the state side) ’till I found the perfect spot. I sunk back into the state side about 15 yards and climbed a tree with my ole man tree stand. Life was good, very good, I was alone and not bothering a soul. Me in God’s creation with my bright orange vest on.

After sitting there for about 30 minutes a loud voice broke the silence, “freeze, federal officer drop your weapon.” I was a bit stunned, this has to be a mistake, I mean he couldn’t be yelling at me, but who the heck else could he be yelling at? I looked in the direction of the voice and about 30 yards away I could see a figure behind a tree with what looked like a pistol pointed at me. I was with 4 other folks and thought one of them might be having a bit of sport with me. My reply was an ingenious quick witted “what.” The voice repeated itself much more forceful this time.

So I quickly assessed the situation. I really didn’t want to “drop my weapon” from 18-feet up a tree with a round in the chamber, but I didn’t want to get shot either. So I calmly expressed my concern to which I was instructed to remove the round, shoulder my weapon and climb down. It sounds strange, but I was a bit excited to find out what was going on. I thought someone must be on the lamb in the area or something.

Well that wasn’t it, I was advised that I was trespassing on federal property. Not to get off

National Wildlife Refuge
National Wildlife Refuge

on a tangent, but who owns federal property anyway? Perhaps my taxes contributed to some degree? I pleaded my case, I said that I was on state property and pointed to the fire break and the sign on the other side that read Federal Wildlife Refuge. He sternly said that I was way inside the refuge. He knew it was confusing, but that the fire break went around the cypress head I was in that cut into the refuge.

So I was escorted out and given a civil infraction for federal trespassing. What really hurt was the $500 dollar fine that went with it.

I’ve often thought how bad that whole deal could have gone. What if I had been hard of

hearing and looked down to see someone with a pistol pointed at me?

So, this event may play a major role in my current paranoia. One thing it has taught me is avoid the man all cost. Don’t walk where your boot prints can be followed, take off the orange vest when you get in the tree. Walk into the woods if you’re fishing and you see the game warden coming.

Also, I would be very interested in learning how not to be detected by those new thermal night vision systems they have now. Would some sort of insulation work?

What do y’all think? Anything similar ever happen to you?  Look back at the top of this post and leave a comment on Sitting in a tree post.


4 thoughts on “Sitting in a tree”

  1. That’s some story! I guess it was probably about 20 years ago my son and I decided to go quail hunting in the woods behind my parents house. My Dad and I had hunted there every opportunity we had throughout my childhood so taking my own son there was a major priority. Ownership of the property had recently changed but we figured the deal we had with a farmer that was leasing the property would still be in effect. Needless to say we were about halfway from my parents house to where we knew would be quail when we noticed a pickup truck coming at us at full speed across a corn field (don’t see that everyday) and they pulled up right in front of us, doors opened, and 2 men in their 30’s pulled a pistol and shotgun on us. Thankfully my son remained calm and I answered all their questions about who we were and why we were there. They demanded I pay them $2,500 to hunt on the property. Turned out they were leasing it from the same farmer we had our deal with and the property was being used as part of a hunt club. We decided to politely tell them to piss off and I told them if they ever pulled weapons on us again I’d call 911. I told them to contact the farmer but we weren’t waiting around. We just walked off into the woods and didn’t see them again. It was a harrowing experience for both of us and one I won’t forget.

    1. Thanks for the reply, you gave me another idea for a future post as similar things have happened to me. Pulling a gun on someone for hunting quail is the apex of stupidity. The only reason to point a gun at a human is to kill them because your life is in jeopardy, period!!

  2. It is said that every single person commits at least three felonies each day, unknowingly. How in the world are we supposed to live our lives this way?

    While reading your story and how you portraid the officer it seamed like this stuff has happened before. If it has, why in the world did he pull a gun on you? He obviously knew you were making a common mistake.

    Plus who owns Federal Land? Well, I would like to know that as well. My favorite (used to be) place to visit was Colorado. I loved the freedom out there while growing up. Last time I visited all I seen was keep out signs on federal property. The only place you could camp was in designated campgrounds right next to partiers, people with barking dogs, and babies that cried all night. I hate that place now. There is literally no where to go unrestrained anymore.

    1. I feel your pain Travis. I think about 50% of Americans feel the way we do, 40% are sheeple that go blindly about their day to day activities with no concern about liberty. The remaining 10% are the problem, they think they know better than us and must control our activities. Things have gotten out of control, I can’t keep up with the rules anymore so I have determined to exercise common since and keep as low a profile as possible. Thanks so much for your post.

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