Sitting in a tree minding my business
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 central 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 Ever purchased one of those fishing law books only to find it’s outdated before summer is over?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
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.