From when I was 12 until my Dad died in 2017, our family home was on a 53-acre patch of land outside Smithville, Ontario. It had three large ponds, fields for crops and, by my estimate, about 10% of it was woods. My parents built a house there and Dad moved his business there, too.
When we first moved in, we’d often wake up and see deer lapping at one of the ponds. Ducks visited regularly. Beautiful blue herons landed sometimes. We noticed all sorts of critters and creatures.
Once in a while, the sounds of gunshots disturbed the serenity of the location. We noticed we were seeing wildlife less and less often. Farmers shoot pests and it’s not that unusual to hear guns firing. But when you can tell for sure that the shots are coming from your own wooded area, you tend to react. Hunters are supposed to get permission from the land owner before shooting anything on it. My Mother never would have given anyone permission.
I have a vivid memory of my 5′ 3″ Mom, pulling on rubber boots and a jacket, furiously stomping across three large fields to the woods to confront strange men carrying loaded guns. Obviously, it worried me. I wasn’t sure those men would survive!
The hunters didn’t see a problem with trespassing on our land and shooting whatever they felt like shooting. Their poor attitude prompted a lot of shouting. Mom asked where they lived. “Hamilton.” Okay, said Mom, I’m coming to YOUR place to hunt on YOUR land.
“But we only have a tiny yard! You have ALL this land”
Right, said Mom, and this is OUR yard!
They were at a stalemate. I believe there was a threat to call the police. The men shook their heads, the way idiots without a clue have done since the beginning of time, and left in a huff. It took Mom about eleven days to calm down.
I thought about all of this last week, the fourth week in a row that random pickup trucks have rolled slowly down our gravel road and nearby roads. Others have parked on the roadsides. There are lots of tree stands around and it appears the hunters are working in teams. One flushes the animals out and another on the other side shoots them.
No one has asked us for permission to be on our property, nor have I seen anyone do so. But I have noticed plenty of them all around us and heard the occasional shot.
My pal Scott tells me it’s open season on weasels, hares, wolves, coyotes and red foxes. I fear for the deer even though they’re not in season. And we often see rabbit tracks around our house. A rabbit is not a hare but does the hunter know that when he sees movement and shoots?
As much as I’d love to scare off the hunters with some Polish yelling I learned from my Mom, it’s not my place. I have no idea whether they have permission from the land owners. I have a suspicion, but I don’t have proof, and it’s literally not my business. What they’re doing is legal. I just don’t like it. I side with the weasels on this one.