The Hunted

white-tailed deer in the snow

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.

Elmer Fudd holding his gun with one hand and making the Shhhhh signal with the other

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.

8 thoughts on “The Hunted”

  1. Amen. I love your mom’s spark and heart. It makes me feel sick to think about people hunting deer when I feel blessed to see them – especially the one with the lame back leg – in our yard. I know, I know, food etc.. But every day I edge closer to facing my hypocrisy and giving up meat altogether.

  2. Full disclosure: I am taking a hunting/firearms course this weekend. I want to be more self-sufficient and I have my own large property to hunt on.

    On to the larger topic: there are idiots everywhere. You have to decide whether you want to live with the country idiots or the city idiots….

  3. Your Mom sounds wonderful! I fully empathize with an eleven day anger.

    I *do* believe they legally have to ask you, as it is your property and you (or children or pets) could be out walking on your own land at any point without needed the worry of being shot by a trigger happy hunter.
    Most of the farms around our area permit the hunters (we are merely 2 acres surrounded by 100+ acre farms). Both of our direct neighbours get very excited and send local gun-toters out when the coyotes get ‘too thick’ or ‘too close’. I always wonder why they think its too thick … I’ve lived here two years and haven’t seen one at all but only hear a pack on occasion at a respectful distance.

    1. Thanks, Bridgette. We are 2/3 acre surrounded by 100+ acre farms but we have only met a couple of neighbours so we don’t know who’s excited and who’s not! Best for me to keep my nose out of it. But we DID see a coyote once! 🙂

  4. The first part of this post had me wistfully thinking about how I’ve always wished I lived in the country. The 2nd part reminds me of the pitfalls of living in the country. I have friends who hunt. They are good people who own their own property and have permission from owners of neighbouring property. I try to understand the desire to hunt – providing for your family, etc but I still don’t get it. How on earth you could see a beautiful animal of any shape or size and wish to kill it is beyond me.
    Oh I love the visual of your Mom stomping out there!! Awesome!

    1. Thanks, Sue. I know good people who hunt, too. And I’m just going to assume that the ones out here have asked for permission. I just remind myself that it’s not my business. (Although I can’t help but feel protective of these beautiful animals.)

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *