As I stood with an old farmer of 83 looking over the 100-acre farm I had just leased from him, up pulled a pickup truck with two young fellows who looked like they should have been on the job somewhere instead of driving around on someone else’s property.
After they asked the farmer what was going on he told them he had just leased this property to me. The driver asked what for and I said to hunt, at which time the other young man said, “Well good luck with that, this is where we come to do donuts.” The farmer looked puzzled and said, “You don’t have permission to be here,” to which one of them replied, “Who cares?”
At that point I spoke up and asked what makes them think they can come onto someone’s property and trespass. Don’t they know there is a law against trespassing in Kentucky? The driver never missed a beat, and said we could never get the law to come out here, and if we did they wouldn’t do anything about it. The farmer and I just looked at each other in disbelief. What have we become when nobody has a say over the property they pay taxes on, paid for when they bought it, and has been kept in the family for years?
I told the two to leave and never come back although I’m sure I’ve not seen the last of those two. Kentucky law is plain — the land need not be posted, or fenced, if you don’t have written permission from the landowner. It doesn’t belong to you, so stay off. If you kill a nice turkey or deer on property on which you are trespassing it can be taken by the game warden. It is a poached animal, period.
I hope that no one in Letcher County does what I’ve been describing, but where this farm is in the Wild West of Estill County, it’s gotten to the point that just about anything goes.
I saw several nice longbeards and three monster bucks while walking the land, which is nearly level. I’ll keep you posted (excuse the pun). Next week I hope to get out some of the stories that have piled up on my desk about some of my hunting buddies’ turkey trips. I think I’ll start with my good friend Orell Fields’s hunt last year.