Hunting season, especially dear season is an event for my family. It’s such a big deal, my Dad changed our calving season around to accommodate it better. Most cattle ranchers don’t take vacations – they go hunting.
Since I have a fall birthday, I cannot tell you how many “birthday parties” have been opening day hunting trips on the ranch. And, honestly I like it. I love to see how excited my Dad and Uncle become – they are like little boys on Christmas morning. Getting to share that excitement with their daughters is one of those experiences that makes life worth living for them and me.
One of the huge benefits of owning land is having a private place to hunt. The best places to hunt on the ranches have been passed down through generations, like a deathbed secret. We cherish this knowledge and the fact we are custodians of our land and wildlife. Cattle People love to be self-sufficient and hunting is another skill that let’s us feel that way. Seriously though, if zombie apocalypse happens, you want me on your side!
This is why we get so very upset when our little fairytale of family bonding and environmental stewardship is thwarted. Who, you ask, would do such a thing?
The past couple years, poachers have been a major problem on the ranch I live on. I’ve been harassed, threatened, and shot over. Our deer population has plummeted. Our friends and neighbors that earn the right to hunt here, by donating their labor to us, no longer get to hunt here. We simply don’t want to stress the habitat anymore than it already is. I didn’t even hunt this year.
This ends now. The past two weeks have been the worst I’ve ever seen. This morning we caught two different pairs hunting on this ranch. I was ripped out of a rare, sleep-in morning to deal them. I was not pleased. I’m tired of excuses like ‘we don’t know how to read our map’ or my favorite – ‘we have permission’ (from a family member that died 30 years ago). Either know the rules and boundaries or don’t hunt – it’s that simple and your responsibility as a hunter.
From now on, I will be taking pictures and names to publish on my social media (public shaming is one of my favorite things), calling the California Department of Fish and Game (I have a private cell phone number now!), and the sheriff. Charges will be pressed. In short I am going to be a screaming mimi, pain-in-the-ass, something I excel at.
Here is your notice poachers of D3. I’m waiting for you.