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Discussion in 'Off Topic [BG]' started by bolophonic, Apr 4, 2015.

  1. bolophonic


    Dec 10, 2009
    Durham, NC
    As I have posted a bunch of times already, my wife and I have relocated our family to a large parcel of land out in the country last year, after about two years of renovations and preparations.

    About a year and a half ago, I discovered that a neighbor -- a tenant, renting a tiny trailer in the woods on the lot abutting ours to the north -- had been using our land as a shortcut to the country store down the road for years, while the land was vacant. I noticed him the first time while I was up on my roof, so there was not much I could do about it before he was gone. The second time, I drove out to him in the pasture and informed him in no uncertain terms that he was trespassing and he admitted as much. He said that he was aware that the property was under new ownership and he could see that we were re-developing it and he suggested that maybe he would just cut through my woods instead.

    I made it explicitly clear that the boundary of my land was a creek running through the woods and that if he set foot on any dry land on my side of that creek, then he was still trespassing. We discussed the details until I was sure that I had made it clear that he understood where the boundaries are. He was compliant and he seemed like a just a mellow simpleton, so I left it at that and never heard from him again...

    Until yesterday, when I was unloading my truck and noticed him pop out of the woods down by the road. I drove down to meet him again, this time on the side of the road. I asked him if he remembered me and he said he did. I asked him if he remembered about my warning and he suddenly became loud and belligerent, cursing and denying that he had ever set foot on my property, then telling me that he had seen all of my trespassing signs and he would walk wherever he wanted, etc.

    Besides the obvious problem of having an unhinged stranger wandering my property at will, I have been building trails in the woods for my wife and two young sons. Simply put, I cannot have the three of them EVER coming across this weirdo in the middle of the woods. After telling her about my run-in, my wife is already wary of taking walks alone with the boys, which is her favorite thing to do out here.

    I spoke with a sheriff's officer who came out and filled out an incident report, but we don't know the guy's name and his address is literally a busted trailer in the middle of nowhere, so right now, I have no way of swearing out a warrant. The cops, obviously, aren't going to just arrest him unless he is actively trespassing, so I have to do some leg work to have this guy hauled into court.

    Has anyone here on TB had to deal with chronic, wanton trespassing before? I am a little freaked out by how aggressive and weird this guy was.
  2. ArtechnikA

    ArtechnikA I endorsed a check once... Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 24, 2013
    Country works different from city...
    I expect he won't take you seriously until he sees the 12-ga ...

    meanwhile, you can bolster your position with law enforcement if you mount a few game cameras and can provide photographic evidence. make sure there are recognizable landmarks visible.
    TheBear and ImNotJoel like this.
  3. 2.6kHz


    Jul 9, 2014
    Stow, MA
    Unfortunately, you are probably dealing with someone who is playing the squatter's rights game. Way I see it you have two options. Patrol your property with a loaded shotgun slung over your shoulder. Or get an ill-tempered dog. If he told you he'll walk wherever he wants to, he isn't reasonable. Don't try and reason with him, force him out. Would not be surprised if he is armed either. Large barking dogs and/or shotguns change people's attitudes pretty quick. A mastiff or german shepherd would work nicely here.

    If that doesn't work, give neighbors permission to hunt your land. I'm sure he'll just love that. Nothing like being woken up by barking hound dogs at dawn every day.
  4. bolophonic


    Dec 10, 2009
    Durham, NC
    The sheriff's officer took the situation completely seriously, so I've already started laying down my case.

    I've been in plenty of dicey situations in my life, but I have managed to resolve all of them without throwing a punch in my adult life. That said, I think I will leave the shotgun in the house for now, but I have a brutal riot truncheon that I will be bringing with me into the woods in case I find this guy out there again. I am kind of surprised how quickly I became mentally prepared to whip this guy back to the Stone Age, once he opened his mouth.
  5. MJ5150

    MJ5150 Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Apr 12, 2001
    Olympia, WA
    Work on becoming good friends with the guy and then introduce him to your family. Make it a positive situation instead of what you have turned it into.

  6. Robus


    Aug 25, 2013
    Chicago Area
    Congratulations. You've just made an enemy of the one new neighbor. Get busy, there are probably three or four others to go.
  7. My family has had issues with trespassers on our property in the past. It's important to do things like keep signs up, keep fences repaired and in place (make sure nobody's moving them) and to clearly mark borders and establish some form of more or less constant visible use. In our case, it's a working farm/pasture property. However, there is hunting on the property during seasons, which I see somebody mentioned above and which I think is a good suggestions. Provides some income in terms of rent and provides a good deterrent. The point, though, is to establish constant use and a consistent presence of people unfriendly toward trespassers.
    Another possibility are deer cameras. Put them up high on a limbless tree where they can't be tampered with, and they'll catch him in the act. Furthermore, he'll see them, too, and know he's being watched and documented.
    Another idea beyond that is to pick up a .22 and do some plinking once in a while. Do some clay trap shooting. Gunfire keeps people away.
    Dogs and guns are excellent deterrents, but there's also the liability issue. Packing heat with you when go out there does send a message, but it is rarely a diplomatic message. Now, that doesn't bother some people, and to their credit, those people rarely have problems with trespassers. On the other hand, they might not have many friends, either, and naturally it's a good idea to avoid a feud if you can help it.
    Clearly it would be wise to avoid outwardly aggressive, Hatfield and McCoy type of behavior, but don't be a sucker, either.

    Then there is the neighborly route, which would involve simply explaining the liability issue of people getting hurt on the property and all of that. I would go with deer cameras and a little diplomacy, first.
    bolophonic and bholder like this.
  8. mbelue


    Dec 11, 2010
    Good fences make good neighbors.

    Everything in life depends on the establishment of appropriate bounderies. Signs might put you on the right side of the law but are largely ignored. I suggest barbed wire, and lots of it.
  9. bholder

    bholder Affable Sociopath Supporting Member

    Sep 2, 2001
    Vestal, NY
    Received a gift from Sire* (see sig)
    Might invest in some of those motion triggered infrared wildlife cameras, mount a few near his paths and digitally doc him trespassing. Or if you want to give him a good scare, hook a nice bright flash up to trigger off one.
  10. catcauphonic

    catcauphonic High Freak of the Low Frequencies Supporting Member

    Mar 30, 2012
    Seattle WA
    So it's the 'liability' issue that you're mainly concerned about? I guess if you can get sued over him falling and hurting himself, then by all means do what you have to do ... though a "simpleton" who's been going that way for years will probably not ever cause you trouble, and you're just making his life harder. He's probably cursing you with every extra step he has to take to go around.

    In the past week I've noticed a couple of tents popped up in the greenway between my balcony and the freeway, and my first thought was to bring sandwiches down to the poor b@stards ... though I'm not the one that's gonna get sued if they get hurt down there
  11. Steve


    Aug 10, 2001
    Letting people establish a right of way across your property in Florida can be a huge deal. None of it good.
  12. bluesblaster


    Jan 2, 2008
    deer camera(s) for evidence and some common sense diplomacy about liability issues is a good choice, shooting some clays as a freindly reminder that your armed never hurts either
  13. DiabolusInMusic

    DiabolusInMusic Functionless Art is Merely Tolerated Vandalism Supporting Member

    Do you use the road? If not, lay a spike strip under some dirt. Be sure to put up a visible "no trespassing" sign first.
  14. ImNotJoel


    Jan 12, 2014
    That guys probably been using that short cut for years. If that was in the far corner of my land and the guy seemed nice enough I could let it slide. There's a set of unwritten rules in the country. If you have been using someone else's land because A. It was deserted or B. You knew the old owner and he was ok with it. You should go introduce yourself if there's a new owner. Shake hands, look the owner in the eye explain you have used the short cut for years ask if you can use it and that you don't want to impose so if they're are certain times the owner doesn't want you on the land or any other conditions you will respect them. Be neighborly offer help or even barter my family used to barter a share of deer meat to use peoples land to hunt (if we were successful).

    Personally I wouldn't have a problem with someone cutting through my land. As long as they're are just walking through if they were loitering and being sketchy different story. But the fact the guy became belligerent with you is an issue. That being the case I would have a dog out or see if he ignores the trespassers get shot and survivors shot again sign. Smart to involve the police if that guy gets mad at you for using your property he's unstable.
    MattZilla, bholder and LiquidMidnight like this.
  15. placedesjardins


    May 7, 2012
    Well, follow the advice of the cop who took the incident report. If you want to make sure you have all your ducks in a row, you may want to ask the cops what is necessary in your jurisdiction to give you enough proof to swear out an arrest warrant for trepassing. This may require more than just trespassing signs. Maybe you needing to verbally tell the person he is banned from you property.
    Seeing the person in the vicinity of your property is not enough proof, even though you could articulate he got to where you sighted him because he would have had to walk on your property. If you do see him on your property again, get a cell phone picture or video of him on your property. Call the cops again. If you become a squeeky wheel, yes, they will get sick of responding but you are then creating a recorded chain of incidents that will look favorably in your case in court if you get an warrant for trepassing. A defense attorney can pop holes in your case if you just only made one or two calls.
  16. bholder

    bholder Affable Sociopath Supporting Member

    Sep 2, 2001
    Vestal, NY
    Received a gift from Sire* (see sig)
    I once saw a sign that said - "we're friendly - the first barrel is rock salt".
    47th Street and ImNotJoel like this.
  17. ImNotJoel


    Jan 12, 2014
    That's funny, a sign under it should read "better hope I payed attention to which barrel has the rock salt."
    Need Gigs likes this.
  18. bholder

    bholder Affable Sociopath Supporting Member

    Sep 2, 2001
    Vestal, NY
    Received a gift from Sire* (see sig)
    or about 20 feet further on: "2nd is double aught"
    ImNotJoel likes this.
  19. Dig a big hole down by where he walks through and put a sign over it that reads "Reserved for trespassers."
  20. ArtechnikA

    ArtechnikA I endorsed a check once... Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 24, 2013
    When I lived in NV, following a really good day at the rifle range, I saved a target and taped it to my car window.
    It looked like this:

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