Hunting facts you may not know

Published 8:55 pm Wednesday, November 25, 2009

To the Editor:

Unless a property owner places No Hunting signs every 200 yards around the total perimeter of his property, any hunter from anywhere in possession of a valid state hunting license is free to climb your fences and walk your land, weapon in hand, and discharge that firearm without interference unless asked to leave by the landowner.

Under a written persmission law, the hunter must have writetn permission from the landowner ahead before walking and hunting the same land even though the land is not posted. Many states and N.C. counties have such a law.

last Monday evening, by a vote of 4-1, the commissioners voted down a proposed Hunting With Written Permission law for Polk County. The only commissioner voicing support for this initiative was Renee McDermott.

I wrote the following prior to that vote:

I have asked Tommy Melton to read this letter concerning the proposed Hunting With Written Permission Law as I am unable to be present.

Poachers will most likely not be affected. Thats the sheriffs responsibility, written permission or not. Wildlife officers are not in favor. Why should they be? It means more work and the calls come at inconvenient times. Most hunters would find it bothersome to collect written permission authority to hunt. Land owners are still free, on their own, to issue written permission letters if they choose to do so. Why this new law?

My current thinking revolves around safety. Safety of whom? Farm animals, hikers, residents of nearby houses, hunters themselves from improper identification of hazards on the property they are hunting.

The fact is, under current law, its pretty easy to grant a hunter verbal permission over the phone with little forethought and a lot of the safety details missing or soon forgotten. Its more likely when writing out that permission letter, and signing it, the property owner will address these safety issues in graphic detail for his or her own protection. Chances are, such details as where property lines are, the abandoned well with a wooden cover, that nearby house barely visible through the trees, that horse trail nearby, that field with grazing cattle, and finally just who has hunting authority and for how long would all be pointed out more clearly. Written authority avoids the he said, she said afterthought. Its all there in writing.

This is a serious issue. It involves the discharge of high-powered rifles. Its all about safety.

Burt Baer