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Trespassers!
I've sung the praises of public access in Maine on this forum many times, including this week. This morning I got my come-uppance. Most of my early season hunting is on a ~20 acre pond that is across the street from my house and entirely contained in about 800 acres of conservation land owned by two land trusts. It's a 1/2 mile walk in there, and I have permission to keep a canoe at the end of the trail.

Most seasons, I have it to myself except for a handful of folks who like to hunt it during the early goose season. The only person other than my hunting partners I ever see in there is one of neighbors who only hunts ducks a couple of times per year. If one of use sees the other is there, we generally hunt together.

This morning I pulled in to two unfamiliar trucks. My initial hope that is was archery deer hunters was crushed by the camo-ed canoe on one truck and DU sticker on the other. I don't know if they've also got a stashed boat, or if they hauled one in, but they beat me to "my" island, and they got all the shooting this morning after I set up in the second best spot.

I don't really mind--it's public land and I take my chances--but it's been awful nice in the 10 years we've lived here to have a reliable "back yard" spot for woodies and a few blacks and mallards in the early season where I knew I could have a quiet morning by myself.

Other than the lack of ducks with any interest in my end of the pond, it was an awful nice morning. Sunrise lit up the red maples in the swamp and the birch and sugar maple on the ridge over the pond. Wildlife watching was excellent. I finally saw the family of otters that I knew were in the pond. In the past all I've seen is tracks and slides in the snow. There were at least three, and I swear I saw them try to put the sneak on a ringneck that was the only duck that landed any where near us this morning. The pair of loons has not migrated to the coast yet, and they did a nice job of protecting their surviving chick from the pair of eagles that were eyeing it hungrily. I saw my first real-life "murmuration" of swallows over the pond. (If you don't know what this, search for it on You-Tube.) Very cool, even if it is an invasive species.

When we landed the canoe after picking up, the dog jumped ashore and immediately flushed a bird out of the thick hemlocks above the landing. We figured it was a ruffed grouse, but it turned out to be a hen mallard that flew over both me and my partner low enough that either of us could have swatted it down if we'd still had the paddles in hand.

Sure enough, it flew down the trail, over the pond, and decoyed straight to the interlopers sitting in my spot, where one of them dropped it with a single shot.

Adding insult to injury, when I returned to the house about 9 am, my wife informed me that the flock of jake turkeys spent the whole morning in our yard. I'm not much of a turkey hunter, but I'd set my sights on bagging one of them for the meat and to chase the buggers out of my garden, where they're doing more damage than the deer.



Payback's a bitch!

"At first blush I am tempted to conclude that a satisfactory hobby must be in large degree useless, inefficient, laborious, or irrelevant."
— Aldo Leopold
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Re: Trespassers! In reply to
So now that your public lnd. sweet spot has been discovered the get up and out way early game starts. Been there ,done that but those young kids seem to be able to get up and out earlier than myself every year. My early teal season sweet public lnd. spot I finally had to quit after kids were beating me there consistently. They were getting in there about 1 a.m. and as much as I like early teal about 2:30 was as early as I would set up and new I was crazy doing it then. Such is the way of public lnd. hunting once somebody else puts in the effort to find your hidey hole! Forunately my Woodie spot I have exclusive access to so looking forward to next weekend when our season starts.
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Re: Trespassers! In reply to
Well, this has happened before, and most of the time people get sick of walking and hauling boats down the trail for the typical bag of a woody or two and once in a while on a good day a couple of big ducks. Fortunately, there is quite a lot of public land around here, so we all get spread out. This spot is good but not so good people pile into it--which is how I like it.

"At first blush I am tempted to conclude that a satisfactory hobby must be in large degree useless, inefficient, laborious, or irrelevant."
— Aldo Leopold
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Re: Trespassers! In reply to
Always hard to switch things up but it sounds like you got a good run in for years.

One thing I really enjoy on public where I am at is the fact that I can move around and still draw the birds in. Most guys beat us to our previous spot where we hunted previously! They don't catch on to our decoy spreads nor put the extra effort in that matters when hunting pressured birds.

Hopefully you can change it up and the ground is laid out similar to here to do the same. I enjoy hunting pressured birds as the learning is amazing. When I take that learning into other areas with less pressure it makes that hunting a lot easier.

Good luck.
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Re: Trespassers! In reply to
I live on a dead end. The older folks in the last house that is sort of the entrance to a large marsh system nicely allowed a man to park in front of their house and take his young son out jump shooting. When it turned into this happening every weekend, they asked the man to not park there anymore. So the man moved up 6' to be in a sort of no mans land between homes and continued to come. Prior to this, I pretty much had run of the place since I was 8 years old. Well, now the boy is all grown up and despite being politely asked many times by the (now) elderly homeowner, he continues to return with now his friends. Then they show up without him and their friends. It's everything you'd imagine. Skybusting, running with guns, no ability to retrieve, shlepping skids out to the marsh to build a "blind" and then leaving them there etc etc. They must get shells for free because they shoot like they do. It's public land in the sense that it's really no ones and if you were to arrive by boat, well, it is what it is. In this case, the only way to access it by land is to cut through this guys yard......kind ofWink
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Re: Trespassers! In reply to
 Paul, call your local DEC officer to check on their bad habits. This may deter a lot of their sky busting and retrieving of birds. I have all the local DEC officers phones and the main office. Most of them are very friendly and easy to get along with.
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Re: Trespassers! In reply to
Paul Mc wrote:
I live on a dead end. The older folks in the last house that is sort of the entrance to a large marsh system nicely allowed a man to park in front of their house and take his young son out jump shooting. When it turned into this happening every weekend, they asked the man to not park there anymore. So the man moved up 6' to be in a sort of no mans land between homes and continued to come. Prior to this, I pretty much had run of the place since I was 8 years old. Well, now the boy is all grown up and despite being politely asked many times by the (now) elderly homeowner, he continues to return with now his friends. Then they show up without him and their friends. It's everything you'd imagine. Skybusting, running with guns, no ability to retrieve, shlepping skids out to the marsh to build a "blind" and then leaving them there etc etc. They must get shells for free because they shoot like they do. It's public land in the sense that it's really no ones and if you were to arrive by boat, well, it is what it is. In this case, the only way to access it by land is to cut through this guys yard......kind ofWink


Whether it is public or not will depend on the law in jurisdiction. In Maine, it that wetland was a natural pond larger than 10 acres, or an impoundment larger than 100 acres, then the state of Maine would own the bottom, and the the public would have the right to park on a public road and cross private land to "fish, fowl or navigate". They couldn't stand on the private shoreline to fish or hunt, though.

If under 10 (or 100, if an impoundment) acres, it would be private, and the landowner could prevent hunting or fishing.

Further complicating the situation is whether the dead end road is a public road, a private road that is also a public right of way, or a private road.

Of course these details all vary depending on your local laws.

The suggestion to contact your local CO is a good one. Even better if the landowner does it. Even where people are doing something that is legal, CO's up here often intervene to suggest to hunters that they not antagonize local landowners even if they have the legal right to do so. And to let landowners know what the law is.

"At first blush I am tempted to conclude that a satisfactory hobby must be in large degree useless, inefficient, laborious, or irrelevant."
— Aldo Leopold