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the sourpuss face

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the sourpuss face
    

My father knew many important and influential people in our valley. Dad was an avid fly fisherman on the River nearby.
The law in our neck of the woods was that it is public access to the mean hi water mark on navigable waterways. So in the fall when the water is low, you can get to spots by bank stomping that would normally require a drift boat or permission from the landowner on the landlocked side.

The landowners would always come down and shout and argue that he was trespassing on their land and dad would cite the law and let them know that they were welcome to call the Sherriff if they had any concerns, but further pestering would be angler harassment, and if the Law came to talk to the landowners, then dad would press charges against them for fouling up his fishing trip and harassment.

Once in a while, they'd take him up on it, and the Sheriff would come down and remind the landowners of the law, but dad never pressed the matter, figuring humble pie was enough for them to ruminate over.

He told one of his associates about the encounters and his associate said he'd had similar experiences. Especially with the couple down on the big bend.
They would come down in a tag-team effort, and together, they would get people to leave under threat of trespassing charges. Usually, their attacks consisted of the Husband threatening to shoot, and then he'd throw rocks in the water and his wife would say, "I'm calling the police" and "You'd better get off our riverfront, or you'll be in big trouble etc..." If that didn't work, then they'd send their dogs in.


On one occasion, my father's friend responded "Why don't you tell it to the Judge?" and the lady persisted bothering him.
So then the lady told my fathers friend, "Well, you'll be sorry when the sheriff gets here, you prick," He just kept flipping his fly into the silky looking socket of water below the boulder in the bend, trying to ignore her.
.
My dad's friend was able to hook and land a nice steelhead during the unwelcoming barrage from the landowner. He'd cite the law and she'd have none of it, again, he smiled and said, "tell it to the Judge."

Then her husband went inside to grab a notebook so that he could take the name and info of the responding deputy, and get the "trespassers" info noted for his own information.

A deputy arrived and the landowners and their dogs rushed up to tell him about the incident. The deputy took a few minutes and got their information and then noticed my dad's friend (the angler). When the deputy recognized him he smiled and waved. The landowners were confused and a little shocked by this.

The landowners and the deputy walked over to the riverside, the deputy shook my father's friends hand and said "Looks like you two have already met Judge Bennett" Then the deputy said, now that we're all clear on the law, why don't we let the Judge get back to those fish?

The landowner's got the "sourpuss" face and walked back to their yard defeted.











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Last edited by:

todd tennyson: Dec 3, 2019, 3:22 AM
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Re: the sourpuss face In reply to
great story Todd, I've been in your Dad's place frequently when hunting in Narragansett Bay. The require us to to 500 feet from an occupied dwelling ,by which the state means occupied at ant time during the year!So the owners can have a beach house there but live someplace else during the winter. I always carry range finder with me. We get harassed by people even when were twice the legal distance from a house. we always politely tell them to feel free to call the police or game wardens and remind them of the hunter harassment law. The authorities are either not called or refuse to come to the scene, and if they do show up we can show them the written rule and verify it with a range finder. But sure would nice to have a judge in the hunting party!!
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Re: the sourpuss face In reply to
Sounds like ct. had a guy threaten you slit my throat during early goose a few years ago, he was given a ticket for hunter harassment.

He had big balls saying that to a guy with an obviously loaded gun, I wonder how that would have been handled in the old market gunning days.....

Dealing with people absolutely sucks

"Remember that it is not the so much the appearance of the bird in the hand but the effect of a half-gunshot off that counts" Duck Shooting Along the Atlantic Tidewater
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Re: the sourpuss face In reply to
Here in FL you actually see a lot of that kind of harassment from homeowners towards people walking the beach. We have the same mean high water line rule and yet homeowners still believe that they own the beach and all the way out to the middle of the ocean along their property lines. It can get ugly, especially when the local cops don't understand the rules. Friends would take to carrying a copy of the FL Statutes with them when they go shelling on the beach to show the cops when they were inevitably called.
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Re: the sourpuss face In reply to
Those water access laws for fishing and hunting are absolutely essential to those of us who are lucky enough to live in places that have them. They are under constant attack.

Maine's law regarding intertidal lands protects only the right to "fish, foul, and navigate". This has led to some interesting and convoluted interpretations. Surfers, for example, have argued that they are navigating just as much as someone in a canoe or kayak. Shell pickers have argued they are fishing--just like someone digging live clams or mussels would be.

We get one of these legal conflicts on the front page of the paper every few years, usually over beaches in southern Maine. The most recent case has revolved around whether harvesting seaweed to sell is covered by "fish, fowl, and navigate". Seaweed has become big business, with large barges that harvest mechanically--so much so that some are concerned about the ecological effects of seaweed removal in some of the most heavily harvested areas.

A recent court ruling decided that seaweed belongs to the landowner, so landowner permission is needed for harvest. I'm sympathetic to protecting seaweed from overharvest, but worried this gets used a precedent to undercut fishing and hunting.

https://bangordailynews.com/...rockweed-harvesting/

"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: the sourpuss face In reply to
Great story Todd. Thanks for sharing it.
Larry