Hunting Near Property Lines: When Should State Step In?

Most hunters abide by unwritten rules of decency when hunting near property lines. Should states get involved when neighbors can't get along? Photo by Kris Kandler.

Alabama’s Conservation Commissioner has drawn the ire of hunters and landowners with an idea to create a 50-yard “buffer zone” along privately owned borders.

by Alan Clemons

At the state’s Conservation Advisory Board meeting earlier this month, Commissioner Gunter Guy made note of complaints about hunters putting up tree stands or shooting houses on property lines and overlooking adjacent land. He suggested the possible buffer zone prohibiting elevated stands within 50 yards of a property line unless the adjacent landowner gives permission to possibly help alleviate the situation.

That hasn’t gone over well with hunters, including the outdoors editor of one of the state’s biggest newspapers. Jeff Dute, outdoors editor of the Mobile Press-Register, rightly blasted Guy’s idea in a column and said “It’s a proposal that Guy should tear up and file to his wastebasket.”

Dute added: “I understand there are boneheads out there who can’t seem to follow even the most basic tenets of hunter ethics or courtesy. That doesn’t mean the state has to enact a regulation that penalizes the vast majority of hunters who do the right thing.”

Read Dute’s column at this link.

Dute’s correct in labeling the shady actions of a few hunters as the cause for Guy’s consideration. While not illegal to erect a shooting house, blind or tree stand on a property line, it’s not too skippy of an idea to leach off the work of a neighboring landowner’s efforts if they’ve planted a food plot or have intensely managed their property.

Alabama’s next Conservation Advisory Board meeting is March 10 in Montgomery at the State Capitol auditorium. We’ll see if Guy’s not-to-subtle hints of regulatory action is a bluff to try to get hunters to straighten up, or if he’ll try to enact a regulation that will be difficult to enforce, would step on the toes of landowner rights and will put more work on his already-taxed and understaffed Enforcement Section of game wardens.

What do you think? Should the state intervene in such matters?