Hunting Your Neighbor’s Fence Line
You find a prime spot for ambushing a buck, but it’s hugging the boundary line. Do you hang a stand anyway?
When you invest in your own hunting property or lease, you want to take advantage of every square inch of land. But hunting property lines is a bit of an ethical gray area, and it’s best to just not be that guy.
From a law perspective, it’s generally legal to hang a treestand on the outermost edge of your property — but it’s also legal for your neighbor to do the same.
If you shoot a buck and he bounds over to the other side, you better know your state law as with many it’s not legal to just trudge through and start tracking without permission. Depending on state, your neighbor isn’t required to allow you on his land, and state wildlife agencies or other law enforcement will be hesitant to get involved. If your neighbor does grant you permission to recover your deer, you should be prepared to make the same concessions. Other states you can cross property lines to recover your game without permission however your weapon must remain behind. If you live in one of these states it is best to consider how you would feel if the shoe was on the other foot and not even a courtesy heads up was given.
In every state it is of course illegal to shoot an animal that’s across the boundary line (again, without express permission). So, could you really resist the temptation to shoot a monster standing broadside 20 yards away? Perhaps just don’t put yourself in that situation.
Either way, it’s best to have a sit-down with your neighbor before hunting season starts. If your neighbor bowhunts too, you can try to come to an agreement on specific permissions to reciprocate. Showing some respect and mutual consideration can go a long way.
If your neighbor hates hunters or is a generally miserable person, you probably won’t get anywhere. And it’s not worth starting a war for the sake of 100 yards.
If you choose to hunt right along your neighbor’s fence line, you should carefully consider where a deflected or misplaced arrow could fly when hanging your treestand and cutting shooting lanes. Never risk taking a shot that could potentially hit a hunter on the neighboring property.
In closing a well-known golden rule can be applied here, “Treat others the way you want to be treated yourself!”