Slowly and steadily I stepped silently through the forest. The USMC Assault pack was loaded heavy with a deer attractant that eventually went from weighing a few pounds to weighing a few tons. All the while, the sweat began to accumulate and dripped down the sides of my face and into my beard.
After countless reviews of satellite imagery and topographical maps, I was finally doing some “boots-on-the-ground” scouting of a close-by Wildlife Management Area. Based on my research, I had determined a specific location that looked excellent for whitetail deer hunting. Everything was going exactly as planned until I saw those yellow markers that will surely ruin an enthusiastic hunter’s day – “POSTED, Private Property, hunting, fishing, trapping or trespassing for any purpose is strictly forbidden, violators will be prosecuted.” Additionally, the signs weren’t just on a couple of trees. There were a lot of signs and they were spaced between 20 to 40 yards apart making a line across the hillside.
As much as I hate coming across posted land, I respect land-owner’s rights and wouldn’t consider hunting on someone’s property without permission, especially if it’s posted. So, what’s the dilemma, you ask.
The problem that I found with this “posted” land is that based upon all of the maps that I’ve found, this land appears to be WELL within the confines of the WMA. Even trying to give some amount of possible error on the maps that I’ve found, there just doesn’t seem to be any way that this land isn’t part of the WMA. In addition to reviewing the maps, I was using a handheld GPS that verified that I was precisely where I thought I was – following a footpath that is within the WMA in it’s entirety.
So, what’s your take on this situation? For this scouting expedition, I chose not to violate the “possible” land-owner’s rights and found another area to scout. However, the “posted” land in question is highly suspect. What do you think? Should I go with the maps? Should I give up on an area that seems to be prime bow hunting land? Other ideas? I’d love to hear your thoughts on this!