The “Posted” Dilemma – What Do You Think?

Posted

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!

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15 thoughts on “The “Posted” Dilemma – What Do You Think?

  1. I would be notifying the county or state or whatever that manages the land. Either confirm through them that every map out there and your GPS is wrong, or alert them to the fact that someone is putting private property signs up on public land. At least with the handheld GPS you’d have coordinates to give them as well.

  2. I would walk the perimeter of the posting and see if you can find a drive/residence/evidence of it being owned. They didn’t post their name, LFE doesn’t count, or address. To me, it looks like it could be another hunter trying to illegally protect his honey hole. You could also contact the WMA and ask them, they might be interested to know if someone is illegally marking their land. Good luck, and let us know how it turns out.

    • I’m thinking it could be another hunter as well. Although, I’m surprised that they would use so many signs to do it. I don’t know if I can walk the perimeter. It’s a difficult walk to get there and the only way to go around what’s posted is to bushwhack a new trail up the side of a mountain. I’m fairly hardcore but I’m not nearly as young as I once was. I may try to contact the state DNR to see what they have to say. Hopefully the area that I scouted near the “posted” land is productive for me and it won’t matter too much. However, I think that going past where it’s posted is where the highest concentration of quality bucks is going to be. Of course if I find something out, I’ll let you know.

  3. I agree with Amber, and if my phone wasn’t acting a fool, I would have gotten to that point first! lol. Landowner information is public knowledge that can be found at the proper county offices.

    • Thanks a lot. The information should definitely be available at I’m assuming the assessor’s office. I guess the question is going to be how far am I willing to go to hunt this land. lol

  4. As noted the signs are not properly posted. However, that usually will not hold up in your favor using that argument. I would contact the WMA and check with them. Let them know where you were and ask them if the map has changed etc. I know if your relying on google maps or some other internet mapping service they can be extremely wrong. Near my spot they show a huge section of woods being national forest and its all private property. Having said that I’m sure that there are some WMA’s that have some private property interspersed like the national forest. I guess it depends on how far you wanna take it and how much time you wanna spend on it. I would probably just find another area that looks promising and scout that. There’s still a month of scouting so you have plenty time. Happy scouting!

    • Thanks for the info! I went ahead and scouted another area and plan to hunt there until I find something out about this. However, I do think that the area I was wanting to go (the posted area) would probably be a much better place to hunt. I was using Google Maps. Maybe that’s the problem – all-knowing Google not knowing all.

  5. Hunting has become a serious issue for some folks but personally, I think you did the wisest thing under the circumstances. However, you should contact the powers that be to get specifics. Maybe somebody posted in the wrong location but out GPS technology is too good this type of mistake. Another thing, you might not be the only person that has questioned this before. Happy hunting!

    • Thanks a lot! I can’t question the GPS or my location. I knew exactly where I was based on terrain features and the GPS backed up what I thought precisely. It seems that it is either someone incorrectly posting, or the boundaries of the WMA are mapped incorrectly. I found a decent location near where I had planned so it should all work out whether I get to hunt where I wanted or not. Regardless of where I’m sitting in the woods, a day of hunting is still a great day! Thanks for reading!

  6. Pingback: The “Posted” Dilemma – Resolved | SmoothingIt.com

  7. As a landowner who is constantly trespassed upon even though my property is marked, albeit correctly, with the same signs as in your picture, I commend you. The best advice I can offer is to contact the nearest official from the state game/fish/wildlife department (here we call them game wardens). Ask them to walk it with you, unless they already have an explanation. Where I live, they would be happy to.

    • As it turned out, the land was most likely private property.  After contacting the WVDNR and getting an accurate but far from up-to-date map, the entire area is outside of the WMA.

      I actually wrote a follow-up post that you can read here.

      Thanks so much for the comment and for visiting SmoothingIt.com

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