Thursday, March 29, 2012

Hate Crimes happen in Duck Hunting, too...

I swear I'm not insensitive. This entry might be considered ill-timed as it coincides with the Trayvon Martin case. I believe in our justice system and won't extrapolate on what I think really happened. Nevertheless, there are tall tales, often marred in truth, of hateful occurrences that go down at a duck hunting boat ramp near you. And, if you're a guilty party, one day, the trail camera that some people put out to guard their vehicle will definitely have you running from the law and insurance companies...

First of all, the absolute worst cases I have ever heard come out of three places:

(1) The North river area along the Camden/Currituck County border.
(2) Anywhere that helps hunters gain access to Winyah Bay in South Carolina
(3) Areas along the White Oak River around Onslow County

Occurrences might include:

I've heard of folks letting the air out of tires on vehicles and trailers. This is the best way to ruin someone's day. After hunting, most of us have SOMEWHERE else to go. It's never happened to me, though, and I've never witnessed it.

The ol' sugar-in-the-gas tank trick is one that can cause irreparable damage to an automobile. This can get you in big time trouble if found guilty.

I've heard of people pulling the plug on boats left at the ramp, too.

Running through a spread of someone else's decoys happens everywhere in North Carolina. Usually, it's by mistake. Some people like to "buzz the tower" so to speak. That's just plain intimidation.

I've also heard of local club operators running people, physically, out of "their" duck blinds. Sorry guides, you need to set your alarm earlier. Building a blind doesn't entitle you to it unless you get their first. Padlocking a door works, but it can be shattered. I think I'd bolt a blaze orange panel to the front of my duck blind...

I've heard of people actually stealing trailers...

I've heard of people cutting the lock on a trailer and sliding it into the water...

I've also heard of some turds cutting the tongue off of trailers...

Here's the thing. If you're gonna do these things, you've already proven that it's pre-meditated. That, alone, will allow the judge to toss the book at you. Also, if it happens on a game land, you're certain to lose your hunting license. But since you're a butthead anyway, you'll probably just hunt illegally. And what if someone finds out it was you? It's bad enough that people bait n public waters, leaving the area a ticket-hazard to others. But to specifically target a hunter for using "your" areas, that's downright criminal. Most victims of these silly crimes are only guilty of having an unrecognized vehicle or out-of-state tag.

There are some ways to protect yourself, though: Always carry a cell phone. Try to remember a portable air compressor. Take a trail camera and set-it up...just turn the flash of or get one of those infrared ones. Or just use a local guide. It's not fair, and you shouldn't expect it to happen to you, but if it does, report it to the authorities, too.

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