Road hunting etiquette. Land owner and Hunter

Brad6260

New member
The age old subject of road hunting tolerance. The reason I bring it up is to get current opinions on reasonable and not from both sides of the fence. It's something I rarely do much of but this season I ran into a jerk who went way out of his way to come hassle me almost to the point of criminal. This was mid season and yes it was the week before deer season but I was on a remote county road by myself walking the ditch edge right next to the road. I have enough sense and common courtesy to avoid walking anywhere near a visible stand/blind or whatever but as I get older road hunting unimproved type out of the way roads (well away from buildings or livestock) has some appeal.

There is always a jerk or two to be found but my question is in this day are most SD landowners tolerant of a law abiding road hunting or am I likely to be met again with anger and resentment.

Thanks.
 

ranchodeluxe

New member
I have found landowners who don't like road hunting are of two different minds. One mindset is the type who don't want anyone around unless they are padding the landowners pocket. You run into these types in the areas where commercial pheasant hunting is prevelant. I always remind these types that all the subsides they get come from somewhere, and that somewhere is my pocket. So, I am in fact paying him for my presence. Their response is always something like (in their fiercest independant voice) " I don't take a damn penny from the Government" . Of course this is easily documented on the Ag Depts website. I have taped a printout on a guy's mailbox that showed he took over $900,000 in recent years. I did this just to let him know that I am not a fool. You can't do much about their intolerance, except to purchase their tolerance.

The other mindset is the rancher who just needs to go about his/her daily business without the hassle of people shooting in his yard, near his livestock, etc. They need to get the haywagon down the road and don't need your truck blocking it. Also, one of their legitimate bitches is litter. Most guys don't litter intentionally, but things blow out of your truck when you open the door, etc. Also, and this is something I need to do better at, that is shotgun hulls littering the roads and ditches. I had a landowner bring this up just this fall. I told him I will be back this spring to do litter patrol. Of course he was like "ya, right". I sent him a Christmas card thanking him for his tolerance and reiterating that he will see me in the Spring.
 

3car

Member
Yes most landowners are tolerant but it only takes one bad guy to ruin your day. Sounds like that kinda happened, or am I wrong? And yes I think you will run into that problem again if you do it enough especially around the preserves.

From what you described is hunter harassment and is punishable by any SD State Co. You will need to sign a complaint so the state can prosecute. You may need to show up to court and testify but it rarely happens. Bad guy name really helps, but a plate number and vehicle description will be needed at a minimum with a location. More than likely the state already is going to know the landowners that are famous these complaints.

My experience with this type of harassment is that those type of angry landowners have been getting away with this type of crap for years because no one ever calls the GFP or signs a complaint.
 

3car

Member
I have found landowners who don't like road hunting are of two different minds. One mindset is the type who don't want anyone around unless they are padding the landowners pocket. You run into these types in the areas where commercial pheasant hunting is prevelant. I always remind these types that all the subsides they get come from somewhere, and that somewhere is my pocket. So, I am in fact paying him for my presence. Their response is always something like (in their fiercest independant voice) " I don't take a damn penny from the Government" . Of course this is easily documented on the Ag Depts website. I have taped a printout on a guy's mailbox that showed he took over $900,000 in recent years. I did this just to let him know that I am not a fool. You can't do much about their intolerance, except to purchase their tolerance.

The other mindset is the rancher who just needs to go about his/her daily business without the hassle of people shooting in his yard, near his livestock, etc. They need to get the haywagon down the road and don't need your truck blocking it. Also, one of their legitimate bitches is litter. Most guys don't litter intentionally, but things blow out of your truck when you open the door, etc. Also, and this is something I need to do better at, that is shotgun hulls littering the roads and ditches. I had a landowner bring this up just this fall. I told him I will be back this spring to do litter patrol. Of course he was like "ya, right". I sent him a Christmas card thanking him for his tolerance and reiterating that he will see me in the Spring.
Well said.
 

oldandnew

New member
Iowa has similar law. Don't seem to have the same issue. I am not real whippy on the law, but it's been that way forever. If they want to make a change perhaps lobby the state legislature to change the law? Part of the issue is there is nobody to ask! We have no road hunting law in Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska it is incumbent to find a landowner to ask. I have had written permission from the landowner and be subject from grief from the renter who rents it's for agriculture or cattle grazing! It seems like hunting anywhere is a polarizing topic. In the recent past you didn't need permission in North Dakota to hunt, if the land was un-posted. Hunting seems to be destined for death by thousand cuts. Most anti hunting devotee's don't distinguish between terrorists and legitimate sport hunters, and target shooters. I am sure the ASPCA consider hunting dogs as human cruelty. Our current population profiles in our country are making this more likely. Hunting with out pay to a small percentage of farmers is not worth the bother, because they belief they "own" the game. The idea that they don't because of archaic laws, might be a disadvantage for hunters. It's easier to eliminate the game and habitat, so no hunters will want to hunt there, rather have to police access to game lands. In S.D. the issue is that the landowner owns and pays taxes to the center of the road! If we had universal "hold harmless" laws to make the landowners harmless for accidents, with an insurance for any damages done, paid for at licensing by hunting permit, ( yes it will be expensive, so what!). Along with serious subsidies for water quality, soil conservation, air quality, and incentives to reduce chemical application, rotation of crops, and prop-up certain commodities to provide varieties, we might reverse this trend, if we were all on the same side, the landowners might welcome the inconvenience of a hunter here and there.....they did at one time!
 

Chip

Member
My crew have been going to SD for years. We hunt at Uguide and enjoy it very much. Some of us drive a long distance and go a day before our hunt starts. On this day we road hunt. It's a lot of fun. The problem we have in the last few years is finding ditches that haven't been mowed. This past season we drove around for 3.5 hours and only found two ditches worth hunting. Those ditches held birds . With the current farm practices I think it is just going to be harder to find huntable areas. Never had a problem with landowners but we won't hunt anywhere near buildings or live stock
 

ranchodeluxe

New member
One thing I should have mentioned., I know this bothers a preserve owner that I talk-to. On the commercial operations that buy birds to supplement their wild bird population, they pay a lot of money for those birds and it rubs them raw when people come by and shoot the stupid things for free. My friend goes around on his four-wheeler with a spaniel and "beats-in" his released birds in the late afternoon.

Local law enforcement is well aware of the problem landowners. I won't mention his name, ( Barry Vollmer from White River SD ), but I've been jacked-up by some clown with a bus full of paid hunters, feeling the need to act bad in front of his clients. The local Sheriff came down and you could see the disgust on his face. Wanted me arrested because my dog's footprints showed he walked on his side of the fence to avoid a washout at a culvert. He turned it in to the States Attorney with a recommendation of "do not prosecute". Never heard another word about it.
 

Brad6260

New member
Well no surprises. I guess the conclusion I draw here as stated before is there will always be a jerk or two out there on both sides and they will sour the tolerance of some but the good news it seems is that where common sense, respect and courtesy are displayed the opportunity to road hunt may still be a viable option.
 

Little Creek

New member
road hunt

Farmers seem to blend road hunters hunting from their vehicles with ditch hunters.

In the past I have had even local women stop and tell me I was hunting a good ditch. I was surprised, as I expected a bashing. I have had farmers tell me where a good ditch was rather than allowing me to hunt on their land.

In SD now, it seems the whole state has gone commercial. There are many more leases than 20 years ago. Also, ditch mowing is now prevalent. A good ditch is hard to find!
 

Crestwoodbuck

New member
If you spend any time talking to locals who have lived in and around the small towns of SD most of their lives they grew up road hunting. Many a guy has told me in conversation that they used to get a 12 pack, a buddy, and go cruising for birds. It is a lot harder to do that now with the bird populations down.
 

SDJIM

New member
If you spend any time talking to locals who have lived in and around the small towns of SD most of their lives they grew up road hunting. Many a guy has told me in conversation that they used to get a 12 pack, a buddy, and go cruising for birds. It is a lot harder to do that now with the bird populations down.
Wow--loaded shotguns and booze--road hunting----HUM :(
 

oldandnew

New member
Wow--loaded shotguns and booze--road hunting----HUM :(
I believe you can have a loaded gun in the car! in S.D. The fact that teenagers road hunted does not surprise me in the least....I probably would have too! Which makes me dubious about the legality, and the adults who do the same thing now. Some do that here, illegal, but they do anyway. Please I am note saying that about participants here, walking the ditches is a different subject in my opinion.
 
It only takes a few bad guys to spoil things

I have gone on a corporate hunt in SD on a preserve the past few years and I can tell you what I have seen. The preserve owner is very friendly and has no issue with people hunting the ditches as long as they obey the laws in regard to distance from livestock and dwellings. He did say (and I witnessed this twice last year) that he does get upset when people cross fence lines when they see birds across them and think that they can get away with it. This preserve is as such that it is pretty easy to get your limit early if you are much of any kind of shot. That being said we rarely hunt past noon and have the afternoon open to do other things. This year we went up in some buttes on the property to see if we could help rid a few coyotes for the owner. I bought a new good set of binoculars this year knowing we would do this. Sitting up in the buttes I could see road hunters and ditch hunters on the roads below. I saw two instances where parties trespassded across fencelines in pursuit of birds they could see. I also saw one road hunter shoot across the fenceline and then come back in about 20 minutes to pick up the bird he had shot. Although not everyone does this the temptation is always there and it only takes a few to do this to make the property owner to be suspicious of all.
 

Gone Catch'N

New member
Proper etiquette is to get permission since the landowner owns to the center of the road. It is common sense elsewhere.


How about someone from the Game Fish and Parks Department address the following:

1. Game Fish and Parks Department does not allow retrieval of big game without landowner permission. Why do they allow retrieval of a pheasant?

2. Game Fish and Parks Department protects their land by not allowing toxic shot. The landowner does not have the right to protect their own?

3. If the landowners grass in the ditch is so important then how about the Game Fish and Parks Department reimburse the landowner at the going rate for walk on areas.
 

ranchodeluxe

New member
Proper etiquette is to get permission since the landowner owns to the center of the road. It is common sense elsewhere.


How about someone from the Game Fish and Parks Department address the following:

1. Game Fish and Parks Department does not allow retrieval of big game without landowner permission. Why do they allow retrieval of a pheasant?

2. Game Fish and Parks Department protects their land by not allowing toxic shot. The landowner does not have the right to protect their own?

3. If the landowners grass in the ditch is so important then how about the Game Fish and Parks Department reimburse the landowner at the going rate for walk on areas.
Well, if you are going to hunt public rights-of-way only with the permission of landowners, you may as well stay home. I do ask if I size up a spot that is legal, but in close proximity to a house, livestock, etc, They usually say "I would rather you didn't, but thanks for asking". That's good enough for me.

In response to your three points:

1. Hunting of big game from a public right-of-way is illegal, even if you are the one paying taxes to the centerline. Therefore, by design, retrieval of a big game animal from private land is illegal as you broke the law simply by shooting. I don't think I need to address the ballistic differences of a shotgun versus a high-powered rifle. Remember, if flight originates from the private side of the fence, you are breaking the law by shooting, unless the bird's flight path takes it over the right-of-way.

2. We all know that the days of lead shot are numbered, however, I have never heard of it causing any poisoning of livestock, etc, simply from road hunters shooting over private land. If this were a major concern, don't you think landowners would dictate non-toxic shot for their paid clients? ( I am sure some do, but far and away, most don't.)

3. The landowner's grass is his/her decision to manage,most of it is cut for hay, therefore they are being paid for it. If they have the smarts to leave some for wildlife habitat, it only benefits them, overall by reducing erosion, etc. Also, landowners are allowed to hay their walk in land. It does not become off-limits to the owner simply because they sign a contract with GFP. Many walk ins are hayed or grazed long before hunting season. This reduces the value to sportsmen, but on balance, the walk in program kicks butt.
 

hunter94

Active member
if ditch hunting is legal and it is........why would i try to find who owns the field behind it? i can legally hunt it (the ditch) w/o permission.......applying common sense of course helps. maybe the landowners should take this up with their reps....this is a senseless argument, covered by the rules.
 
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