Making the call

November 14, 2008

Faith Outdoors

For the first time in my life, I called a game warden to report a violation. Actually, it was two violations that occurred Saturday on the firearms deer opener. The first was an act of vandalism in which someone tipped over my tripod stand. The second was an act of trespassing. Someone had walked across the field where my son, Andy, and I were hunting and went into the woods. He shot twice, but we never saw him.

On Monday, I decided to report it to the local game warden in Goodhue County in southeastern Minnesota where we were hunting. His name is Tyler Quandt and I had a good conversation with him. He listened to my story, then said he would pay a visit to the property to check things out.

That’s all I could ask. I doubt he’ll catch the trespasser, but he is going to talk to the owners of the neighboring property, who just bought it within the last year. I have a feeling someone from that group crossed over onto the land we were hunting. There was no vehicle parked nearby, which leads me to believe it was someone who lived close by.

It’s disappointing to deal with such hassles on opening day. I always look forward to that first morning in the stand and I really enjoy the anticipation of a deer walking quietly in front of me. Acts of vandalism and trespassing can ruin the mood. I had to exercise a lot of perseverance and faith to remain in the stand long enough to finally shoot a deer. Fortunately, God was faithful once again and I was able to harvest a buck.

But, this incident paled in comparison to what my father-in-law, Bob Guditis, experienced near Great Falls, Mont. He was hunting there a couple of weeks ago with his daughter and two sons-in-law when a neighbor roared up to them in his pickup truck and accused them of trespassing on his land. Bob is a civil engineer who is very smart and careful when it comes to land boundaries and he knew he and the others were on public land that was legal to hunt.

The landowner screamed obscenities at Bob’s daughter and threatened her and the others. Bob ended up calling the game warden and the landowner was charged with assault and illegally driving a vehicle on public land. Hopefully, that will be the last of the trouble with this hostile landowner. We will be going out there to hunt this same land at the end of next week and I’m hoping for a peaceful experience and no confrontations with this guy.

This is one aspect of hunting that I find extremely challenging. Some people get carried away with greed when it comes to land and the animals that live there. They want it all to themselves and will resort to hostile means to keep others away.

But, we must be willing to share the land and share the harvest of game and fish. And, we should do it with a hospitable spirit, recognizing that we all are created equal and that God offers the natural resources for everyone to enjoy.

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About Dave Hrbacek

Staff photographer and writer for The Catholic Spirit. Also, avid outdoors enthusiast with a passion for hunting, fishing and photography. Married to Julie and have four children, three boys and a girl.

View all posts by Dave Hrbacek