Letter to the Editor

Morel hunters: Show respect to landowners

Sunday, May 1, 2011

To the Editor:

I, as well as my neighbors and other landowners outside of the city limits, have been having an issue that is typical for this time of year: Mushroom hunting trespassers.

I do not know if people do not care or simply do not realize that land is, for the most part, privately owned and is not public roaming ground.

This year, with all the rain especially, has been terrific for the little hidden delicacies that live in the woods.

These little fellers cause people to leave their homes in the cities and immigrate to the woods of landowners that did not give these ungrateful people permission to hunt.

I imagine that the vast majority are just trying to spend a little family time out in the great outdoors with the splendid possibility of finding one or more of the great morels. Whether intentionally or not, that person has just broken the law.

This law happens to be under-enforced and is sometimes hard to enforce so after time is not perceived to be as bad as it actually is.

The reason of this notice is that in this economy situation, people are short on cash and they tend to be considerably more willing to take and do as they wish without the slightest consideration. All of the following examples have actually happened in the last few weeks:

* Fuel was stolen directly out of a locked and inaccessible tank,

* Nuisance animal control traps were stolen from an area that the animals were damaging,

* Hunting equipment, such as ladder stands and ground blinds have been completely disassembled and taken from the woods,

* Barn metal and other scrap has been stolen/re-arranged from where it laid in a cow pasture, and

* A gate was left open and 35 head of cattle got out and were free to walk an area in excess of one square mile.

That was a few of the problems that people have experienced.

That goes without stating that any mushroom that were taken on ground during a trespassing adventure actually is the property of the landowner and this can be considered stolen property as well.

Just think for a second about some of these examples. The cows that were walking the country until they were safely returned to the pasture could have very easily walked out in front of a vehicle traveling speeds in excess of 45 mph on State Road 59.

I know what a deer does to a car and it might weight 200-pounds if it is huge.

An adult cow easily reaches 1,500-pounds.

I would rather not think of that poor individual after that encounter.

Just this week is the start of Indiana Turkey hunting season and what if one of these angered landlords just "happens" to misinterpret one of the shroomers as an old long beard turkey feeding behind a huge Poplar tree. Kaboom!

End of discussion.

I hope this serves as a reminder to all of those inconsiderate city dwellers who have yet to realize what their actions can actually cause.

If one actually still finds the desire to go find a mushroom, just ask a landowner and I don't know many that will say no to anybody who acts half responsible.


Owen Geswein,

Rural Clay County