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Judge: FWC Must Keep Blackwater Deer Dog Hunters Off Private Property

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October 11, 2016

A Leon County circuit judge has ordered the state Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission to stop deer-dog hunters from going on private property within the borders of a state wildlife management area in the Panhandle.

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Judge Karen Gievers found that the state agency’s continued permission of the hunt within the Blackwater Wildlife Management Area in Okaloosa County and Santa Rosa counties is a “nuisance” that has interfered with the property owners’ right to enjoy their land.

>The order doesn’t call for a stop to such hunting, and it will be up to the state agency to determine how to keep the hunters from going onto private property.

Fish & Wildlife Commission spokeswoman Susan Smith said the agency is reviewing the judge’s order, issued on Sept. 30. Smith said that, since July 1, the agency requires dogs in that area to be equipped with devices that allow behavior correction in addition to remote tracking.

The lawsuit was filed in November 2014 by retired U.S. Air Force pilot and National Rifle Association member William Daws, Jr., and his wife, Ouida Gershon, who sought to put an end to deer-dog hunting in the portion of the Blackwater area where they have lived since 2005. Twelve of their neighbors joined the suit earlier this year.

David Theriaque, a lawyer who represents the plaintiffs who live within the Blackwater area, said the order will provide relief to those property owners.

“All my folks have wanted for years was just to be able to use their property … without being subject to hunters and deer dogs shooting across their property,” Theriaque said.

Daws and Gershon claimed that, during the 44 days the state allows deer dog hunting, they have been threatened by hunters. Daws and Gershon alleged that their mailbox had been shot and derogatory graffiti was written in the road in front of their home. Dogs chasing deer can scare rescued horses on their property, the couple said.

Theriaque said he believes this is the first case in the country in which a court has ruled an agency must halt deer dog hunters from going on private property.

Deer-dog hunters use canines to trail deer through the woods. The dogs are unleashed when deer tracks are found or when hunters are within areas deer are known to frequent. The hunters typically follow in pickup trucks to where the dogs are expected to round up the deer for shooting.

Gievers found that “the plaintiff’s rights to the quiet enjoyment of their property had been invaded and interfered with” by the deer-dog hunters during the 12.1 percent of the year when the hunting is allowed.

“For now, it is clear that the trespasses onto the plaintiffs’ property and the interference with the plaintiffs’ property rights is a direct result of the FWC’s continued allowance of deer dog hunting in an area known to contain private property,” Gievers wrote in her 42-page order.

A hearing is set for Nov. 7 to determine if the court should proceed with a jury trial regarding damages. Daws and Gershon are asking for at least $15,000 in damages, claiming the state agency’s issuance of permits to deer-dog hunters has deprived them of their constitutional rights as property owners.

According to the lawsuit, the couple sought changes to deer-dog hunting for four years as efforts to protect rescue animals they care for on the property resulted in being “harassed, bullied, and threatened by deer-dog hunters, including deer-dog hunters firing their guns over the heads of the Daws.”

In 2005, the commission shrank the space allowed within the 200,000-acre Blackwater wildlife area for deer-dog hunting from 78,172 acres to 19,589 acres, while also closing a number of roads to the hunters.

Shortly before the lawsuit was filed in 2014, the state commission was advised by staff that closing more areas to hunting with dogs is possible, “however, interest in hunting with dogs remains extremely high.”

The state agency had argued in part that the court would violate Florida’s separation of powers law by issuing any order.

But Gievers disagreed, writing that the amended lawsuit did not seek to change FWC rules or regulations, “nor micromanage the deer hunting program.”

by Jim Turner, The News Service of Florida

Comments

54 Responses to “Judge: FWC Must Keep Deer-Dog Hunters Off Private Property”

  1. Kendra Johnson on March 10th, 2017 1:29 pm

    Are there any updates on this story? I am referring to the following from article above that talks about damages:

    “A hearing is set for Nov. 7 to determine if the court should proceed with a jury trial regarding damages. Daws and Gershon are asking for at least $15,000 in damages, claiming the state agency’s issuance of permits to deer-dog hunters has deprived them of their constitutional rights as property owners.”

    Thank You!

  2. It's not Just in Florida on December 30th, 2016 2:45 pm

    wow. Up here in Virginia we have same issues with dog hunters. Looking to use similar court case. The local idiots give hunters a bad name. Same problems with destroying property, tres-poaching, and racing their trucks up and donw the road not worried about kids who might ride a bike down road. We have too keep the kids next to the house as we fear these fools might harm our children with their reckless firearm handling.

    Time to stop this trespoaching tradition.

  3. Marsha F on October 17th, 2016 8:31 am

    A lot of big talkers on here hiding behind an alias.

  4. MS_camper on October 14th, 2016 2:43 pm

    bwalker21,

    SEDHA did not put a fence AROUND the Daws property, they put a fence EAST of the Daws property, on state-owned land. The Daws paid for all the fence on their property.

    The Daws did not cut holes in the fence.

    There are quite a few other plaintiffs with several other pieces of property, all of whom have had trespassing dogs the last few seasons, including some in the last two months.

    The plaintiffs have the right to sit on their four wheelers inside their property line and do pretty much whatever they please as long as it doesn’t involve shooting at you. How ironic that you say, “They can’t seems [sic] to figure out that they don’t own anything past their property line.” when this lawsuit happened because the dog-deer hunters whose dogs are trespassing can’t seem to figure out that they don’t own what’s within the private property lines and have no right to let their dogs run there. Too bad the dog hunters don’t keep their property from trespassing. If they had, dog-deer hunters in Blackwater would not be in this pickle.

  5. Know where to Run on October 14th, 2016 12:05 pm

    To whom it may concern

    regarding the dog trespassing on private property in Blackwater:

    It not just two people involved in this law suit. There are 97 private property parcels in the dog hunting area. Take your best guess as to the other landowners also actively involved.

    If you think we are “city-slickers,” think again. I have owned 52 hound dogs at one time and have dog hunted more that any of you have or ever will. Some folks have lived with this harassment all or a good part of their lives.

    Having Thanksgiving and Christmas ruined or “canceled” because it coincides with dog hunting, not being able to let your children or grandchildren play outside when hunters are around (because they shoot across property boundaries), shooting in close proximity to homes just to harass, being cursed and threatened, reckless operation of vehicles and speeding, blocking roads, throwing out beer cans and trash, dogs spooking livestock causing them to hurt themselves, dogs and armed hunters trespassing on posted private property, dodging bullets to avoid being shot and other incidents that others have had to deal with is sufficient to say–Enough is enough!

    So, if you don’t like the ruling, go dig you up a few coffee cans and collect about $200,000 like we did to get the best attorney in the state of Florida to take on the FWC (who heard our complaints, but did nothing to help us) and let a judge sort it out. Now, get you some of that.

    P.S. Tree stands are on sale at Bass Pro.

  6. local hunter on October 14th, 2016 11:17 am

    As a dog hunter that has been trying to purchase land on or around the management area to have a place to spend summers and winters hunting and enjoying nature, I can sympathize with landowners. Trespassing is just wrong and illegal. The group that I hunt with does everything possible as to not get close to anyone’s privately owned property because of this situation. To other dog hunters: that management stamp and hunting license that you purchase each year, does not give you the right to access private property, it never has…So even if you have been hunting in that area for the past 10 years, you never had the right access private property to begin with. Like Sarge mentioned, I don’t think shocking a dog for doing its job is the problem solver and since we can’t put the shock collars on the hunters that choose to not follow the laws, I urge GAME WARDENS to make a strong presence this hunting season to help the law abiding dog hunters put pressure on the individuals and groups that choose not to follow the laws and respect land owners.

  7. Walker21 on October 13th, 2016 11:12 pm

    All of you who are automatically on the daws side, realize that these are allegations. I dog hunt these woods and it is an area that is avoided now. They have not had people fire over their heads; if anything it’s the other way around. They have repeated disturbed still hunters and dog hunters alike. Also, there is a fence around this property built and payed for by SEDHA to keep dogs off the property. However, the property owners cut holes in the fence so that they could catch dogs and cause more problems. It is also known that the woman is constantly looking for trouble. Anytime you sir I’ve by there during dog hunting she is sitting by the fence on her fourwheler trying to provoke hunters. Hunters have done everything they can. For once, don’t let these people win. The landowners are in the wrong. People don’t trespass, they keep their dogs off. The daws however catch people’s dogs, which Is a dog hunters PROPERTY in a DOG HUNTING area and then file a lawsuit. They can’t seems to figure out that they don’t own anything past their property line… you can’t have The whole forest to yourself.

  8. MS_camper on October 13th, 2016 10:15 pm

    B. Phillips,

    You’re going way out on a limb to accuse the judge of corruption. Dollars to donuts, that judge had never heard of dog-deer hunting before she was assigned this case.

    “Should have known,” is just a dog-deer hunter excuse for trespassing. First, some of the plaintiffs lived on their property since before there was a Blackwater WMA. How should they have known when the property has been in their family for decades? Second, if you are not from the area (which does not mean you are a city-slicker, BTW), you may not be aware of dog-deer hunting on the property when you are looking at it. Even if you look at it during deer season, you may not see dogs during the limited time you are there. So how should you know?

    Those of us who’ve bought land only to discover that dog-deer trespass is a problem thought that our neighbors would be honorable and keep their dogs off our property. We’ve asked the club that hunts around us repeatedly to keep their dogs off our property but it has done no good. We wouldn’t trespass on someone else’s property so it never occurred to us that other people would treat our property as if it’s their own when running their dogs.

    We bought property three miles back on a twisting, winding gravel forestry road, almost at the end of the road. There is nothing but national forest and timber company property along that road and we’re so far back that there is no electricity. My partner chose that property because it is surrounded by national forest and is away from civilization. We didn’t expect to be overrun by dogs. T planned to hunt the national forest some but he suffered a crippling injury over four years ago so he can’t walk far without experiencing severe pain. Because of the trespassing dogs, he can’t even hunt our property. It’s disgusting that the dog-deer hunters run their dogs on our property, block the roads (we have date and time-stamped photos), run their ATVs on the forestry road (illegal, we have pictures), dump trash and beer cans along the forestry road, etc.

    Each of us had a grandfather that hunted deer with dogs but they way they hunted was nothing like the circus that is deer-dog hunting today, at least in our area.

  9. sarge on October 13th, 2016 4:47 pm

    Mr B. Phillips you do know that his name is DAWS and he has a Paved road ( Belandville Road in front of his house. Does not have Still Hunt Area on any of the four sides of his property. Are you talking about the right person?

  10. sarge on October 13th, 2016 4:42 pm

    I only report when we see or have true evidence of people or dogs entering my property , . People run dogs here year around . people run dogs during the months that deer are dropping fawns, at night and during the day YEAR AROUND it goes on , I have NOT said all people involved are doing this ! But the dog hunters that do and hunters that know of hunters doing this that do not report them for doing this are at least complicit , In other counties in Fl. a lease law,is on the books . you are responsible for your animals acts. It becomes personal to me because it is happening to me, not to someone else when someone trespasses on my property . I enjoyed Dog Hunting , but areas you could hunt w/out trespassing on private property became fewer, keeping dogs is an enormous expense and maintaining or buying vehicles to chase with was an every year cost, all we drive are 4×4 . I have used collars both to track with. and used them to prevent unwanted behavior , using a collar to stop a dog from running a deer in a certain area is insane “are you gonna shock a dog for doing his job ,it will after being shocked multiple times keep him from doing his job, Have you ever had a taser (shock collar same thing) Used on you,? did it make you want to continue whatever action was going on when you felt it? I DO NOT HATE DOG HUNTERS or DOG HUNTING what has evolved into Dog Hunting in the Dog Hunting area of Blackwater Forest sooner or later will result in violence , injury or Death . An incident about night hunting legally resulted in someone being shot.in the back resulting in injury. When weapons , trespass ,people’s rights, sometimes alcohol, passionate people (everybody) are combined , It’s going to happen . THAT IS A NO DUH , OR A YA THINK equation. Think People , maybe the solution is selected area w/ an honest lottery for a permit to dog hunt it! I have personally had game officials along to ensure ya minded ya Ps N Qs on dog hunts was still super fun they have a FOX AREA only why not a Dog Hunting Area only, Personally I’d like a BOW HUNTING AREA only . and I don’t have the solution to this.I started going dog hunting in the late ’50s in Blackwater , Used to be everybody that hunted ATE the MEAT it was about the MEAT but NOW its about the TROPHY RACK. I find MULTIPLE carcasses of whole deer dumped in the same areas without being skinned or deer w/the backstrap cut off,EVERY YEAR Good Luck what ya think is the odds of a deer w/genes growing to 5-7 yrs in the Dog Hunting area of Blackwater

  11. sarge on October 13th, 2016 3:02 pm

    own property in BMA . trespasses have occurred every year since purchasing . some years worse than others .confrontations w/members of groups using dogs to run deer have happened every year ..A young gentle man standing inside MY FENCED and POSTED land told me ” You’re pretty brave for a man without a gun” I had just run his hunting partner off the back side of of my FENCED and POSTED property. Could tell you more incidents of trespass, Broken gates Broken fence posts fences bent over where entrance was made without my permission, evidence where deer was shot on my property being run by dogs. property was fenced long ago because of damage resulting from ,hunter and dog ,hunter,or dog trespass. I AM A LOCAL have kin from Creek Indian nation in AL., Esc. ,SR,.Okl. Leon Counties, 4 generations of my family have gone to school locally .Have daughters and wife that hunt, have run dogs in 4 different states . Dog hunters have harassed and blocked roads and or refused to move while cursing her on her way to and from work, we have been peppered numerous times w/”Buckshot” rifle rounds have buzzed above or heads and trees have been hit w/rifle rounds. Think , If someone came onto your property w/out permission that requires “written and notarized permission”(legally) threatened you while displaying a firearm, (had to have climbed a fence, for access ) how would you react if it only happened 1 time. much less every year for years. can’t catch every dog that crosses into my property, every year. can’t see or know about every time it happens. But, 1 time is enough how do I know hes not trying to steal or do me or my family harm , EVERY time I have confronted someone for trespassing or conversed w/ them about their on my property they became hostile EVERY time “MY PROPERTY” . Do you get it MY PROPERTY . WORKED HARD to OWN MY PROPERTY it is not yours to use because you want to my rights to say no to your actions on my property w/out permission should sacrosanct

  12. B. Phillips on October 13th, 2016 2:13 pm

    the place where the Davis fellow lives has been still hunting now on about 10 or 12 years, maybe more. It use to be dog hunt around him and was dog hunt long before he ever bought the land and move up there. He knew he was buying land in a dog hunt area and built a home knowing it was a dog hunt area but yet after he moved up there he started the whole thing about the dogs trespassing on private property and in doing so got some other folks that had bought land in a dog hunt area knowing it was a dog hunt area before they ever moved up there to join forces with him.So, that’s when the state made the land around him and some of the other complainties still hunt area and took it away from the dog hunters. He and his wife are guilty of firing weapons through the woods just because they knew there were still hunters hunting ,legally I might add, in the area. He has even tried and been successful at running people off the dirt road leading to his house, which by the way, is graded dirt road maintained by the state,which by the way anyone has a right to be on with in legal distance of his house. So corruption is over run by corruption…..the judge was probably a dog hunter hater too.

  13. mooneyes on October 13th, 2016 7:44 am

    Glad to know that the judge has ruled for the (PRIVATE Property OWNERS),IT IS TIME FOR ALL THE WRONG TO BE DONE RIGHT !!! Yes the dog hunter has for years been running over us all,drinking and driving is wrong speeding in wrong ,and telling private property owners that u have the fight to there property,is over,,RIGHT IS RIGHT,,AND WRONG IS WRONG,,,SO NOW LEARN TO LIVE WITH IS!!! Thank god no more DOG HUNTING,,,WE CAN LIVE IN PEACE!!!

  14. M in Bratt on October 12th, 2016 6:34 pm

    @Hunter and the rest of the dog hunters; It looks like the Judge has already resolved this problem, now it’s up to FWC, the Game Wardens and Sheriff’s Dept. to enforce the judge’s order. If I had to bet money, I’d bet that the FWC has a quick meeting and shuts down dog hunting in the Blackwater State Forest at least until they have had time to formulate a plan for compliance with the Court Order. Such a shut down of dog hunting would give the residents of the Forest a winter of peace, and maybe if dog hunting is ever allowed again, the hunters will respect the property rights of the owners, and have some respect for others that want to use the public roads and trails within the Blackwater State Forest

  15. Phillip on October 12th, 2016 5:57 pm

    @hunter

    The more you write, the less you make sense. It is in no way the responsibility of the Florida Forest Service to get involved in these types of situations. In fact, it would be highly unprofessional to get involved. Please educate yourself about the purpose of FFS.

    And to call them lazy shows how little you know.

  16. Hunter on October 12th, 2016 10:14 am

    The individuals living around that area find the complaints about dog hunters ridiculous. If the Forestry Service would get off their lazy butts and help the general public in positive ways this could have been solved a long time ago. As long as Forest Management continues to bow down to individuals like the complainers nothing is going to be resolved. It’s time for them to stand up for people that pays their salaries. You can go on Florida’s Right To Know website and see exactly how much we are paying them to stand up for the general public.

  17. Mike on October 12th, 2016 9:03 am

    Private property rights should always prevail. It is a 3rd degree felony (Florida Statute 810.09 C) in the State of Florida to Trespass on Private property with a firearm. It is also a felony to fire a weapon across private property. If I find someone trespassing on my property; they get one warning to get off. After that; no more warnings.

    Only an idiot would try to intimidate a land owner by firing over their heads or at their house. How would I know if they are shooting over my head or just a bad shot? Point a weapon at someone and they might point one back and you and take you out.

  18. Tommy on October 11th, 2016 11:29 pm

    I haven’t dog hunted in years but i still hunt i was huntin behind the daws on Blackwater an she seen me an my hunting buddy going in a began to making as much noise as she could to make us stop hunting an we stayed in are trees well she was not happy about that so she came in the woods with one of her k- 9s an went straight up to my buddy while he was in the tree we called fwc filed a report against her but they did nothing about it told us to get video of her next time we went back the next morning an she started doing the same thing but this time she ran the deer straight to us we both took a deer that morning she was not happy at all the next day we went back the next after noon an she was waiting with a stick an a piece of tin an started banging on the tin we went right on in an my buddy got another deer we stopped hunting there because of her harassing us hunter harassment is against the law but she has a friend in the fwc an wont do anything to her an remember i still hunt i don’t run dogs so it’s not about dog hunting she dont want anyone hunt by her property i bow hunt she shot guns in to the woods while we was out there we had to hug the trees we was in to keep from getting shot so i will hunt there again but next time i will not call fwc I’m calling scso I’ve done told them about what she did and they told me to call them an get video an they will do something it has not one thing to do with dog hunting they just want to stop hunting all together an that is so wrong as hunters we must combine are moneys an get a team of attorneys to fight this

  19. MS_camper on October 11th, 2016 10:55 pm

    Rich city folks,

    Wrong Mr. Daws… and that’s far from the only statement in your post that is wrong. In fact, pretty much everything you said is false.

  20. J bird on October 11th, 2016 10:11 pm

    I think they need to just end hunting and fishing in Florida all together!!!! think I’m going to take up golf and start drinking!!

  21. Bushboy on October 11th, 2016 10:02 pm

    Dog hunting has been around for hundreds of customers years it is a way of life and if you want to take that way of life away from people I have no respect for you

  22. Rich city folks on October 11th, 2016 9:15 pm

    How many hunters have a Daws Better Built tool box. Guess who built it, Mr Daws.

    Maybe he should have retired to middle Mississippi and not the middle of the dog hunt area. So funny. Look out, because rich folks get what they want. Mr Daws has the money to fight a poor dog hunter. Loves to catch your dogs on forestry property and pen them on his so he can call in a complaint. No telling how many dog walk down the road and they call them over onto their property to file a complaint. Take your money and move to the beach. Get old and complain about sand between your toes. Maybe you could then have the beach paved also by forcing the county to cover up the sand.

  23. Beagle91 on October 11th, 2016 9:11 pm

    I agree with the dog hunter. If they stop one they should stop the other. Still hunting already has more days to hunt. They should have two separate seasons,one for stalk and one for dogs. To the land owners: don’t judge every dog hunter by a few bad apples.

  24. Joel. Wheeler on October 11th, 2016 7:41 pm

    I understand that their land they have right keep it to themself,but if they don’t want dogs on it they need to fence their properly. If I been the judge. Dog hunting been around.I thank a deer as better chance living be run. dogs than eating corn green field.

  25. CW on October 11th, 2016 7:38 pm

    @doghunter

    I have news for you, not everyone who thinks different than you do is a “city slicker”.

  26. Lucretia on October 11th, 2016 7:26 pm

    As a dog hunter who has enjoyed a lifetime of the sport, it saddens me to see the responses of some of these “dog hunters”. We aren’t all bad, but the attitude that some are showing gives us a bad reputation. I grew up dog hunting with my dad and now get to share it with my son. We have a pack of dogs that are all a part of our family. Nothing, and I mean nothing, gives me more satisfaction than seeing my dogs faces when they have accomplished what they were born to do. It’s a passion of mine. Spending time in the woods, making memories with my family is priceless. I only hope, that with the new rules this year, all dog hunters make the effort to be positive and considerate (whether we agree or disagree) so we can continue the sport we all love.

  27. anne on October 11th, 2016 6:58 pm

    If you need a dog to hunt deer, you do not know how to hunt deer.

  28. jeeperman on October 11th, 2016 6:45 pm

    Blackwater is a state owned area. Has nothing to do with a national forest.

    Some idiots do not know the difference nor where property lines are and do not care. Because since their family has hunted the area for 100 years, it is their in inherited right.

    FWC and the state are also complicit in this because when property within Blackwater comes up for sale, they do not buy it.

  29. Doghunter on October 11th, 2016 5:50 pm

    The problem is these stupid city slickers don’t know what dog hunting is its 100 times harder than still hunting and fun. My family has been doghunting for a long time and these land owners come by land in a dang national forest and stop everything! Idiots!

  30. David on October 11th, 2016 5:14 pm

    Two points:

    1. FWC has known for decades that deer dogs in Blackwater will cause trespass on the many ‘inholdings’ in the forest. They have chosen to continue allowing this practice anyway. What arrogance! This judge has held them to task for this abuse of property rights and requires them to stop it!

    2. The twisted rationalization that newcomers shouldn’t move out here knowing it is a dog hunt area is about as lame as a three legged hound. Many if not most of the property owners have lived with this abuse for years, some have lived with it all their lives. There is no justification for trespassing hounds. Blackwater is not and has never been a suitable area to contain dog hunting.

  31. Common rights on October 11th, 2016 3:40 pm

    If your cow gets on my land can I kill it?? If your cat gets on my land can I kill it?? If your horse gets on my land can I kill it?? Heck no!!!!! So for you people talking about killing a dog that’s doing what it’s job is you better think twice! Gps tells rite where it is every 5 secs. Hope I pray you don’t make that mistake ..

  32. Rayray on October 11th, 2016 2:50 pm

    So sad , folks in rural areas like up there always knew how to work out there problems amongst themselves, now it seems like there a lot of city folks moving in our rural areas that aren’t familiar with edict

  33. NMDH on October 11th, 2016 2:37 pm

    There are some ethical dog hunters that do right when hunting the BWMA. Unfortunately…There are the ones that do what they want to do..trespass, drink while hunting, drive like a maniac cutting dogs. It gives everyone that dog hunts a bad reputation. I’ve still and dog hunted the forest. I prefer to still hunt now because of the reckless behavior in the dog area. I blame the FWC for not ending this crap years ago..When they took a lot of their dog running land away it concentrated the problems that’s been there for years.

  34. william2 on October 11th, 2016 2:24 pm

    Basically same thing going on around here I’ve lived here all my life and yes I’m old I grew up riding horses, ATV and dirt bikes around the house which is blackwater ,now it is against the law for me to ride my ATV on blackwater the same property I pay taxes on and have all my life to be able to use and enjoy but now can’t, but the dog hunters seem to be able to use ATVs during a fox hunt, with a special permit , well how can I obtain one of these special permits, I’m told that’s just for dog hunters, Now I’m not against dog hunters be I am for EQUAL RIGHTS, ATV and motorcycle riders would like to use their ATVs or motorcycles on blackwater also . Issue permits for a fee and the signing of a Accident Waiver by the rider if they are caught being unsafe and districting state property , 1 offence Warning, 2nd Offence loose your riding privileged, the state could make a lot of revenue.

  35. A.Alex on October 11th, 2016 1:42 pm

    Re. Hunter

    Really, I am to put a 12 foot fence up to keep YOUR dog off my property. Dont see that happening, a 243 round is much cheaper and less unsightly. I can bury dead dogs faster than putting up the fence

  36. MS_camper on October 11th, 2016 1:29 pm

    Marsha,

    The difference is that railroad tracks and airports (and feedlots, dairy farms, pig farms, and sewer plants) are there 24/7/365. Dog-deer hunting isn’t. You buy property near railroad tracks, you don’t expect the railroad to run trains across your property, you buy property near an airport, you don’t expect the planes to land in your yard. You don’t expect the livestock to hang out on your property or sewage to be treated on it.

    The Daws have a “catch dog”? Seems that if that were the case, they’d have caught a lot more dogs than they have. The other landowners don’t have “catch dogs”. What about them?

    Perhaps dog hunters should purchase the land they want to run on, yes? The landowners purchased what was suitable for their use and what they could afford.

    BTW, you don’t get to trample on people’s property rights just because of how much money you spend. If you’re not spending it on gas, tires, dog food, etc., you’ll have it to spend on something else or save it for your kids/grandkids education or your retirement.

    Local hunter, the reason the Daws haven’t had trespass in the last two seasons isn’t because of the fence. There’s a post on the Blackwater dog hunter FB page from just after the lawsuit was filed telling fellow dogs hunters to stay away from the area and treat it as closed, which they apparently have done. I’ve seen a screen cap of that post. Unfortunately, that didn’t stop the trespass from happening on the other plaintiffs’ properties. If the dog-deer hunters had avoided the area all those years before the last two, that lawsuit would never have been filed.

    SEDH paid for and erected 2700 feet of fence (not 14,000, at least not in that location), and it’s not on the Daws property or even around it, it’s to the side of one boundary line. Daws paid for the fence around their property.

  37. MS_camper on October 11th, 2016 12:26 pm

    @hunter, some of the plaintiffs live on family land that has been in their family since before there was a Blackwater WMA. However, that doesn’t matter. Private property is private property, regardless of when you bought it or how much you own. The state does not have the right to enable others to use it.

    How can landowners be expected to know that entitled dog-deer hunters think it’s okay to hunt on someone’s private property? When we bought our property in MS, we thought surely that the dog-deer hunters would treat our property with respect once they realized that someone new owned it and would be using it. Silly us!

    As for putting up a 12′ fence, those aren’t legal in a lot of places and the reason people move to wildlife areas is so they can enjoy the wildlife, which means no high fences. How about YOU buying property so you can run your dogs on your own property instead of thinking it’s okay to run your dogs on someone else’s property?

    —–

    Tc, some of them have fences, built at great personal expense, still couldn’t keep the dogs off.

    —-

    Kudos to Mr. Daws and the other plaintiffs. They are laying the groundwork for those of us in other states, like MS and VA, to fight the same battle against trespassing deer dogs and their owners.

    To those of you who are dealing with this problem, the judge recognized that people other than the plaintiffs are being affected. Thoroughly document every dog trespass incident you have, keep thorough records, and report each and every incident to your state regulating agency. If you don’t report it, it didn’t happen. Get together with your neighbors.

  38. Old timer on October 11th, 2016 11:56 am

    It’s about respect. If a hunter truly wanted to take his canine companion and slip out in the wilderness to connect with God and nature and respect the land and the animals and give thanks for them providing their lives for his sustenance and family it would not be a problem. The ill behavior of obnoxious groups, getting away from the true reverence for this activity ruin it for all. If dog hunting is a rowdy bawdy loud activity, it is not what our forefathers deemed a sporting chance.

  39. Hunter on October 11th, 2016 11:50 am

    This property has had a fence around it for the past 3 yrs. No dogs have been on this property. Also no comment about how they harass hunters.

  40. Local hunter on October 11th, 2016 11:47 am

    Having an unpleasant experience with one or two hunters or groups does not justify labeling all of us as inconsiderate people. There are a lot of deer dog hunters that I know and have hunted with over the years that are outstanding people. PLEASE DO NOT GROUP ALL OF US IN THE SAME CATEGORY. It has been my experience that most of us are just carrying on a tradition that we enjoyed for years with our fathers, grandfathers and great-grandfathers. What I don’t agree with is, everyone seems to dwell on the negative but they never address the positive. Like, for instance, there has been 14,000 feet of fence put up behind the landowners property in cooperation with South Eastern Dog Hunters Association (SEDHA) and the FWC to keep peace with the land owner. This fence was put up by SEDHA members themselves. Again, what is not said is that, they landowners cut holes in the fence that is on state property and paid for with SEDA members money, so that the dogs have access to her property and gives her an excuse to complain to the FWC. SEDHA also cuts firewood for THE PROPERTY OWNERS in the Blackwater dog hunt areas, have regular trash pickups in Blackwater, Conecuh and Blue springs with the dog hunters spending their time hand picking up trash. SEDHA also sponsors multiple fund raisers each year for people in the community with needs. For the most part, all the dog hunters around the properties in question have made and continue to make a great effort to keep peace with landowners, but there are some people and groups that do nothing but cause trouble and feel they own the land…The law abiding hunters are beginning to take a stand and making the effort along with FWC to push these BAD groups away from that area.

  41. Dog owner on October 11th, 2016 11:34 am

    Well, the state has taken all dog hunting from the north end of the Escambia river swamp. The land has been taken from the Santa Rosa side of Escambia river all the way to Wallace lake Rd and lease to still hunting clubs… RMS done away from dog hunting on there property’s… Laforsta does not want dog hunting anymore on the lands so……. Where will you be able to dog hunt??? The are two kinds of hunting around here dog hunting and still hunting has been away of life around here for hundreds of years.. If you end one you need to end both!!!!!!! If the state don’t make a place for both then there’s always going to been a battle going on. Wish they would make all black water dog hunting in Munson area so dog hunters can spread out away from homes and still hunting can be south of hwy 4…

  42. Russ on October 11th, 2016 11:27 am

    @ Hunter: Sounds to me like you had your little feelings hurt because you actually have to abide by the law.

  43. Marsha F on October 11th, 2016 11:25 am

    I bought a house by the railroad tracks. Now, I’m filing a lawsuit against CSX. I bought property by the airport, but I don’t like the sound of planes. I moved to the beach, but I’m tired of the sound of waves.

    A few property owners have jumped on board with the Daws. Hundreds of property owners in Blackwater haven’t had a problem with dog hunting. While no one has a right to be on someone else’s property, it is equally as disrespectful and ignorant to group all dog hunters as displaying such behavior.

    The Daws’ had a conflict with a small group of hunters, with aggression being demonstrated from both sides. Local individuals and organizations attempted, numerous times unsuccessfully, to peacefully resolve the issue. Their goal is to eradicate dog hunting in Blackwater completely.

    There are two sides to every story. I have personally witnessed Mr. Daws stalking other hunters with his “catch” dog… hunters who were not on his property. Perhaps he should have purchased more land. He’s attempted to control his property, along with hundreds of acres around it.

    While we’re talking about those vile hunters, let us not forget the revenue generated by this multi-generation tradition. We’ve got approximately ten in our party. Everyone spends $100 on a sportsman license. We also drop a fortune on gas, mud tires, miscellaneous truck maintenance associated with the terrain, food, gear, etc.

    I’m sick of this never ending assault on hunters.

  44. Dennis on October 11th, 2016 11:24 am

    hunter, Keep your attitude and we will see!!!!!

  45. M in Bratt on October 11th, 2016 8:00 am

    My experience with deer hunters that use dogs is that they are the most inconsiderate people, both on the roads and in the woods. As you can see from hunter’s response, they think they are somehow entitled to the use of private land. They on the whole, have no respect for private property, and no respect for others on the roads when they are on the chase. The State needs to either put an end to dog deer hunters in The Blackwater Forest, or move to condemn and purchase the remaining properties that are surrounded by State lands.

  46. it's PRIVATE property... on October 11th, 2016 7:13 am

    This is PRIVATE property.

    End of discussion.

  47. 429SCJ on October 11th, 2016 7:02 am

    I sympathize with tax paying property owners, but implore that they not set treble hooks or shoot dogs.

    These hunting clubs contain a menagerie of characters, some educated professionals, other members may have difficulty reading these comments. The things that they have in common are a love of dog hunting and a dangerous attitude when too much alcohol is consumed.

    I would advise that property owners contact FWC, as opposed to engaging hunters directly.

  48. molino jim on October 11th, 2016 6:47 am

    As far not wanting hunters on your property it sounds good. I have a neighbor who had s “great sportsman” drive his 4 wheel drive truck into his front yard chasing a deer being chased by dogs. Every one should be able to enjoy their own private property they have bought and paid for with out having to put up a 12 foot fence. Each year property owners have live stock shot and fences torn down. Each year we have to pull down deer stands that are on posted property. I ask two young fellows I found on the rear of my property why didn’t ask permission to hunt where whey were— their answer was this is just woods so we don’t need to. And yes I keep a gun on me when I ask people to get off of our posted property. Night shooting goes on in our area to add to the problem. Join a hunt club or buy some property of your own.

  49. jeeperman on October 11th, 2016 6:45 am

    All you chest thumping hunters that say dog deer hunting will continue no matter what………..good luck with that mind set.

    You and your like minded buddies will force the FWC to abolish the practice completely.

  50. Tc on October 11th, 2016 6:38 am

    How about using the money invested on legal expenses & build a fence ! Hunters have rights too!

  51. Matt on October 11th, 2016 6:00 am

    They’re not wanting to stop people from running dogs. They just don’t want them on their property. If it were your property you wouldn’t want people constantly coming through there driving their vehicles and shooting. Not to mention being threatened by people who are trespassing. If it were my property and someone threatened me on my land they need not expect to leave it on their feet. Hunters aren’t the only people out there with guns.

  52. MargieLu on October 11th, 2016 5:30 am

    As legitimate purchasers of private property rightfully enjoy their land, anyone (including hunters, hikers, campers, etc) who have been lawfully or unlawfully accessing the private property must stop acting as if they have any rights to use that property. It was never their property to use in the first place, and no government agency (including FWC) has the right to abridge the owners’ rights to his own property.

    Here’s a news flash folks: Just because you’ve done it for years, doesn’t give you a right to keep doing it. If this was your land, you’d be squawking to an attorney and y’all know it. Just because the FWC was wrong by allowing dog hunters to roam private property does not give them any right to continue ignoring the rights of enjoyment by the private land owners. It’s about time government entities began to realize and respect property owners’ rights.

    Hurrah for Mr Daws and his fellow property owners for standing firm for their right to enjoy their private property. I hope and pray their constitutional rights are upheld in all courts, both state and federal.

  53. hunter on October 11th, 2016 1:52 am

    Bunch of bs you move into a state Forest knowing there is deer dog hunting going on in that section of the forest but yet you mover there then complain about it I have hunted in blackwater since I was a little kid and this has turned into a bunch of bull if you want to enjoy “your” property then put up a 12 foot tall fence and put some head phones on cause dog hunting isn’t going anywhere

  54. mike on October 11th, 2016 1:38 am

    Why not just outlaw hunting in that area altogether? That way the lawyers have nothing to fight over & charge their hourly rates. This will be okay for hunters, as there is more land elsewhere they can hunt on.

    As more people from the cities migrate out to rural areas, the “country” type people may be pushed out as the land is bought up. A homeowners association type of organization could come into play, the houses would just be a bit further apart,

    It is interesting, the increasing distance required out into the remote areas you have to go to avoid human conflict nowadays. Remember not to leave a rut in the land when you are visiting any remote area, as that is now illegal. :)

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Source : http://www.northescambia.com/2016/10/judge-fwc-must-keep-deer-dog-hunters-off-private-property

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