An Open Letter to Hunters (from a Rancher)

Dear Deer Hunter,

This year during white tail deer hunting season here in Saskatchewan, I encourage you to re-think some of your past ways. As the owner operator of a large cattle ranch, I want you to realize that your actions have direct consequences for us. Every year, we dread the upcoming hunting season, which is so unfortunate because it doesn’t have to be this way. 

Every single year we have fences run over, gates left open, fences deliberately cut, cattle on the loose, and cattle riled up because of bullets whizzing around them. Not to mention, human lives put at risk.  Again, it doesn’t have to be this way. 

We are in no way against hunting. We understand, perhaps better than anyone, the importance of population control of our wildlife. We have hundreds and hundreds of deer eating at our feed yard over the winter. Trust me, we would much rather those deer be in your deep freeze. Although not hunters ourselves, we understand the sportsmanship of the hunt, but unfortunately a large number of your group are ruining it for all of you. 

Sitting on my front porch drinking coffee means hearing shots fired much too close for comfort. I don’t dare let my kids play in the pasture and I honestly fear for the safety of my husband and hired men as they are out fixing the fence that another hunter drove through the day before. This is no war-torn country, but we need to wear hunters orange to avoid getting shot on our own land. 

I understand that the laws in Saskatchewan protect your right to enter my land to shoot at will, but when does human common courtesy come in? Do you need to post a sign on your lawn asking me not to spin donuts on it? Or asking please don’t chop a hole through my front door so my dog runs away? We spend countless hours every year rounding up loose cattle solely because it was easier for you to drive through my fence than get out of your truck and WALK to shoot that deer. Did you know that when you leave a gate open, it means there is no electricity on the rest of that fence for miles and miles?

The thing is this – it is so easily rectified. There is such a simple solution.  Ask. Ask before you enter my land. Ask where it’s okay to hunt or not. Ask, and I will even tell you where I saw the biggest buck, or where the deer herd has been hanging out. Don’t know who to ask? There is a simple solution for that too!! For a very low price, every RM has maps that show you who owns each piece of land. Easy! If all else fails, stop in at a yard. Most of us can tell you who owns which land, and how to get ahold of them. For all the time and money you put into hunting, surely this is not too much to ask. For those that already do this, thank you! It is both noticed and appreciated. 

I know that our acres and acres of grassland looks like empty “nature” to you urbanites, but in reality, my husband may be just behind that bush fixing fence or treating a sick calf. My livelihood is likely just behind that bluff of trees. Do you use your paycheque as target practice? Or your pet dog for that matter?  

So many ranchers grumble and moan about how much they hate hunters, and the saddest part is that it doesn’t have to be this way. I won’t go into your house without asking. Offer me the same courtesy. 


Adrienne Ivey, Rancher  

Update: Since writing this post, we have posted all of our land as No Hunting. We hoped that this would solve the problem, but it has not. It has slowed the hunting traffic somewhat, but it is as dangerous as ever to care for our cattle. Last year, my husband was caught fixing fence in a bush out in the middle of our posted land, and hunters drove through the fence (past the No Hunting sign), and were shooting blindly into the bush in his vacinity. THIS MUST STOP. 

14 thoughts on “An Open Letter to Hunters (from a Rancher)

  1. As a land owner AND hunter, I’m always appalled at the behavior of deer hunters each fall. They come to the country once or twice a year and think they have the right to go wherever and do whatever they please. We would like to enjoy deer season, but dread it also.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I am an avid hunter and a landowner and I see the same thing every year and I am getting very tired of it.
    It seems whitetail season is the worst. This past sunday I found two hunters shooting within 500 m of our house. They then entered the property to look for their deer. I was in the yard watching. When confronted they said we shot away from the yard not at it. When I asked why they were in my farm they said they were retrieving their game and didn’t have to.I told them they were shooting within 500 m of occupied building and all they kept saying was they shot away from the yard not at it. I asked their names and where they were from they wouldn’t tell me. The one then accused me of driving around his yard all the time. He also said I knew who he was. I never seen these guys in my life! I asked again and still no names. I said ok lets call the conservation officers. I then I got some names. These guys were both in their late 50s early 60s and I said you guys should know better than that. I told them I have three children under the age of 6 and they quite often are playing in the yard and I don’t appreciate strangers shooting within 500m because of that.I then told them to load there deer and leave.That is the censored version without the 100 F bombs I dropped while screaming at them at times due to their ignorance!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I believe the laws here should be changed. Right now if your land isn’t posted and a hunter purchases a Saskatchewan hunting licence that gives them the right to enter your land unless it is within 500 m of occupied building. If you don’t have a licence it is trespassing. In Manitoba you need permission before entering property you do not own. I would like to see the same thing here. After this incident, I believe I will be writing to Sask Environment, SARM, and my MLA to see what can be done to start an initiative to get these laws changed.
    This is not about stopping guys from hunting. Its about my rights as a landowner,This past season I gave permission to 15 hunters who hunted on 3360 acres of owned property. I took them to where the game was and made them aware of occupied buildings and posted land in the area.They were happy to be hunting and I was happy because I knew who was on my land. A win win situation.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Good morning to all,
    Lots of good conversation here. I don’t big game hunt, I waterfowl hunt with decoys. I never have entered anyone’s land without the consent of the landowner or the person renting or leasing the land. I purchase R.M. maps to be able to help locate the owners or renters of land that I would like to enter.
    A few times every year I have very challenging times trying to get a phone number or home location for owners of land.

    Trying to be respectful and not enter anyone’s land is a exhausting sometimes. Last weekend we drove to 2 different locations (home 1/4s) phoned 6 different people that owned land near the 1/4 section that we wanted to hunt. Left 3 different voice mails and text to different people and were on the hour drive home without a place to hunt the next day.
    Fortunately we got a response from the land owner and we were granted permission to hunt.
    My point to what I have stated, is it is not easy to get permission to hunt, and sometimes it is. Even though it is not easy I still hunt each year, and am very grateful to access the land to hunt on it.

    I never have the right to hunt on anyone’s land without permission no matter what the law in SK says.
    My point to all of this is the fact that gaining permission for access is not a easy thing all of the time.
    Hunting and entering land that is privately owned is privilege period.
    Reg Aupperle

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Many, many hunters like me are just as frustrated. We see the consequences, with more and more land being posted.

    We do call the conservation officers when we see asshats damaging property or breaking other laws and regulations.

    We do call the RCMP when we see non-hunting violations.

    We support our Wildlife Federation’s education efforts.

    We respect YOUR property, and are grateful for your forebearance in allowing us to hunt there.

    And we do ask permission.

    We see the same things you do. We close those open gates. We don’t drive on your winter wheat, or cause ruts in your fields.

    We want to work with you to resolve these issues. We want to be able to hunt, on land owned by people we have met and know.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Adrienne I commented on your letter which my brother in-law posted,I was not aware you did not need permission to hunt in Sask.We live in AB and have hunted here for thirty four years;always with permission from farmers or ranchers. One rancher would leave a message to come in and have a bite to eat before driving home (25-30 min.away)after the hunt,one year we got skunked,but were sent home with four shopping bags of beef! We live further south now and tho the location has changed the attitude of our host farmer/rancher has not as we celebrate 25 years hunting here on four different properties. We are sorry you have had to put up with such uncaring,ignorant people.Our thoughts are with you,be safe!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. My Dad is a hunter. He always carries the tools to fix a fencs, in the offf chance he or one of his group hits a wire and it breaks, or they come across a damaged fence. It is so not right what others do in the name of sport and fun. Respect the land owners and livestock in your chosen area.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I could be wrong but I thought a Sask hunting license does not give you ANY RIGHT to enter private land without permission. I believe that you could still have someone charged for trespassing by calling the RCMP…still a major hassle for a landowner. I usually make a list of 10-12 people to call for permission and start calling in August so that I know where my area will be. I own land and treat others as I’d treat my own it’s not that hard to be respectful. My uncle had a couple cows shot years ago and didn’t let a hunter in for about 15 years, too many people have forgotten that hunting is a privilege that we must not abuse.


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