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CASH Courier > 2007 Fall Issue

Selected Articles from our newsletter

The C.A.S.H. Courier

ARTICLE from the Summer 2007 Issue

HOME INVASION BY HUNTERS
HELP CA.S.H. START A LEGAL FUND
TO STOP IT!

Michael Moore thinks firearms are okay if they’re directed at animals, Pledge No. 9 on his website proclaims: “We will not take away your hunting guns.” We implore Michael to take a closer look at the subject and make TERRORISTIC HOME INVASION his next important documentary.

HUNTERS RULE! That slogan might as well emblazon all woods access points, regardless of whether they are privately owned. Gun toting bands of trespassers bully their way through the woods, running radio-collared dogs at all hours of the night and day, and individual lurkers lie in wait.

We’ve been contacted by many landowners who have tried to keep hunters off of their property. Instead, they have had the law turned against them by complicit law enforcement officers. Some landowners are even charged with hunter harassment or other crimes.

Here are just a few examples of homeowners who have been victimized by hunters and then again by the law enforcement agents who were called to help them. The cases below are just a few examples of how property owners are being intimidated.

Case 1:

The following email was sent by a woman who wishes to remain anonymous

“For the last five years we have had problems with hunters.  They are allowed to hunt on a neighboring property that is only 200 ft wide.  These men come every year and position themselves on or about our property line.  They get on ladders or in tree stands and face our property, hunting our field. 

The definition of hunting in our state encompasses tracking and pursuing, which is occurring on my property, even if the hunter is physically standing on the neighbor’s property.  To make a long story short, we have found shot gun shells on our property, and we have had dogs with orange vests encircle our entire property (it is illegal to hunt with dogs in our state). 

When we call the police, they tell us it’s a game warden issue.  When we call the game warden, they tell us unless we physically catch someone or catch the dog, there is nothing they can do.  We started playing a radio on our property during hunting season and making noise to safeguard the property.  These men are hunting less than 200 feet from residential structures.  They cut a narrow hole into a fence and they shoot the deer as they come through.  This is not hunting.  This is poaching to me. 

On the first day of hunting season this year, the police were at my house as I was pulling out to leave for work.  They told me I would have to turn my radio down.  I asked “Why?” There is no noise ordinance in our township.” He told me that my neighbors were complaining.  I told him that my neighbors were not complaining; because all my neighbors have the same issue that I do with these gentlemen (I use the term loosely) and all my neighbors know why I play the radio and support my reasons for doing so. 

He told me that if he could hear the music at the road, I could be charged with disorderly conduct.  I told him I would gladly drive to the road with him (my driveway is 1/4 mile long).  We drove towards the end of the driveway.  I stopped about 400 feet short of the road.  I got out of my car and asked him if he could hear it.  He said “No.” I told him the hunter that complained does not live here, he’s just being allowed to hunt the neighbors’ property and he had to be nearly on my property to even come remotely close to hearing it.  He agreed and said he would talk to the hunter.  He did and the hunter left. 

Of course, they were back by that evening so we continued to stay outdoors as much as possible, refusing to change our habits or lifestyle to accommodate hunters that are intentionally trying to intimidate us.  Four months after this incident, a wildlife officer came to my home.  He told me he was investigating complaints about hunters.  He asked me if I had any trouble with hunters.  I told him yes, one had called the police on me for playing a radio.  He asked me if we had done anything else to discourage the hunters.  I told him we use an air horn and anything else to safeguard the property.  He gave me a ticket, stating that I had unlawfully deterred a path of a deer that was lawfully being hunted, even though, I saw no deer this year and even though I was on my own property.   I have had to pay an attorney $1000, so far to defend myself against these charges.”

Case 2:

THIS IS THE FIRST BROADCAST IN A SERIES TITLED, “TERRORISTIC HOME INVASION BY HUNTERS,” KATHY ANDREWS TELLS US THAT IN RURAL SOUTH CAROLINA, “HOME IS LIKE LIVING IN IRAQ”

Please visit our Media-Center at
http://www.all-creatures.org/cash/media-center.html.
Click on the link to the Recent C.A.S.H. Radio Interview With Kathryn Andrews.

Case 3:

DON’T MESS WITH ATTORNEYS: JAN HAAGENSEN, ESQ. CHALLENGES THE HUNTER HARASSMENT STATUTE IN PA!

In the past, we’ve written quite a lot about Jan Haagensen’s nightmare with home invasion by hunters with the complicity of the police. Jan is leading the fight to stop the hunter harassment statutes from being used against landowners who try to keep hunters off of their property. If she succeeds, it will diminish the freedom that hunters now enjoy and the support they receive from law enforcement officers and lower level courts.

These pervasive intimidation tactics have got to stop, but we need your help. Your dedicated contribution to C.A.S.H. for the legal fund will help Jan and others to win peace for themselves and wildlife.

JAN WRITES:

Since the late 1960’s, my parents, who had moved into a very rural area in Pennsylvania, were very active in seeking to protect all of their property from invasion by hunters. My parents, my brother and sister and I, all wanted to protect and create a sanctuary for the wild creatures sharing life with us in the country. But as soon as we said “No” to any and all forms of hunting, and made it clear that all killing and trapping was forbidden on our property, we became subjected to vicious and criminal kinds of harassment by local hunters, and by the local police (who were also hunters).

One of our barns was burned to the ground; gates and fence were destroyed over and over again; our “No Trespassing” signs were torn down as soon as we put them up; we received death threats on a regular basis. The local police did nothing to stop the destruction of our property, or to end the terroristic threatening, and trespassing. The Game Commission officers did absolutely nothing to stop the poaching, road-shooting, shooting at night, trespassing and firing into our front yard, and barns. They could never be reached when we needed help, and never identified or arrested the persons responsible for these crimes.

When my father, who had lost his sight, was dying, the hunters took advantage of his condition by trespassing right through our back yard; neither my blinded father nor my very frail mother could stop them. Both of my parents were deeply troubled by this criminal behavior, at a time when they were unable to protect their own home.

After my father’s death, my mother and I tried to make the state police respond to our complaints on the many occasions when we were invaded by hunters. Our neighbors let us know that hunters had buried high-powered rifle slugs in three walls of their home, on a Sunday afternoon (the one day hunting is supposed to be forbidden). Those rounds of live fire necessarily went right through our front yard; the state police never even informed us that such an incident had taken place.

On the day that my mother and I saw hunters on the side of a local road, preparing to fire into the road (traveled by a school bus) with high-powered rifles, I told the hunters that they couldn’t shoot from that position, and told them I was calling the police. When a state trooper finally showed up, even though the hunters admitted to trying to shoot from the side of a public road, I was the only person threatened with arrest.

I later caught an entire gang of armed trespassers on our property as they were getting ready to conduct an illegal sweep or “drive” through our property. After confronting them and telling them to get out, I was met by a state trooper and a game warden, who threatened to arrest me then and there for trespass. I was at all times on my own property, and the property of a neighbor who had very specifically given me permission to walk through his farm to reach mine, and come at the hunters from a safe direction.

I was ultimately charged with nine separate offenses, including two felonies (filing a false report), and several counts of “hunter harassment.” Local police who had themselves trespassed on our ground for years were the complaining witnesses; the other charges were framed against me by the state police.

I was convicted of the hunter harassment charges by a local magistrate, who said in open court that he would like to put me in jail because I “hated hunting.” I was convicted again, on a summary appeal, of five separate hunter harassment charges in the Court of Common Pleas. I spent four years clearing my name, and was forced to spend thousands in fines and costs. I had to hire a criminal lawyer to do trial and appellate work; the American Civil Liberties Union joined us on appeal in defense of my First Amendment rights. Thanks to their work, and the work of a superb criminal lawyer, I was successful. I was acquitted on ALL COUNTS.

Consequently, I am now preparing to file a civil rights action seeking damages against all complaining witnesses, including the local police, their municipal and city employers, the State Police, and the Game Commission. I also intend to challenge the constitutionality of the hunter harassment statute, both on its face and as applied to me. My federal constitutional First Amendment rights, as well as my Fourth Amendment guarantees of freedom from arbitrary seizures, were grossly violated by the government, in concert with local hunters.

Pennsylvania’s Commonwealth Court found that there was no evidence whatsoever to support the criminal charges that were brought against me by the government. The Court harshly criticized the conduct of the local police and judiciary in their appellate opinion, but did not address the issues which we had raised as to the constitutionality of the hunter harassment statute.

If I am successful, the hunter harassment statute will never again be used by the state to shackle legitimate protest as to the criminal invasion of private property, legally closed by rural landowners to hunting. I want to end any future use of the statute by the government to force landowners to accept the invasion of their property by armed intruders, who have a demonstrated interest in killing, and complete contempt for the safety and rights of other human beings and animals.

Case 4:

FAWN LEGS TWISTED OFF BODY AND LEFT IN HOMEOWNER’S DRIVEWAY

In June, Natalie Jarnstedt who heads Citizens for the Prohibition of Hunting in Greenwich had a letter published in the Greenwich Time, Greenwich, Connecticut’s local newspaper. The letter was critical of wildlife management and hunting. The same day the letter was published, Natalie found two legs that had been ripped out of a fawn and carefully placed on opposite sides of her driveway. Natalie took the legs to a local veterinarian and he confirmed that they had been twisted and ripped out of the body. We all pray that the fawn was not alive at the time, but suspect otherwise. Natalie has been outspoken against hunting for over 20 years. She said this is not the first time she has found body parts in her driveway. To date, the police have done nothing.

WHAT YOU CAN DO:
PLEASE MAKE AN ADDITIONAL
CONTRIBUTION TO
THE C.A.S.H. LEGAL FUND TODAY!

Home invasion by hunters with complicit law enforcement has got to stop for landowners and the wildlife that shares the land. Your dedicated contribution to the C.A.S.H. Legal Fund will help Jan to win peace and safety for wildlife as well. If you are making a dedicated contribution please indicate so on your check, or state the percentage of your donation that you wish to apply to the C.A.S.H. Legal Fund.

A successful outcome will encourage landowners to keep hunters off of their property and give them the proper protection from hunters that they should have had all along. Should law enforcement be indifferent or complicit, they will henceforth risk being themselves charged in criminal as well as civil actions.

THIS IS WAR!
WE BELIEVE THAT JAN HAAGENSEN, ESQ. CAN WIN
with your support!

Go on to What We've Been Up To...
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