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The C.A.S.H. Courier

ARTICLE from the Fall 2010 Issue

Hunters And Game Agencies Make Life Hell For Property Owners!

By Kathy Andrews

When people ask me what it's like to live in rural South Carolina, I tell them it's like living in Beirut. I wake up and go to sleep to the sounds of gunshots and hunting dogs.
I feed my animals after dawn, around lunch time, and before sunset because that's the time when hunters are less likely to shoot their high powered weapons on my property. Some of my nearby neighbors leave home during hunting season just to get away from the reckless hunters who roam their land day and night with guns and dogs. The psychological stress of living with constant gunshots, the noise of dogs after prey, and men in trucks with confederate flags stuck to their windshield, is psychologically debilitating to say the least.

I moved to South Carolina during the sniper event in Washington, DC. Trust me, I would rather deal with the DC sniper any day instead of the deep-seated hunting culture in South Carolina, which is filled with a lack of respect for people and animals, hatred, and bigotry. It is a culture where there is a sense of pride in killing animals and trespassing on another's land. If the victim complains or calls authorities, the victim is considered unpatriotic, and in the case of women who complain, irrational. I've been told that city folk ought not to live in the country, although I was born and raised in the home I now live in, a home that has been in my family for over a century. It is a home I am now considering selling. A prominent physician and property owner sold his land after threats to his family by hunters. He said it was the only way to get any peace. Though he sold, he is bitter that his dream of living in the country will never be a reality.

I am not alone in my plight to maintain my sanity and stay out of danger. Across the country, landowners, particularly women, are threatened by hunters and arrested if they complain or even go about their daily lives for fear of disturbing hunters. One landowner, Terri Mackenzie, was arrested for cutting firewood on her property. It disturbed a hunter and she was arrested for hunter harassment. Another landowner, Jan Haagensen, was arrested for asking hunters to leave the side of the road near her property for fear they would shoot and kill her beloved horses. I was arrested for taking a dog collar off of a hunting dog on my land to identify the hunter as I was told to do by the local Sheriff's Dept. The abuse at the hands of hunters is unending. As one psychologist told me, this is the type of psychological stress that often leads to suicide or homicide because you never know when it's coming, when it will stop, or how to prevent it. It is never-ending.

Even though hunters make up less than 5 percent of the population, they are a powerful force with money from license fees that support game agencies. They also have the support of the powerful National Rifle Association. First Amendment Rights, property rights and the rights of human beings to live in a peaceful and safe environment are put on the back burner.
Post-traumatic stress, the same stress that veterans experience when they return home, is a part of our lives. Unfortunately, non-hunters receive no publicity or attention from the medical profession about their plight. Veterans at least have the government's help and the sympathy of the public.

What is emotional and psychological trauma? The kind of trauma caused by hunters is the result of extraordinarily stressful events that shatter your sense of security, making you feel helpless and vulnerable in a dangerous world filled with high-powered rifles and the relentless noise of hunting dogs. Hunters threaten the life and safety of citizens, leaving us feeling overwhelmed and alone. The more frightened and helpless we feel, the more traumatized we are. Hunting and trespassing on private property happens unexpectedly. We are unprepared for it. We feel powerless to prevent it, and it happens repeatedly. It is oftentimes intentional cruelty inflicted on those who complain. This happens repeatedly with no end or way to stop it since the authorities are not on our side. It is relentless stress, the same as living in a crime-ridden neighborhood in the inner city or struggling with cancer.

Those of us who deal with hunters on an ongoing basis, who have tried the court system (which is littered with Judges who are hunters themselves, and/or are sympathetic to hunters), sometimes put up fences, get restraining orders, and try everything to stop this madness, but we are reaching the boiling point.

We need federal intervention to stop this unending cruelty towards private landowners, and some of us need medical help to contend with this until we can get legal relief.
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Kathy Andrews owns 600 acres in rural South Carolina. Her story speaks for itself!
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