From deer eating fruit crops to raccoons getting into garbage, geese fouling up nearby watering holes or animal troughs to foxes taking a bite out of a chicken or two, farmers aren’t exactly fond of wildlife pests trespassing on their land and harming their livelihood. As most hunters know, one of the most widely-used arguments for deer hunting—in addition to the prevention of animal-related car accidents—is that it helps to protect farmers and their crops from damages that collectively can represent quite an economic devastation to the farming industry as a whole.
But what do farmers do when all of the local hunting licensees aren’t doing much to defer property pests? Call in the cavalry.
At least that’s the answer floated by hunters and agricultural experts who support the idea of the hunting registry. Rather than waiting for hunting season to run its course and solve their pest problems, a hunting registry would give farmers a list of names – along with contact information – of bow and rifle-toting outdoorsmen who would be more than happy to spend an afternoon taking down animals (deer, bears, foxes, geese, etc.) on a private slab of property.
In theory, a farmer dealing with animal pests could call a hunter in the area and the hunter would come down and take care of the problem. Even if the hunter didn’t shoot every goose or deer plaguing the property, he or she would likely walk away with a few solid pieces of meat, and the rest of the animals nearby would be spooked enough to leave the farmer’s crops and animals alone for the foreseeable future. In other words, the ideal vision for hunting registries is a utopian situation where both parties, farmers and hunters alike, get something they want out of the agreement.
The question, of course, is whether or not farmers would know to use the hunter registry. There is little doubt that hunters would take advantage of the situation: after all, how many hunting season enthusiasts aren’t looking for more private property areas where they are welcome and invited to hunt? Even if a hunting registry wouldn’t open up long-lasting property opportunities for hunters, even getting to hunt a private piece of land for an afternoon – and to get away from the bustle of public spots – could bring a sharp-shooting hunter a fair stack of trophies.
Another question is how much trouble a hunter would have to go through to get their name and information on a hunter’s registry. Would every licensed hunter in a given region be placed on the registry, or would there be an extra licensing fee to get your name on a farmer’s call list? And would hunters have to go through any sort of background check to be cleared for the registry? After all, any system that involves phoning strangers with guns to come shoot things on your property would probably raise questions of safety and security, especially for unarmed farmers. And as much as most hunters would enjoy an afternoon of private property shooting, most of us don’t want to have to jump through more hoops than we already do for hunting season.
What do you think? Would a hunter registry work in your area? Are there even any drawbacks?