We recently bought a 60 acre property. It’s predominately wooded with trails throughout, and we have intentions of clearing a few acres for a barn/fields while leaving most of it natural.
The issue is that the property is surrounded by small (1/2 acre) properties on two sides and on the other two sides it has large tracts of land, some without residences. All told there are approximately 20 neighboring properties. It’s kind of a ‘unicorn’ location, close to town yet a large hunk that butts up against some other large tracts and near family and friends. It’s also absolutely stunning.
We put up trail cams to enjoy the wildlife and see what’s around before we move there, and a family member has been checking the cameras every few days as well as walking and snowshoeing the trails. So far we’ve seen deer, coyotes, many squirrels, rabbits, and a massive Fischer cat.
My family and husband hiked the property this winter and noticed snowshoe trails coming from one of the houses. The individual from that property had hiked clear across our property before turning back. We looked up the owner and they appear to hold a position in/related to the DNR with regards to fire safety.
This last week, we caught two dogs chasing deer on the trail cams. We caught them on multiple cameras over a timespan of 2 hours. Then on Sunday we saw our tracks from the day before had been covered by dog tracks, and we saw a person walking their dog on the trail cams just after we left the property to go eat an early afternoon Easter dinner.
I feel uncomfortable with people just wandering the property, particularly after we get horses there, and so a priority is to refresh the no-tresspassing signs. I also want to check with the previous owners to make sure a neighbor hadn’t been given permission to hike the property. If they have, it’ll be time for a discussion. On one hand, I want people to enjoy the land, but on the other, I don’t want people disturbing the horses, feeding, petting, etc.
But how do you handle the roaming dogs? Domestic dogs worry me far more than the coyotes I’ve seen.
In our area, “SSS” is really and truly a recommendation, but I don’t feel comfortable with that. It’s not the dogs’ fault the owner won’t keep them on the property, and any future dogs they would get would pose the same potential problem. I’m concerned about my horses/ponies safety with regards to dogs that will chase deer.
In full disclosure, we have a GSD that will 100% chase deer if allowed and can’t be left unattended by the horses or ponies because she hassles them, and we reprimand her for it, so I can’t be mad at a dog for following their instincts. THAT SAID, I also don’t want to deal with injuries/death from roaming dogs.
Legally, in our state, you cannot shoot dogs for chasing deer, but you can if they threaten you, your pets, or your livestock. I would have no issue dispatching a dog that was attacking our horses, but I don’t want it to get to that point.
Hopefully this makes sense, while I was typing this post, my husband sent me a video of the small area he’s clearing for the barn and at the end someone had driven up and was screaming “that’s f****** stupid” before the video cut out, so I’m a little distracted.