Wounded Deer Runs Onto Next Property: What Should You Do?

Mike: Last year my buddy shot a 6-pointer that ran onto the next property and died. He went and got it and started dragging it back (not gutted). Two guys came running and screaming down through the woods. Told him to get the hell off their land, and that they were going to keep the deer. They were hunting, and one had a gun. They argued for 10 minutes and it almost came to blows. But finally they told my buddy to go ahead. They watched him cross back over with the buck before they left. What do you think about this? I guess we should have asked permission to go get the deer, but it wasn't far. Those guys were jerks.--Tony in Kentucky

Hey Tony, the world is full of jerks. I am not excusing their attitude, but your buddy was wrong here. You never cross a property line after a deer, not even if it's mortally wounded 50 yards away. Could you get away with it? Probably, but don't take the chance. By law you need to call or find the property owner and get permission to enter the land. If you can't get in touch with the owner, call the game warden. If he can't run down the landowner, he might go get the deer for you.

Most of the time a landowner will give you permission to go look for your deer...but like you said, some people (anti-hunters) are jerks. Some hunters on a neighboring property can be difficult too, though they ought to understand the situation and act better.

FYI, those guys were not entitled to your buddy's dead deer.

Luckily I have never had this headache. Have any of you? What did you do? comment




TD Howard's Gravatar That is one of the most asked questions in our hunter education classes.
Hanback speaks the truth!
Permission is required for anyone under most any circumstances, to set foot on the property of another.
Just because the deer you shot runs onto another's property doesn't give you any further legal rights to go on the property without the landowner's permission.

The Two jerks were in the wrong too! they had no legal claim to any deer that they did not take legally. This even applies to road killed deer, or dead finds on your own property.

The rub for most hunters is that this is simply a waste, and it goes against our grain to waste a perfectly good deer.

The advice given is good, call a law enforcement officer, they Might be able to round up the owner, or get the owner to be a bit more flexible, but even then the landowner may still refuse and without probable cause of a crime, even the officer can't go get the deer.
# Posted By TD Howard | 9/23/09 2:17 PM
hanback's Gravatar TD, cool, didn't think of the hunter ed angle, but this was timely w/season right around corner!
# Posted By hanback | 9/23/09 2:30 PM
jstreet's Gravatar We try to maintain good relationships w/neighbors of properties we hunt by taking them pies or adult beverages from time to time.
This way we can secure permission to retrieve deer and also find out roughly were our neighbors are hunting. It keeps peace and
the landowner who's land we hunt on appreciates the fact we are trying to keep the peace.

Doing this also can pay off in other ways too. We've secured new pieces of hunting property by doing this and we've also killed deer
the neighbors have pressured right to us.
# Posted By jstreet | 9/23/09 3:17 PM
ebrown's Gravatar Two very spot on posts.

I have been very fortunate enough to keep good relations with most all the neighbors of the properties I hunt. I can think of only two
occasions where my deer has crossed property lines. A simple phone call or a knock on a door is all it took, but I do understand you will
come across a few individuals with an attitudes from time to time.

From the other side of the fence, I doubt I would be real happy seeing someone dragging a deer off my property that I had know idea was
there. I certinally would have alowed who ever to retreive a deer on my property but I would explain to them that they need to ask first.
for entry on to my land.
# Posted By ebrown | 9/23/09 3:33 PM
Flatlander's Gravatar this happens all the time around me..........so many 10 acre parcels.....
i have lost 3-4 deer to one land owner in 15 years.......
they hunt (poach or whatever they call it) but won't allow anyone to get deer on their land
and Game Warden can't make them........ if they touch or move that deer then get them on tape
turn it over to authorities

if i simply remove myself from situations like this then there is no place in our county to hunt, its very prevelant
but i am a hunter and quiting isn't an option

sadly these folks have cattle and when the cattle get lose, they go on neighbors property without asking to get their cows........

i foresee the day to come when a cow comes by my stand......... tuff decision:)
i do like beef though and 4 deer is about worth one small cow :) lol

i think this is as big of a moral question as legal.........
to me wasting deer is very wrong, i would at least ask to go get it, but what to do in a stalemate.......
i guess the crows get the deer......... SAD
# Posted By Flatlander | 9/23/09 3:51 PM
Eric Williams's Gravatar Depends on who the adjoiner is as to what my decision would be. Some people don't really need to know, just being honest.
If you want to lose a buck of a lifetime that crosses a fence and drops dead, that is your decision.
# Posted By Eric Williams | 9/23/09 4:33 PM
pappa necbone's Gravatar This is a tough subject. I have heard of this happening before and shake my head. The person that won't let you retrieve your deer when it was clearly shot on the property you where hunting is not a deer hunter or a sportsman of any sort. I am fortunate enough that all of the people around our property are friends and no one has a problem if we track a deer ontp their property, we just wait until mid-day when they or having a cold one back at camp and try and get out of their way before they head back to the stand. I have been in the stand hunting and one of my neighbors came up looking for blood, I got out of the tree and helped him track. That's the way it's done!!!
# Posted By pappa necbone | 9/23/09 4:52 PM
Silverback's Gravatar IF you are faced with this situation and CHOSE not to ask, ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS, wait till dark. Maybe even the middle of the night. Just a helpful hint.
# Posted By Silverback | 9/23/09 4:52 PM
Silverback's Gravatar By the way, I live in New Jersey nand we (hunters) are not welcome here, so sometimes I have to get creative.
# Posted By Silverback | 9/23/09 5:09 PM
PA Archer's Gravatar I'll add a little different ethical spin to my story. Was hunting with my brother and his father-in-law several years back. The father-in-law
mortally wounded a 130 class 8-point roughly 80 yards from the property line. The buck dropped dead just on the opposite side of the line.
No further shots were taken. By the time, my brother climbed down from the opposite end of the 300 acre parcel ,made his way over to
recover said deer, found and followed the blood trail, 2 guys from the adjoining property had a tag on it , had it gutted and in the back
of an F150. One guy even admitted that he was sitting on the ground having a smoke ,and this nice buck stumbled up and fell down dead at his feet.
Didn't matter (to them) that it was the father-in-law's trophy of a lifetime. It dropped dead on his land and he was claiming it as his own.
Typically, the law says that the deer belongs to the killing shot , but I learned that day that it's one thing to talk about ethics and all, and quite another to prove it in the cold November woods with everybody armed and REALLY REALLY cranked up. I think my brother ultimately made the smart move by backing off before it came to blows (it was pretty close though). In the end it was just a deer but my heart just broke for this guy.He had hunted 40 years and never even came close to killing anything of that caliber until that day and some low-life scumbag pulled a stunt like that.
I refuse to call those guys hunters. Any HUNTER worth his salt claps the shooter on the back and
says "Congrats" , not "Too Bad , I tagged it , it's mine"

To this day , I sneak over and pee under their treestands every chance I get :)
# Posted By PA Archer | 9/23/09 5:35 PM
Tom's Gravatar I bought a 137 acre parcel in Northern Wi. four years ago. It was bordered by at least 10 parcels with owners I never met. No line fences or roads served as boundaries for the property. I went to the county surveyor's office who had aerial photographs of the area and could super impose the property boundaries on the pictures. I wrote a introductory letter to my new neighbors, telling who I was and the purpose for me buying the property. I told them that it was to be used primarily for hunting by my family and that I would not be letting other hunters in there. I also pledged to honor their property boundaries. I did ask if we had a wounded deer could we go onto their property to track it and retrieve it. I also gave them all permission to do the same on my property. I hand delivered the letter and aerial photograph to all of them. I made a bunch of friends and was given permission by some that don't allow any hunting and some that have the reputation of being tough with tresspassers. I really think that the best policy is asking up front and make friends with the neighbors, before you wound a deer and have to make the decision--Should I or should I not cross that property line.
# Posted By Tom | 9/23/09 9:58 PM
Rodger's Gravatar Good topic. Never had it happen to me. However, we have gentlemen's agreements with the land owners around us to recover deer on their land.
# Posted By Rodger | 9/24/09 1:05 PM