Stone County landowners say hunters are trespassing on their rights

By Doug Walker – bio | email

STONE COUNTY, MS  (WLOX) - C.T. Switzer and his wife Patty live on several serene acres in south Stone County, serene that is until the sound of gunfire cracks through the air.  They say deer hunters and their dogs are destroying their peace of mind.  They can even see the hunters through the windows of their well kept home.

Switzer says it's another accident waiting to happen, just like last week's accident in which two horse riders were shot.  He tells WLOX News. "We've had the horse accident but we also have problems as landowners with them running dogs across our property and sitting out in front of our property in trucks and actually, they say they're not hunting but they're lined up every hundred yards apart on the road waiting for the dogs and the deer to come through."

The Switzer's and their neighbors gathered today, talking about the problem and comparing photos they have taken, even meeting with a conservation officer.  Switzer even home video clearly showing a hunter on the side of the road, carrying a shotgun.  He remembers a very close call involving a family member several months ago. "The guy cut through the woods on our property and actually shot the deer on our property and we caught him and he was ticketed for trespassing."  Switzer added, "It was close enough to my son that my son hit the deck scared he was fixing to get shot."

A mile up the road, Kevin and Peggy Cuervo are planning on building a home on their property. They have posted signs, even installed video cameras on the trees to catch the trespassers, but they still come.  Cuervo believes things would change if lawmakers had to live in fear like they do.  She says "I don't believe that people who are regulating the forest would live here and would tolerate it, if they did, they would move or change it."

Even though the roads through the property are public, the land itself is not and Stone County property owners say that until the laws are enforced, the problems, and their fears will continue.

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