Perception, how do we look?

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Wildgoose

Full Member
May 15, 2012
459
152
Middlesex
So let's see now. I'm a farmer who stumbles upon a couple of suspicious characters in a field at night , Livestock has been rustled in the vicinity & these two individuals have a van & a couple of herding dogs ( I know the farmer probably didn't know about the dogs but I would have known & I would also be able to tell you if they were Malinois, Tervuren or Groenendael :rolleyes:) These 2 indivduals also appear to be scouting the area equiped with a night vision instument claiming to be star gazers.
I guess I'd invite them back to the farm for a cup of tea & a slice of Victoria sponge cake & we could have a good natter about dogs & stars & our position in the universe.
The tea would have been nice, it was freezing!

I agree with all of the points raised above and have no issue with the encounter at all. If he’d wanted ID or anything I’d have provided it as we were doing nothing wrong.

Remember:
1. We were safely parked off the road in a taxed, insured, registered private vehicle
2. We have crossed no fence or marked boundary
3. There’s no trespass in Scotland, we are conducting a legal pastime
4. We were not, or did not intend to commit any offence

But I agree that the situation looked suspicious and certainly warranted the further investigation the farmer took.

Had the farmer had been a police officer I’d have expected a search (if permitted under Scots law)

I guess my point is that nobody has an issue with the farmers actions and it feels to me that everyone is on his side, that it was down to me to demonstrate my intent.
 
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Tengu

Full Member
Jan 10, 2006
11,301
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Wiltshire
There are, unfortunately, many people who think they can do what they like in the countryside.

Many of them, even more unfortunately, seem to believe they have the right to that behaviour.
 

Wildgoose

Full Member
May 15, 2012
459
152
Middlesex
Thank you to everyone who’s read, replied or reacted to the post, it is very much appreciated.

it’s interesting, nobody has suggested that I inform the farmer of my rights or ask him to explain his actions in any way.

I do not know what his legal knowledge was, nor did I ask if it was even his land or if he had any right to be there himself.

I find it interesting because there’s many a thread where people would challenge a police officer who was acting in the exact same manner. I ask why that is?
 

Wander

Settler
Jan 6, 2017
630
758
Here There & Everywhere
...nor did I ask if it was even his land or if he had any right to be there himself.

That's a very good point.
I have personal experience of that from many years ago.
A friend and myself were on his parent's farm one weekend. We were only about 15 or 16. But it was his parent's farm and so we were there with full permission etc.
Whilst in the main farmyard beside one of the barns a man, with a shotgun, came along and asked what we were doing. My initial thought was to say something like, 'just playing' but oddly felt instantly guilty and thought we were going to get told off (we were just playing, but playing in the kind of way you would expect two 15 year old school boys with access to a whole farm would).
But quick as a flash my friend shot back, 'what are YOU doing here?'
'Shooting,' was the answer. 'I have permission.'
'What's your name?' came back my friend.
'I don't have to give you my name,' said the man.
'Yes you do,' said my friend. 'It's my dad's farm.'
'What's your dad's name?' questioned the man.
'You tell me - I don't have to answer your questions.' He then pulled out a phone (this was before the days of mobiles but it was a cordless and just in range of the home). 'I'll call and check you do have permission.'
At this point the man seemed a bit caught on the wrong foot by my friend's confidence, so gave his name. He phoned his dad and, sure enough, he did have permission.
The man, now realising we had more right to be there than him, was suddenly more friendly, and even let us do a bit of shooting with his gun (this was the first time I ever fired a shot gun).

So I would say that it sometimes is worth challenging someone if you are yourself challenged. But make sure you've got a good reason for doing so and think about what you are going to say.
 

Laurentius

Native
Aug 13, 2009
1,984
281
Knowhere
Yes I would think you were up to no good, that you were scouting the land, taking pictures so your poacher buddies could come back later. However I think if I had listened to you and you had talked honestly about your hobby I might warm to you.
 
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Wildgoose

Full Member
May 15, 2012
459
152
Middlesex
That's a very good point.
I have personal experience of that from many years ago.
A friend and myself were on his parent's farm one weekend. We were only about 15 or 16. But it was his parent's farm and so we were there with full permission etc.
Whilst in the main farmyard beside one of the barns a man, with a shotgun, came along and asked what we were doing. My initial thought was to say something like, 'just playing' but oddly felt instantly guilty and thought we were going to get told off (we were just playing, but playing in the kind of way you would expect two 15 year old school boys with access to a whole farm would).
But quick as a flash my friend shot back, 'what are YOU doing here?'
'Shooting,' was the answer. 'I have permission.'
'What's your name?' came back my friend.
'I don't have to give you my name,' said the man.
'Yes you do,' said my friend. 'It's my dad's farm.'
'What's your dad's name?' questioned the man.
'You tell me - I don't have to answer your questions.' He then pulled out a phone (this was before the days of mobiles but it was a cordless and just in range of the home). 'I'll call and check you do have permission.'
At this point the man seemed a bit caught on the wrong foot by my friend's confidence, so gave his name. He phoned his dad and, sure enough, he did have permission.
The man, now realising we had more right to be there than him, was suddenly more friendly, and even let us do a bit of shooting with his gun (this was the first time I ever fired a shot gun).

So I would say that it sometimes is worth challenging someone if you are yourself challenged. But make sure you've got a good reason for doing so and think about what you are going to say.
Hats off to him for standing his ground too
 

Wildgoose

Full Member
May 15, 2012
459
152
Middlesex
Yes I would think you were up to no good, that you were scouting the land, taking pictures so your poacher buddies could come back later. However I think if I had listened to you and you had talked honestly about your hobby I might warm to you.
It’s a tough one isn’t it. It was so dark with heather and such like up to knee height. If I’d had a rifle and laid it on the ground I doubt it would have been found* the lamp didn’t get me and I made the first contact.

It doesn’t give you long to make an initial assessment though, I suspect the presence of a female with a clear accent and normal outdoor clothes was probably the thing that confirmed it for him.

*unless he had thermal or night vision and had been observing for some time of course.
 

TLM

Native
Nov 16, 2019
1,653
739
Vantaa, Finland
It is kind of interesting following a discussion where our laws are so very different. I think UK would be a country where I would be more than a little lost concerning law.
 
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Paul_B

Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Jul 14, 2008
4,973
874
Lancashire
There is criminal trespass it's in The Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994. Various crimes and punishments are listed for various reasons when you've been asked to leave but didn't. If a police officer n asks you to leave and you don't for n example you can be arrested and if proven a fine and up to IIRC 4 months. S77 it's a charge for a camper who fails to leave the land when asked to do so. There's also a section for aggravated trespass when your actions basically prevent the legal business of the landowner, obviously worded better but I do not recall it.

This is legislation is very prescriptive about what is criminal trespass and most situations of people being on private land without permission is still probably civil. It's when it's not you need to know a bit about. Plenty of things about raves for example. So next time you meet up in the woods with mates for a few drinks round the fire leave the dancing for the nightclubs or you could face a fine and / or prison sentence, especially if you organised it!!!

Seriously, I did not know the camper not leaving is criminal trespass. If asked to leave I would always pack up and go anyway but I didn't know it could possibly land you prison time!!!
 
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Paul_B

Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Jul 14, 2008
4,973
874
Lancashire
As to the original question I personally see anyone in full drab as being suspicious. That's round Silverdale and Arnside AONB where there's plenty of farms,shoots and nature reserves. IMHO it's possible to go on about your outdoor activities without looking like a hunter/poacher/soldier. Unless you're hunting with permission I question the use of hunter style clothing in activities other than hunting. There's many good makers of outdoor clothing who sell discrete outdoor clothing that doesn't look all hunter like.

Perhaps I'm being unfair and there's many good reasons for such clothing. Not least the expense of buying whole new sets of it for hunting, walking and other outdoor activities. I just think if you're out at night for the stars you could be wearing bright orange paramo or mountaineering jacket and people would see you as less of a potential concern, especially farmers, landowners, gamekeepers and others making a living from the land. Excuse to buy more kit????!!! Lol
 
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Wildgoose

Full Member
May 15, 2012
459
152
Middlesex
An excuse for more kit is always welcome.

Most of my kit is Earth/green, being outdoors for me is about observing nature and having as little impact on the environment as possible.

I have tried to branch out with a few more greys and black but nothing much louder.
I see how it could mean poacher though,

When I used to do mountaineering as a scout Reds and Yellows were all the rage, along with day glo piping. It was all very plastic and synthetic though.
 

santaman2000

M.A.B (Mad About Bushcraft)
Jan 15, 2011
16,850
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@TLM The colors aside, hunting clothing has things like cartridge loops, game pockets, etc. that simply aren’t needed in other pursuits.

@Wildgoose As a cop I would indeed search the vehicle IF! (and it’s a big if) If I could justify it. We’re protected from “unreasonable search and siezures” so I couldn’t do it just because. I wanted to. If The case were to make it to court or if the individual being searched decided to file a lawsuit, then I’d have to be able to convince a judge I had “reasonable suspicion” and that the need was imminent enough to preclude betting a warrant. That’s not necessarily as difficult as it sounds. Common scenario: I run into you in the case you describe and when I glance in the car window I see something suspicious (weapons, drug paraphenalia, stolen property or burglar tools, etc.) or if you had been wearing something suspicious.

Not sure who mentioned the description of trespass being. A civil offense but that’s generally true here as well. That’s why my first response would be graduated: on first offense with a cooperative individual the result would be a simple verbal warning. Second offense would likely be to issue a ticket (citation) for a court appearance or a mail in monetary fine just like a traffic offense.

Was it @TeeDee that said “unless you’re causing harm you don’t have to leave” in Scotland? I’d heard before about Scotland’s right to roam but I’d never thought about the ”causing harm.” That muddies the water a great deal. Just walking often damages plant life so simply veering off the footpath could possibly meet that requirement.
 

TeeDee

Full Member
Nov 6, 2008
6,966
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Exeter
Was it @TeeDee that said “unless you’re causing harm you don’t have to leave” in Scotland? I’d heard before about Scotland’s right to roam but I’d never thought about the ”causing harm.” That muddies the water a great deal. Just walking often damages plant life so simply veering off the footpath could possibly meet that requirement.

Not me , I dont know what passes for laws in Scotland.

Savages.... :)
 
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Paul_B

Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Jul 14, 2008
4,973
874
Lancashire
How does hunting depart from other outdoor activities so that it requires different clothing? I find the idea very strange.
Apart from the extra features they're often various forms of camouflage or drab greens. However I'm certain the US requirement for oranges being worn by hunters certainly seems to indicate colour isn't as important to avoid animal detection. I've seen bird watchers wearing those colours but also wearing more normal outdoor colours including bright ones. With their huge scopes and tripods costing more than my car I reckon if greens are needed then they'd be wearing it.

I get the feeling that with some greens are an outdoor affectation as much as very bright colours are for mountaineers. I've been unable to see very bright colours of mountaineering kit and clothing from surprisingly close up. Yet I've seen hulking great lumps of walking green carrying spotter scopes thinking they're invisible grim quite some way off. It's all in the circumstances, namely motion assisting detection.

It's a choice what to wear but if your late night wild stargazing activities get undue attention a lot then perhaps stop trying to look like a hunter/poacher and more like general public in at most mountaineering chic outdoor kit. I personally wear blue and black with the odd green and bright orange at different times and different activities. I do however look more hiker than hunter so have never had any cases of being checked out as being dodgy.
 

Paul_B

Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Jul 14, 2008
4,973
874
Lancashire
Scotland has civil trespass but to make criminal I believe the landowner has to get a claim that the offender is presenting a risk to them such as they're in fear of the person through their actions. It then becomes breach of the peace which is where the criminality comes in. England is different with actually defined circumstances within trespass laws that make actions criminal not just civil. Not sure about Wales and Northern Ireland though.
 

santaman2000

M.A.B (Mad About Bushcraft)
Jan 15, 2011
16,850
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@Paul_B Color vision seems to have evolved around need. Most mammals apart from humans and apes don’t need it so they didn’t evolve it. Presumably to distinguish various fruits and berries that might be either toxic or safe. Likewise most birds seem to have color vision probably for similar reasons. Camouflage isn’t necessarily reliant on the colors themselves but rather in breaking up those colors: there are indeed hunting clothing items in camouflage patterned orange (Good for deer but not so much so far waterfowl or doves) All that said I agree it more of popularity thing now (after all, who goes hunting in their pajamas or bedsheets?)
 
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Robson Valley

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Nov 24, 2014
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In many parts of the USA, it is a legal requirement for hunters to wear "Blaze Orange" safety clothing. Plus, there is a minimum number of square inches which must be that color. As a note added in proof, it is common to see the measured area size quoted in the descriptions with clothing in outdoor catalogues.
 

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