Recently a friend asked if I could look after his ground whilst he went away on a sabbatical in Australia for 6 months. Before he left he cleared it with the farmers that I would be controlling vermin and deer in his absence to which they agreed.
I phoned the farmers in the afternoon to inform them that I was heading out that night after rabbits and foxes and everything appeared to be in order.
We had shot one fox and a number of rabbits when we moved to another part of the farm. I understand that from previous outings of incidents that one local individual has serious issues with people shooting / ferreting near his property. So I opted not to shoot near his property but waited till we were down in the lower fields and out of sight.
As we were heading back up the headland some 15 - 20 mins later and passing through a small copse we saw a car driving towards us blocking our exit. As we neared the car, bumper blue lights came on. Well you can imagine how we felt, I drove up slowly to the unmarked police car, dipped my lights then took the keys out the ignition. My first reaction was to try and defuse the situation and I informed the officers that we had permission to be there and that we had our certs with us. The officer then informed that we didnít as the land owner told them that we were poaching. It was then I had that sinking feeling in my stomach wondering how this was going to pan out.
To cut a long story short, the police checks on us turned out positive i.e. vehicle and FAC's were correct, although I had to phone the farmer to get him to vouch for me to confirm that we were legally authorised by him to shoot there. We were shooting on fields that did not belong to this individual!
I told the police about past incidents involving the caller and his rants and waving hockey sticks
and that he is basically an idiot. They said that before they came down to find us they had a chat with him and that was their impression of him.
Luckily everything worked out in our favour but there was a real potential for things to go wrong with dire consequences.
Just goes to show inform farmers, carry your FAC or a photocpy of the your fac it makes the police's job easier and it means you'll be on your way quicker. The whole incident lasted about 20 minutes. Long enough...