Criminals target hunters

Published 12:01 am Wednesday, November 28, 2007

NATCHEZ —As hunters in Adams County sit perched in tree stands watching for deer and other wildlife, they too are being watched.

But the hunters are not being watched by the deer, they are being watched by the criminal element that takes to the woods each year for hunting season.

Sheriff Ronny Brown said each year when hunters flock to the woods those who steal from the hunters are never far behind.

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“They (hunters) just need to be mindful of their property,” Brown said.

Thieves who prey on hunters, Brown said, capitalize on the fact that many hunters only occupy hunting camps on the weekend and leave well-stocked camps unguarded and sometimes unlocked all week long.

“Lock up everything that stays out there,” he said.

In addition to firearms many hunters leave all-terrain vehicles and electronics unattended for long periods of time.

Brown said that’s exactly what thieves need to operate effectively.

Thieves, Brown said, take advantage of the semi-secluded areas and the fact that traffic in those areas in minimal.

And it’s that same seclusion that makes hunters vulnerable.

Brown said it is not uncommon for hunters to have a false sense of security in the woods and therefore leave goods unattended.

Though Brown and his deputies are always on the lookout for criminal activity there is only so much they can do.

Brown said that while hunting grounds are patrolled, deputies cannot cross locked-gates that protect private hunting property.

But unfortunately thieves don’t have a problem with trespassing.

Brown also said that in past years deputies have patrolled water accessible hunting camps by boat, however low water levels this year have made that impossible.

Brown reminds hunters that in many instances thieves know what items can be stolen from each camp.

But Brown said above all diligence is the best deterrent for hunting camp break-ins.

“Watch your stuff and keep it locked up,” he said.