You choose your words very carefully when the guy across your fence has a rifle and you don’t…
Levi (my 2nd oldest son) was in the woods building a fort when he said he had the feeling that someone was watching him. He looked around and noticed that a neighbor had a tree stand positioned in the back of his well manicured yard facing our woods. Perched in the top of the stand was a man dressed in a full ghillie suit watching him through his binoculars. Levi said it kind of creeped him out…
Coleen and I both noticed that we had been hearing some loud gun shots nearby and we were both concerned after hearing Levi’s report that maybe this neighbor was shooting onto our property where all our kids play.
Later that same evening we noticed some spotlights in our back pasture and I sent Levi out to see if it was his friends out there playing. It was not… It was 2 grown men tracking a deer they had shot (had I know it was 2 men I wouldn’t have sent Levi). Now I was really concerned for the safety of my kids playing on our land.
I truly hate confrontation especially with neighbors… but I knew I needed to do something, but what? My mind instantly thought of everything but going over to talk with him. Maybe just call the game warden or rather I could go nail up a bunch of no hunting/no trespassing signs all over the property lines with cameras pointed at his tree stand. Ugh… But deep down I knew I needed to be a good neighbor and try to talk to him.
I was dreading it all day but finally I put my boots on and headed over to the property line. It was exactly like Levi described the man dressed in his hunting suit was perched with his rifle facing our tree line. No doubt it had the look of a man shooting onto our property right where my kids play.
I quickly made myself known…didn’t want to get shot, “Hey I’m Rick Holtz your neighbor. Do you have a second to come down and talk?” Immediately the man started yelling, “I ain’t doing nothing wrong” From there it went downhill pretty quickly… I kept asking him to come down and talk to me. After I mentioned calling the game warden he YELLED, “That’s It, I’m coming down”
At this point I was getting a bit nervous! Was he going to be angry enough to shoot me, or were we going to get into a fist fight… All the thoughts were firing off in my mind. Upon getting to the bottom of the tree stand he threw his gloves to the ground and then slowly set his rifle against the tree. My body immediately relaxed when I saw him set the gun down and make a bee line towards me.
When he approached me I stuck out my hand and said I’m Rick Holtz your neighbor… He retorted “I AINT SHAKING YOUR HAND”. I continued to express my concern for my kids playing in the woods he preceded to tell me how only an idiot would let their kids play in the woods during hunting season… and he would never shoot a kid. I explained that accidents happen all the time.
It wasn’t until he said that his granddaughter lived next door that I was able to flip the position on him… “What if it were your granddaughter over there playing in the yard and I had the gun pointed in her direction…” He slowly began to defuse and understand my concern. Within 5 minutes of reasoning together he finally stuck out his hand and introduced himself. I gained a neighbor…