Of the many hundreds of articles I have written over the years, there is one topic I have yet to cover and have steered clear of until now…
So, please excuse me while I vent!
For anyone out there who has had their house, cottage or camp broke into, you’ll know how I feel. We had our house broken into last year and all of our computers and many personal items were stolen.
It is a sickening feeling, a feeling of being violated I tell you, to return to your home after something like that…to know that some scumbag has rifled through your wife and daughter’s underwear drawer just makes my blood boil!
Yes, a home break-in was something new for me, but unfortunately hunt camp break-in’s are something I’ve been dealing with since I was a kid.
As a boy growing up in the country in a town of 350 people, we never had the need for a ‘cottage’ per say. The camp really was our cottage and we would visit it almost every week as a family.
As I got older I started hunting at our camp my father and uncles, I quickly learned though why my father was always so stressed when we arrived, and he approached the front door.
If I had to estimate, I’d say our camp has been broken into and vandalized no less than 20 times over the years. We have replaced the propane lights and fridge easily 8 times. We run an average of about one break-in every 5 –years, and since we’ve had a camp in that location since 1941, it works out to about a five year average.
Now that, my friends, is pretty damn pathetic!!
You know, it’s not so much the fact that someone breaks-in the front door or through the side-window protective panels, it’s what they do when they get inside. Usually they’d just steal the propane fixtures, lamps, fridge and stoves, but other times they’d mess with more personal items.
We’ve had 3 moose heads stolen over the years and copious deer antlers. One time the bastards took our old black and white family hunting photos and tossed down the outhouse hole. They’ve slept there over night and vomited on our beds. They’ve taken our cutlery and thrown it into the creek.
Now, who does that kind of thing? To me, this is the ultimate form of disrespect and it must take the lowest form of life to carry out an act as degrading as this.
One time back in 1995 a friend of ours dropped by the house to say he had just come back from fishing and noticed some guy ‘living in our camp!’
We headed up the mountain roads like a bat out of hell not knowing what to expect when we got there..but sure enough, we could see through the window there was some guy inside drinking coffee, sitting in MY Goddamn chair !!
The prick had broken down the front door and torn off both side window panels. He also had a 22-calibre rifle hanging from one of the coat racks, so wehad to be quick!
When my father, brother-in-law’s and I charged through the front door, Dad grabbed the axe on the way in and held it to guy’s head!
Man, I thought for a moment (& secretly hoped) the old man was going to split him wide-open, but he didn’t. He just held his cool and asked the guy what he was doing. I’ve never seen such fear on a person’s face and by God did this fellow deserve it.
The police arrived a short time later and we found out he was a troubled lad whose parents lived just a few miles away. My father was the bigger man…and agreed not to press charges so long as they paid for the damage and promised never to return.
That’s just one example of what we have had to deal with over the years. Last fall they broke in yet again, stole my Dad’s nice 50″ moose antlers, a frying pan and a couple of smaller items. Nothing huge was taken, just enough to piss you off. But then they finished off by driving an axe through the wall where the moose rack had been.
It was a gesture that really got under the old man’s skin and mine too!
I ask you, what is wrong with people today that they need to invade someone’s space like that. It is, in my opinion, about as disrespectful as it gets.
Sure, we have contemplated leaving the front door open and letting people use the camp with a nice little note asking to please clean up afterwards.
We tried that in the early days, and it simply did not work.
Did I explain there has been a camp in this location since 1941? Yes, but this is actually our third camp in that spot. The previous two camps were burned to ground in the 40’s and 50’s. Our current camp built by my Grandfather has been there since 1960..which would make this year the camp’s 50th Anniversary. Trust me, we’re going to celebrate!
Each time we get broken-into we have resigned ourselves to looking on the bright side. It’s all we have left. “At least they didn’t burn it down” my father would say to me each time.
After all that has happen over the years, though, the tension is still there and has built to a point where I really pity the person we catch breaking-in.
And I have a feeling, after 70 years of dealing with this my father may not hold back on the axe next time, and you know what, I wouldn’t blame him a bit!