As the old quote goes, “There is no honor among thieves.” I have never understood thievery, that blatant act of taking something that does not belong to you. Now I suppose the case can be made that we’ve all stolen at one time or another by taking home a handful of paper clips from the office or snagging a bottle of water from the break room fridge’ that we didn’t actually put there ourselves. But I’m referring to purposely and knowingly making-off with an object or objects belonging to someone else.
When I was a kid I can remember an early morning phone call from the neighbor telling me he had caught someone taking firewood from his woods and telling him that I had given them permission to cut firewood in my woods which was next door. The property line went right through the very middle of the woods, so I guess the guy could have mistakenly been on the wrong side. But the neighbor Dave found him loading his truck from a stack of firewood cut and neatly stacked there on his side of the woods; something he should have known better than to do even if he had been on the right property. Neighbor Dave was a big guy and a cop in the local town. He later told me he stood and watched as the guy stacked his firewood back on the pile. I worked with the guy and honestly don’t remember if I told him he could cut firewood in my woods, but he later got fired from his job for stealing high-dollar motor parts from our employer.
I’ve been trapping beavers on the McPherson Valley Wetlands outside of town, as they have a main drainage ditch there blocked with a ginormous dam that’s flooding nearby farmland. To gather a little intel’ before I set any traps, I had two trail cameras fastened to a tree overlooking the dam and the main drainage ditch. Its fun to use trail cameras all year long at spots like that just to see what comes out at night, and my cameras were getting numerous pictures of swimming beavers and marauding raccoons. Last week, however when I went to change the camera chips a second time, both cameras were gone. Now I like to cover all the bases before accusing someone of anything, so I went through all the possible scenarios to explain the cameras disappearance. One was held to the tree with a tiny bungee cord, which, had it broken would have dumped the camera into water below that is quite possibly 5 or 6 feet deep. The tree is a couple feet off the bank, and while holding onto it I stepped into the water below with my chest waders. I was over waist deep and hadn’t hit yet bottom, so that camera could be there somewhere on the bottom of the ditch. The other camera however was buckled to the tree with a hefty nylon belt that was quite a chore to unbuckle once it was tightened, and the only way to take that camera off the tree was to loosen the belt or cut it with a knife. So, if that camera is at the bottom of the ditch, its disappearance is the same as thievery to me. I’ve had traps there now for a week and when I checked them Friday morning, discovered a trap missing also. Once again, I ran all possible scenarios through my mind, and determined there was absolutely no other explanation for that traps disappearance other than thievery.
This wetlands area is owned by the state and is public land, so the argument could be made that I was simply putting out “dirt bag bait” and asking for my stuff to disappear by using it there. Sorry but I don’t buy that! Using my stuff there doesn’t make it any more someone else’s and any less mine. I try to give my fellow hunters (and I use that term loosely in this case) the benefit of the doubt and think the best of them, but when things like this happen it erodes my faith in mankind and in my fellow outdoorsmen! Don’t get me wrong I know the vast majority of outdoorsmen are honest, and treat each other and each other’s gear with respect, but just like all other facets of live, the minority can ruin things for the majority. I’m not a vengeful man and don’t wish anyone ill, so bring back my stuff, (yes you know my name and address are on the trap) apologize and convince me you need it more than me and I’ll probably give it to you. I got pictures from the cameras before they were stolen so the game warden and I will be looking for you, but bring it all back and we’ll talk. Continue to Explore Kansas Outdoors.
Steve can be contacted by email at [email protected]