kids on 4-wheelers in my woods again...time to act gruff

dirtgirl(So. Illinois)September 1, 2006

They are at it right now, I can hear them. There are about 4 of them, they are all about 20 or so, they all have ATVs specially rigged for mud and hill-climbing, and they are in my woods AGAIN. The last time I heard them I made it back there in time to catch up with them and have a chat about things, but I simply told them they needed to stop by the house and ASK ME before going back there, and when they did go back, they needed to stay on the existing trails and not make new ones if at all possible. I don't have the heart to be mean and stern and tell them to get the$#%$^%$%^$ off my property. I tend to be non-confrontational for the most part. Unfortunately for them, my husband has no such difficulty and I think I will send HIM back there this time. Don't worry, these are just rowdy neighbor kids, not street thugs. This isn't something you'd do in an urban area.

I know they need a safe, designated place to be able to ride and sling mud and do whatever , but these kids just drive wherever they please, never find out whose property they are on or anything. I wish I could find a way to get the point through to them without coming across like an old biddy.

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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

On YOUR property? Listen, need to let the inner biddy come out! I wouldn't allow it for one second. Not even a nano second, lol! Let them find a safe, designated place on someone else's property. I've seen the kind of permanent damage they can do.

    Bookmark   September 1, 2006 at 3:26PM
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If you let them use your property for ATV play, they will establish a precedent, and begin to expect the area to be available in the future. You have no choice, you have to post signs, and intervene. It sounds to me like your property would be heaven for a dirt bike or ATV rider, and therefore I suspect that the problem will come up again.

    Bookmark   September 2, 2006 at 10:34AM
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terryr(z5a IL)

We also live in such a sue happy society. Can you imagine if one of those kids was hurt while riding on your property? Post no trespassing signs, call the police, send your husband out...get them off your property!

    Bookmark   September 2, 2006 at 11:06PM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

Oh....I meant to comment that you don't have to be 'mean' about it. Be polite but firm. Polite but not apologetic. I had to get after some kids who were in the habit of cutting across our backyard on bikes and 4 wheelers.

    Bookmark   September 4, 2006 at 6:53AM
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dirtgirl(So. Illinois)

Things worked out better than I could have hoped for. I was just getting my clothes changed and getting myself psyched up for the job when I realized I didn't hear them anymore. I stepped outside and listened, and could just hear one ATV coming up the road, but it was going awfully slowly. When they passed, it was two of the guys on one four-wheeler, and the kid on the back was looking down over the side watching one wheel very intently. And the funniest part was that there was this SCREE SCREE SCREE whine as the ATV rolled along. They had messed up one of their toys. :) :)

It can be tricky trying to get back there to head them off. You need track shoes so you can cover the ground but you have to cross two, sometimes three creeks and then boots are better. The area they love to run through is adjacent to the 30 other acres of identical woods to the south, which is not ours (how I wish) When you hear them going at it, it takes a second to determine where they are, if they are across the prop line, and if you have time to intercept (and destroy).
Posting your acreage does no good. You still have to do the legwork and CATCH them if you really mean it when you say trespassers prosecuted., it wasn't kudzu this time. But I do have a serious problem with the jap honeysuckle putting up deer stands and snaring an animal now and then without my permission. And no tag or license either.

    Bookmark   September 4, 2006 at 11:58AM
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catherinet(5 IN)

Too bad we can't have the honeysuckle fight the kudzu!
Let me tell up and coming invasive on our property is hops vine. It covered the tops of 2 of our pine trees with billions of seeds. It's stem is soooooooo tough and thick. Where did this vine come from? It wasn't on our property until a year ago. Maybe a migrating bird? there any way you could put up something like a 3-stranded wire fence around your property? Then again, there's always some sort of rocket launcher.
How exciting! .......that they broke their toy!! I hope it was a VERY expensive part that takes months to get in. Better's irreparable :)

    Bookmark   September 4, 2006 at 12:26PM
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terryr(z5a IL)

There were some young people a few years ago, not far from here, riding ATV's. They were on a path they frequently took. Unfortunately, the owner of the land put up some wire and 1 ATV went thru it. That person was decapitated. I'm not sure I'd be putting up anything that could harm them. Yes, they're trespassing, but I'd bet the law would be on their side.

    Bookmark   September 4, 2006 at 8:50PM
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catherinet(5 IN)

Lots of farmers put up the 3 or 4 strands of wire, instead of the usual fencing. I was suggesting doing it to mark her property line, not to hurt the 4-wheelers.

    Bookmark   September 5, 2006 at 11:22AM
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dirtgirl(So. Illinois)

one wire, at the right height, WOULD be murderous, and if you did it for that reason you should be responsible if you hurt someone. Wanting people to respect your property and the environment does not make it ok to intentionally set death traps.
Regular fencing would be too expensive, too time consuming for me to put up, and would only get cut any place someone wanted to pass through. And again, I'd have to catch them to know who to blame. I once built a fairly sturdy gate of sorts across the main trail the ATVers were using to gain illegal entrance onto my other 100 acres. Took me over an hour and I used logs to about chest high. I came back a week later and they had completely dismantled it. Waste of time trying.
All I can do is try to make myself known as being a real b--ch of a woman if I catch you on my property, post the signs every third tree, and PATROL PATROL PATROL. But who has the time ??

It has been bad enough at times that I HAVE thought of tacking the trails, something to blow out tires. But you will surely get someone hurt when that stuff gets started.

    Bookmark   September 6, 2006 at 12:55PM
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lisa11310(z5 MI)

LOL you bi-chy old biddy! You go girl! I have no problems with people riding horses on our trails, but I would have a hairy ---- fit if the atv's got out there. You are being too kind by being sympethic to them needing a place to ride. I am sure there are public places to do that, they are just to lazy to put the 4 wheeler on a trailer and drive to where it is permited. Get a few of those "warning, truspassers will be prosicuted" signs. Your wildlife deserves beter and so do you! So git down wich yor bad self biddy! LOL.

    Bookmark   September 6, 2006 at 3:00PM
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catherinet(5 IN)

I think that's the trade-off with living out in the boonies. I've read about other people in more remote places having your kind of problems with tresspassers. I have a little bit of land, but it's not far from civilization......and I think the law around here would respond immediately if I called and complained about trespassers. But........the farther out you get, it seems that the law doesn't do a very good job with private property.
I just can't relate to people who think it's okay to ride anywhere. I wouldn't even be happy with people riding horses without asking.

    Bookmark   September 6, 2006 at 4:03PM
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lisa11310(z5 MI)

well the trail they ride horses on has been there and established since long before we moved in, it's mostly just the local folks going to the Trading Post on the other side of our property. Boy now that really makes me sound podunk dont it! LOL

    Bookmark   September 7, 2006 at 1:15PM
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catherinet(5 IN)

LOL Lisa! sounds pretty cool to me!

    Bookmark   September 7, 2006 at 3:34PM
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dirtgirl(So. Illinois)

lisa 11310....
I've decided that podunk isn't in itself a bad thing.
It's the ignorant-and-happy-that-way podunkers that get on my nerves.

sorry, I don't think you qualify. :)
got a good cornpone recipe for us to try ?

    Bookmark   September 10, 2006 at 8:41PM
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I'd be more concerned for the horseback riders. My horse would spook into next Tuesday if he encountered an ATV. Those two sports don't mix well. They certainly don't belong on the same trail system. Hope nobody gets hurt.

    Bookmark   September 11, 2006 at 4:33PM
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I can't speak for all ATVers but my family ride ATV's and we all have a respect for other's property. There is a site we belong to called and the forums there specifically ask ATVers to be respectful of other's property along with wearing safety gear. If you put on the site a place where they are not allowed to ride then they remove the information from the site. Do you have a ATV club in your area that you could get some assistance from? Not all ATVers are tresspassers and not all ATVers ruin the land. As a matter of fact a few of the national forest (NC,TN, SC)have included ATVers in their clean up and fix up plan. If we see illegal activities or reckless activities we report it to the game wardens and preserve officials of that area. We ATVers have done alot to preserve national forests and areas that we like to ride in. Please do not judge all ATVers because of a few unruly and illegal tresspassers. I do not like uninvited ATVers on my property either. I have had bad repercussions from unruly riders. The individuals dumped oil in my turtle ponds. I wouldn't allow the kids that didn't obey the property rules to ride on my property. I lost quite a few turtles and rabbits and to this day there is an on-going feud that they always seem to win. It is horrible. They videotape the children on trampolines and in the pools and get the license plate numbers of any vehicle that comes in front of their house. I still will not let them ride. I am not even in the country at this moment, but my daughter is living/watching my house and the individuals have started a new feud with her and her family. THE POLICE AND COURT SYSTEMS ARE NO HELP. I agree that you indeed need to stop them from riding on your property. Take tresspassing signs and post them along your PL. Take digital pics for the record. If you have them posted and someone gets hurt then you cannot be held liable for their injuries. That is the only thing that saved us a law suit. Good luck

    Bookmark   September 26, 2006 at 10:00AM
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I think this is the age old problem between what I call us self propellers and those that prefer motor propelled things. I notice that some prefer to be out in a canoe or on snoeshoes or x-country skis and others have to have a motorboat or a skidoo. Not saying they don't look like fun, but I just like the peacefulness. The darn noise would be enough to make me nuts!! I have to admit, I just don't get it.

    Bookmark   September 26, 2006 at 11:54PM
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I think its a joke and an act of self-deception for an atv-er to think they're part of any ecology movement.

    Bookmark   September 27, 2006 at 6:59PM
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terryr(z5a IL)

Gosh, I wish we had a way to remember which threads we posted in and didn't have to rely solely on memory....

Anyway, the one wire strung across, was because the other 2 wires had been broken previously by others that had trespassed on the persons land. I should of been more clear with that, I'm sorry. Should the people have checked to make sure the wire was still all up, maybe, but I think they probably had other things to do with their time. They were not held responsible in any way.

    Bookmark   September 27, 2006 at 7:20PM
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catherinet(5 IN)

I have neighbors who ride 4 wheelers on their own property.......but it sure ruins the peace and quiet of my day. I don't understand either. Do they just not appreciate how far the noise goes, or do they just not care? The most recent is 2 kids and their mother. One Saturday, they rode for about 8 hours. I don't get it either. What if I put up a huge PA system, and played loud rock music all day in their direction? That wouldn't be considered acceptable. So why is the noise from their 4wheelers?
One neighbor fortunately had a great muffler on her's, and it was much harder to hear. But I think alot of 4wheeler people are really into that horrible loud noise. Fortunately, the law is behind the quieter mufflers.
But still........when I'm sitting in my backyard, next to my watergarden, listening to the birds and bees, the last thing I want to hear is 4wheelers......for 8 hours.
Vonyon......I love that ......."self propellers".

    Bookmark   September 28, 2006 at 7:51AM
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Catherine, How about getting a PA and amplifying the sound of the birds, bees and water trickling all night.......ummm, I guess that wouldn't have the same effect would it? I always feel bad for anyont that lives next to people who have those things. I think I'd go nuts.

    Bookmark   September 29, 2006 at 6:36PM
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dirtgirl(So. Illinois)

Hi there....been meaning to respond to your post but have been short on time til now.
I wish there were more ATVers that thought like you do. Your post was well stated and I for one appreciated your input. I guess I might draw some fire for what I'm about to say but here goes: Yes I think there should be some areas where NOBODY goes in unless on foot, and even some highly sensitive areas where the numbers of people allowed in are governed by a lottery or a daily drawing or aomething to reduce impact. It's no mystery...we are literally loving our wilderness to death in places.
HOWEVER...there are indeed responsible groups who advocate respect and awareness and try, although at times without much success, to curb the kind of crappy, irritating behavior we so often associate with ATVers. We have the same problem here in the Shawnee National Forest with the horse groups. Now I know you're thinking how the heck can a horse possibly do as much damage as a pack of four wheelers, and in truth one single animal can't come close. But we have areas down there where HUNDREDS of animals will pass on a trail in a week's time and the damage is unbelievable...and hard to fix. If the ground is hilly and it rains, it just snowballs from there.
That's where the groups come in, hauling in gravel and doing trail maintenance. I am totally fine with designated areas being open to certain recreational use if it's done responsibly, and that's the big problem: policing the lawbreakers.

It is true that people are more interested in saving the things that they love (and I know it's hard to think of an irresponsible ATVer saving much of anything while slinging mud up to the sky) but surely even a bunch of ATVers would rather sign a petition to save a forest than see a strip mall come in where it once stood.

Ahhhhh, I just don't know sometimes. Once my husband and I were down hiking our larger parcel of woods, the one that used to get the heaviest ATV traffic. Two groups had already come through and we stopped both of them and told them we were the owners and did not allow trespassing. They did not argue and left. Not long after we heard motors again, moving slowly. We got down in the bushes thinking they had come back but we were surprised to see instead two old men puttering through the trees. Every once in a while they would stop and point at something or talk to each other about something they noticed. They got to the bluff where the kids get all stupid and try to kill themselves and took one look and backed up and went back the way they came.They never knew we were watching them, we never stopped them, and I never felt a need to. They stayed on the trail and were going slowly enough to see things, notice things around them. I'd rather have people doing that than whizzing by in their cars and never even seeing it at all.
I guess I am torn between needing to share what I have and protect it. I want everybody to have access to places like this but there aren't enough people who can demonstrate to me that they deserve that right.

    Bookmark   September 30, 2006 at 12:30AM
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DG, I also appreciate people that can use things like ATVs responsibly.

I think you are being more than generous in your approach to this issue, but I also think that your love of natural things trumps other peoples' rights in this case. The thing that people don't realize (or don't care to realize) is that the use natural of areas by humans take a toll on the area just by virtue of the foot traffic. This has been documented in areas where there are large amounts of human traffic like Yellowstone and other national parks. You can also see it in your backyard where your dog runs and compacts the soil over time. My point is that if human feet do damage over time, ATVs (even driven responsibly) must take a significant toll on the area.....not simply the tires, but the noise and exhaust. So, I agree with you that people should have access to an area IF they earn that right, but I think you also have the right to draw the line about how people use the property.

No good deed seems to go unpunished. Moderation and consideration is more often than not met with unreasonable people who continue to push the boundaries of goodwill. Good luck with this. I know people who have tried relentlessly to put boulders or other barriers in the way of entries to their property only to find that they had thrown down the gauntlet and it becomes a battle of wills.

    Bookmark   October 12, 2006 at 12:01PM
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What a wonderful group I am discovering on this forum.
I have been very, 'territorial' all of my life so this problem of any kind of trespassing is a big one with me.

Sadly, it seems those who trespass in any manner quite frequently are so ignorant that they believe the property owner is in the wrong and being unjust. From my experience anytime you try to prevent them from coming in with fences or barricades or approach them in a 'gruff' manner you are throwing down the gauntlet and challenging them to best you.

We have a case up here where the owners of a recreational park put a chain across their entry when the season closed as a ended up with a young adult being decapitated and a very unpleasant situation for all.

Up here we had the 'Dune Buggies' first and now the ATV's not to mention the 4 wheel drive 'off the road tired' trucks.

It is destructive, noisy and totally frustrating...I feel for you dirtgirl. Joanblackberry

    Bookmark   November 5, 2006 at 4:06PM
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Do anything legal you can to keep them out. Our problem is landscapers (and maybe neighbors?) using our woods to dump stuff so they don't have to take it to a landfill. I have placed fallen trees here and there so they at least can't back a truck right into the woods.

    Bookmark   November 10, 2006 at 4:23PM
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We moved to a house in the country on 7.5 acres in December. We immediately saw (& heard) 4 wheeler tracks through the woods & suspected our neighbor's kids. We put up several no tresspassing signs & piled some brush on the heavily travelled routes & thought that would take care of it.

Yesterday I was home & heard them in the woods very close to the house. I went outside & as soon as they saw me, they'd zoomed off. They'd also moved some of the barricades & signs.

I called over there - kid answers & demands to know who it is - I say "Your neighbor" & he puts on his older brother who does a very poor impression of his father. Laughable, really - but annoying still. I go through my spiel to let him know he was busted & he says "I'll talk to the boys" --- haha --- and I mention that my husband & I will drop by later to talk to him & his wife about it.

About 15 minutes later we go over there. Mom answers door (we've not met her yet) - he's fessed up to her but very argumentative to us, she's not too friendly even though we explain it's a liability issue - our land is rough & we have a pond that we don't want anyone near, etc. Her comments "it's spring break, they're bored", "we're gonna have this problem with lots of kids" (not true), "they were here first, before there were any other houses" etc. She did shoot him a dirty look when I asked who I just spoke with on the phone since his daddy was not home. Busted again.

I'm hoping this does not become a big issue with them. I like having good relationships with neighbors - we're pretty good ones ourselves. It just seems like a common courtesy to me - not to mention that we posted legal signs. We're planning on fencing the property eventually - but were getting settled in first & it wasn't top priority. I guess now it will be sooner than later.

    Bookmark   March 14, 2007 at 11:57AM
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catherinet(5 IN)

What a bummer guvnah! I just can't believe it when people trespass and think its all they have rights to do it.
How is the law enforcement in your area?
How far from your house are these neighbors?
Good luck. Some people can be just plain unreasonable and obnoxious.
Like you might have to deal with a fence sooner rather than later. Hopefully, they won't destroy it. Stay safe.

    Bookmark   March 14, 2007 at 5:04PM
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dirtgirl(So. Illinois)

Yep, I'm feeling your pain.
It's that time of year again, isn't it. Warmer weather, kids have been cooped up all winter, spring break's just around the corner.
And it's sad that you have to even consider fence if it isn't really what you want to do...I mean, what a wonderful thing it would be if people just ASKED permission to be on other people's property. I actually would not mind a little ATV usage here in some places. If they would stick to the trails I have personally selected and created, drove sensibly and not go off ripping around like a herd of banshees it would be ok because the trails would not grow up as quickly. BUT that's not the way things are. If they can squeeze between two trees they will try it, or even ride the smaller trees down, and they don't have the sense to stay away from highly erodible areas. In fact, those are the main draws here--the steep bluffs. Let's see who can spin their way to the top, and who cares if all the moss and ferns and ground cover gets slung out behind.

The only good news I have to offer is this: if these kids are in their teens, then it is likely only a matter of a few years until they are driving cars and trucks and find cruising around scoping out chicks is a cooler way to spend their time. Several of the boys I caught here are now 18-19 and spend so much time between high school things, cruising in their cars, and girlfriends that I rarely see them on their ATVs anymore.
But there's always a new generation coming along.....

    Bookmark   March 16, 2007 at 1:38PM
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goldenpond((Vero.Beach FL 9b))

I JUST HAD TO CALL THE NON EMERGENCY POLICE BECAUSE DIRTBIKERS WERE COMING IN AN EMPTY LOT BESIDE ME EVERYNIGHT AFTER SCHOOL AND on SATURDAY the parents would pull up in their vehicles and watch these young-uns race! The noise cut me to the quick and the exhaust smell was horrific. After the police talked to them they have stayed away but get an area of dirt roads they are having a severe problem with the kids on the ATVs . They were playing chicken with the mail carrier and NOT allowing him to deliver mail! It has been in the news and the mail carrier refuses to go out there and get harrassed by kids!Where are the parents????

    Bookmark   March 16, 2007 at 9:46PM
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dirtgirl(So. Illinois)

they are busy making the payments on the ATVs.
Most of the kids I know did not pay for their machines, their parents did.
Some parents do try to instill a sense of rider responsibility in their kids, but these types are far outnumbered by the ones who seem totally oblivious to the potential damage and danger surrounding careless ATV use.

    Bookmark   March 19, 2007 at 1:00AM
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We have purple paint as a symbol for no trespassing in Missouri. I call the state Conservation agent when we have problems like this. It is a much stiffer fine so they remember it more as it hits the pocket book a lot deeper. We have problems with mushroom hunters so we bought a flock of geese. They make great watchdogs, and have even chase people away.

    Bookmark   March 26, 2007 at 1:52PM
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goldenpond((Vero.Beach FL 9b))

Never heard of Purple meaning that, think Id put up a purple fence!

    Bookmark   March 26, 2007 at 9:20PM
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