Recently, some teenagers in my area were camping out and decided to kill and eat a duck for their supper. Bad idea. They were caught.
Now, in the real world, this would have been treated like the imbecile case of poaching that it is, but Benton County is run by city people, who are crazy. There was a hue and cry for a charge of felony animal abuse. Lots of people were itching to get those kids under psychiatric treatment. What could be a stronger sign of mental illness than hunting out of season?
You can see the article here.
This is not an isolated case. A guy in Albany was cited because he had an old, skinny horse, whose skinniness and age were taken as signs of neglect, even though there was a younger, well-fleshed horse on the same pasture (how can you starve one horse and not the other when they’re running around together all the time?). If you’re not in a rural county, it’s important to slaughter your animals before they become old, skinny, or lame, or you’ll be arrested. Even if they can be cured, a convalescence within sight of a cell-phone Samaritan may land you in jail. Don’t risk it.
If you’re planning to move back to the land, don’t make the mistake I did by moving to a county dominated by city people. They’ll sic the law on you. Find a rural country, preferably one dominated by farmers. You’re trying to get away from urban attitudes as well as urban architecture, and this requires that you have at least a county line between yourself and the nearest urban population.
Farmers on the edge of town have always been slapped with nuisance lawsuits for being farmers (the sound of roosters crowing or tractors running, dust from plowing, flies, etc.). This is one reason why such farmers are eager to sell out to developers: city people won’t let them farm. But now we’re being threatened with jail or mental institutions.
I grew up in Del Norte County in California, which is an impoverished county in the redwoods. The largest segment of the economy was unemployed loggers, and poaching was universal. The game wardens looked the other way if you weren’t selling venison in the street, because it helped people feed their families. But by the standards of law enforcement here in Benton County, everyone I grew up with belonged in the loony bin. Go figure.