Survey says….

Monday morning I called a surveying company, and they happened to have an opening Tuesday. I drove down to meet them and talk about what was there.

Short version: The internet lies, and I was a bit further off than she, but it’s 95% fixed now.

Talking to the surveyors, he said the aerial-photo online plat system is usually off by several feet, often up to ten. I’d use the country system because it looked like it lined up the one corner next to a tree pretty darn well. When I’d gotten to the property to put in the fence posts in June, there was also some old surveyors flagging on branches and trees that lined up with the line on the print-out almost exactly.

However, It was off by 6-8 feet, so the line of fence posts I’d put up, while matching with the country aerial photo system well, was more than a little off. Looking at the surveyed markers which had been put in this morning, it didn’t look good. On the other hand, the road wasn’t exactly perfect either, disturbing dirt in a half dozen places along where it ran, one of them encroaching a good six feet onto my property. OTOH, none of my trees were damaged. Basically, it shoved some dirt, rocks, sage brush, and some old dead logs around some.

Well, crud.

So I ran posts next to and slightly back from the survey stakes, then ran wire, then put an extra T-post in between each of the others. The chainsaw wasn’t working (it’s a new one, and starts, but then won’t run for more than a minute or so) so I couldn’t cut through the heavy brush at one end. Got a rather gory gash on my knee from the barb-wire (couldn’t find and “barb-less barbed wire” anywhere around here). When I was tuckered out and it was getting late, I ran the line one more time (no idea how many times I walked that quarter mile) with the camera to get pictures of everything.

Handling a quarter-mile spool of barbed wire in brush and between trees on a hot day at boomershoot elevations just takes it out of you. I drank well over a gallon of Gatoraid / water and did have to pee until the drive home.

On the good side- chance of a lawsuit being necessary or successful either way are just about zero. She encroached a little, but did minimal real damage. I put in a fence, goofed but did no damage at all, and fixed it as promptly as could possibly be expected  when she squawked (she called Sunday night, I had it surveyed and fixed by Tuesday afternoon), and I have witnesses (neighbors / helpers) that were there when I put the thing up the first time to attest to my good-faith intentions and information source (an inaccurate government source – go figure).

Don’t think I’ll need a lawyer at this point, but I’m open to being convinced.


13 thoughts on “Survey says….

  1. I’m not sure what “internet” records you’re talking about, but… in NH you can find what looks like property boundary maps in the on-line property tax records. But those things are really sketches, not accurate maps, and they do actually point out that they are not to be relied on. Deed descriptions and surveyed plans in the registry of deeds, on the other hand, are authoritative. So whenever I look at property, those are what I rely on and the tax maps are only for background.

    On chainsaws and brush: I’ve been clearing assorted juniper from our land recently, and found the right tool for that job. Not a chainsaw, but a brush cutter (in our case, a Stihl FS130, but they come in larger sizes/power too. You can put a saw blade on that, basically a coarse tooth circular saw, and that will cut very quickly through shrub or trees an inch thick, with care more than that. For modest size stuff like that it’s much faster than a chain saw, and much easier to handle too.

    • Yes, not the tax records, but something similar. Looks like “google earth” or aerial photos, overlain with the plat boundaries that have pop-up owner info. And, like I said, it looked like the one identifiable corner was dead on, or within a foot or so (it’s right on the drip-line of a tree). Well, now I know.

      Much of the property is fairly open. The place with heavy brush is where a fire burned through years ago, so it’s jack-straws with fallen timber, plus the brush growing up through/around it, and numerous patches of returning Oregon white oak. Short of a bulldozer or another fire, the only way through is a great deal of hard work. Next time I’ll bring the kids, and maybe work as a team -one lifts and pulls a major stem clear, I lop it, they toss it aside. Make one pass for brush, then one pass with a chainsaw where I cut, they toss the short logs aside. But do that AFTER I’ve tun a piece of twine or non-barbed wire along the line to follow, because trying to cut a straight line through that stuff (tall enough it obscures any post or marker within ten feet) is hard near impossible.

      • You’re referring to aerial imagery that’s been digitally photographed, and then geo-referenced, i.e., the photos are associated with a latitude/longitude.

        This allows the imagery to be stacked with data layers created in geographical information systems (roads, property lines, whatever) from a variety of sources. That’s likely what you used initially, basically they are an on-line GIS viewer. Most counties and states have them these days. Google Earth is just a commercial variation on this theme.

        But they’re only a starting point. Or a general reference. Nothing more..

  2. Border disputes aside, you say she’s been harassing you and your guests for hunting on your own land. Can we assume that will continue, or will a restraining order be necessary?

    • That is the million-dollar question. It is certainly possible, but with a fence clearly marking things, if they make a lot of noise and commotion just before and during hunting season… but are clearly on their own side of the line, how’s that legally play out?

      • They may be violating state law:

        77.15.210. Obstructing the taking of fish, shellfish, or wildlife–Penalty
        (1) A person is guilty of obstructing the taking of fish[, shellfish,] or wildlife if the person:

        (a) Harasses, drives, or disturbs fish, shellfish, or wildlife with the intent of disrupting lawful pursuit or taking thereof; or

        (b) Harasses, intimidates, or interferes with an individual engaged in the lawful taking of fish, shellfish, or wildlife or lawful predator control with the intent of disrupting lawful pursuit or taking thereof.

        (2) Obstructing the taking of fish, shellfish, or wildlife is a gross misdemeanor.

        (3) It is an affirmative defense to a prosecution for obstructing the taking of fish, shellfish, or wildlife that the person charged was:

        (a) Interfering with a person engaged in hunting outside the legally established hunting season; or

        (b) Preventing or attempting to prevent unauthorized trespass on private property.

        (4) The person raising a defense under subsection (3) of this section has the burden of proof by a preponderance of the evidence.


        [2001 c 253 § 30; 1998 c 190 § 24.]

      • I would assume they are allowed to make noise on their property. For that matter, you can make noise on yours. Target practice with a .50 BMG just far enough from whatever you have to stay away from would be a possibility.

        • The problem is that they are rarely there. They show up and are obnoxious during hunting seasons, and random other occasional times during the year. So making my own noise would not be helpful, unfortunately. And I’m sure they would say that I was acting threatening with it, so unless I’ve got full-time video of it all….

  3. See if it will settle down now. It’s the single hardest thing for humans to do but, do nothing, just wait.

  4. Just a reminder about my original question: Why do you think she is acquiring these properties? Also, have you confirmed she is one of those SJW types? (anti-hunting is a good clue)

    • 1 does the property come with mineral rights?
      2 what are the zoning allowances for small “ranches’ or subdivisions?
      3 is she a company officer for a land concern?
      4 it has occurred to me (if I had the funds) to buy contiguous properties for the purpose of having a large area. You know just to hunt and fish and camp and maybe build a cabin. I realize she doesn’t hunt but maybe she just wants it, to have it.

      Just ideas

      • It’s my understanding she has considerable (but not vast) inherited wealth (acquired in the not-too-distant past), and she doesn’t like hunters/hunting. She’d rather see the deer die from starvation, disease, and predation than 180gr at 2700 fps. So, being rich-ish, socially enlightened, and bored, what’s a person to do? I can’t read minds, but that what I’ve been able to gather from talking to locals.

        • Too bad you can’t engineer an up-close encounter with a cougar for her to ponder on. A close look at something in the wild that would like to treat you like lunch can be enlightening.

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