As long as there has been hunting in this country, land owners have had to deal with trespassers illegally hunting and harvesting animals on their land. Whenever you catch someone on your property it always amazes me how many ways people try to justify being there. I have heard everything from I am tracking a wounded deer, to the property owner gave me permission.
The first step is to post your property with as many signs as it takes to get the message out to any would be trespasser. Take time to roam your property and identify the most likely ways someone can enter and exit your land. Posting your property is one of the most basic defenses against trespasser. It also establishes a clear legal boundary and rule that you do not want other people on your property and you will prosecute those that cross the line. I generally post a “No Trespassing” sign every 20 to 30 yards. In entry and exit areas, I post signs every five to ten yards. I want to make it very clear that no one is supposed to be there.
The next thing I like to do is plant natural high vegetation were possible to protect my land from passers by, who are trying to get a glimpse of the deer that are on my property. Don’t worry about the deer, they will have no problems getting through. I like to use fast growing evergreens. They are generally economical to purchase in large quantities and grow a few feet per year. Avoid using bamboo. While it does grow extremely tall and fast, it quickly can spread and grow out of control rapidly. It requires a lot of maintenance and up keep to prevent it from getting out of control and taking over your property.
Use your trail cameras not only to track the deer on your property, but also to keep track of who is coming and going on it as well. Use as many cameras as you can afford to run. You never know what or who you might find. Most states require evidence to prosecute trespassers. Nothing is better than a time stamped photo in court. I also take photos of people I find on my property as well as their vehicle and license plate.
The next thing that I do, is to not plant for food plots along the road where others can easily see them. I try to hide them behind a hedge row or a thicket of trees when I am close to roads. I try to avoid putting food plots along the road, but sometimes it is unavoidable.
Consider different ways to control access points, as a way to prevent entry to your property. This might mean putting up some gates on your private roads or adding fencing. I have also seen people stack logs across entrance ways they do not use as an inexpensive way to prevent any sort of vehicle entry.
Finally, before you purchase a property and at the very least after you buy a property get out and meet your neighbors. You might find that it is easier to fight trespassers when you work together than trying to do it alone.
As you deal with trespassers one thing will always remain true. No matter what you do, so people will still cross the line. When you have put the time in to prevent people from entering your property, you have to be willing to prosecute trespassers. Once you start prosecuting trespassers word gets around quickly and you will see a generally reduction in the number of repeat offenders. Always take pictures with your cell phone and use the time stamp and location feature on your phone this will help local law enforcement convict your trespasser.