Blazing the land sounds like I am setting fire to land doesn't it? Well, not literally, but perhaps figuratively. Mr. Fix-it and I want our adjoining property owners and their guests (read hunters) to understand where their property ends and ours begins. Blazing is a term used when people paint their trees in such a manner that you can see the 'blaze' all along the property boundary. In theory people will understand that property is private property and if it is posted hopefully those people will not trespass.
We own just over 59 acres which is in two tracts separated by a dirt road. There is a seventeen acre tract bordered on three sides by three roads, then there is the 42 acre tract bordered on two sides by two roads. It is the other two sides that run through the forest that we recently blazed. Property along a road is easy to identify but when in a forest there are no lines and all the trees look alike! Blazing is the solution and what a job!
There is no easy way to blaze land. You must walk the whole property line. For us it meant walking down the center of a running stream (you can see the stream in the left corner of the above picture), climbing hills and ravines, and traversing several hills in the undergrowth of a forest. The whole process to blaze those two sides took us five hours but what a wonderful five hours! Just being a part of nature and enjoying that stream and knowing we marked our property very well is a good day. Mr. Fix-it and I will never forget our fun!
Tools required to blaze include: survey of the property, paint (the color your choice--we used 'Taxicab yellow'), 'Posted' signs, stapler, a paintbrush, range finder, and perhaps a metal detector to find the property pins. At first I thought I could get away with a basket that had wheels to haul all of our supplies. It did not take me long to trash that idea. Plan on backpacking all of your supplies. You cannot easily roll wheels over the rough terrain you will normally find when blazing a property in Tennessee.
Property pins are normally rebar or fence poles. In our case all of our pins were 1/2 rebar. This information is noted on the survey. In the above picture you can see one of the property pins (it is where the yellow arrow points to). Just above the pin on the tree is the blazing our adjacent property owners had done to their property. This property is owned by some kind of corporation and is leased to a hunt club. There should be no reason why any hunters would pass this blazed property boundary and it is possible the hunters don't (does a bear poop in the woods??)--do you get my drift? I would hope that the hunt club owners/operators would brief the hunters as to what property they can hunt on and what kind of marking annotates the property, but I don't know if they do or not. To be on the safe side we also marked this tree with our very own taxicab yellow paint.
Generally you mark the trees on the side facing away from your property. This is assuming you know where your boundaries are. We blazed two slanted yellow lines on the trees facing out from our property. On the back side of the trees we painted a dot so we would know the tree was the boundary from our side. If we found a tree with a property pin in it we painted a P for pin on our side so we would be able to find the pin easily the next time we had to walk the property.
We were very fortunate with our new property in that we received a valid survey (less than ten years or so--ours is only five years old). I actually was able to call the surveyor who told me to look for his marks on the trees from when he blazed the property five years ago. He blazed the property using red paint. This red paint along with the adjacent property owners white paint made it quite simple for us to find our boundaries and all of the property pins. You can actually see some of the red paint on the tree I am blazing in the above picture where I am painting the tree. These were also the trees the adjacent property owners had blazed-primarily. We wish we had known that before carrying the metal detector with us for a mile through the woods!
In addition to blazing the property boundary if you do not wish for hunters and others to come on your property you must post a sign stating that fact. We used yellow signs like the one posted below. These signs should be posted to trees or other immovable objects about chest height every 150 yards. The signs should face outside of your property and not be obscured by trees. We posted these probably every 150 feet or so. Even if they by chance get ripped off the trees the fact that the trees are blazed will not allow anyone trespassing to have the excuse they did not know they crossed property boundaries. A good to know bit of information in the Tennessee hunting guide:
In Tennessee, state wildlife laws have always required hunters and trappers to obtain permission from landowners to use private property. In fact, it is advisable to get written permission to hunt and is required to trap.
Therefore, if your property is blazed it is clear it is a different property and most likely NOT the person's own property--therefore you should not--must not enter the private property without permission. On our land we will not give permission and have posted signs to that effect. Signs like this may disappear but ensuring they are posted on all entry ways to your property along with your blaze marker puts the onus on the trespasser-I would think. We have posted these signs and our two yellow stripes on all entrances to our property as well.
of the garden....
Let it be on record Mr. Fix-it and I are not against hunting. We are against strangers traipsing all over our property with guns and these same people have shown they have little respect for the land or for the owners of the land. They seem to be on a mission and to heck with anyone who gets in their way. Many hunters may well be responsible but from what we've seen on our property this is not the case. There are many carcasses, shotgun shells, and trash and litter everywhere and also damage. It is not a responsible hunter that kills a deer only for the antlers. We have found evidence this is happening in our area and on our property. So as to prevent any confusion amongst not only hunters but the wildlife enthusiast the 'No Trespassing' signs are the way we have decided to handle the situation. No trespassing will clearly mean no hunting. Most responsible people will understand that and for the most part Tennessee has fairly responsible hunters in that they are safe and mostly law abiding. For those who are not law abiding, then no matter how much blazing we do or how big a fence we put up there would be nothing that would stop the trespassers-until they are caught. At any rate, this is how we have decided to handle the situation with our property. Any positive experiences with blazing private property would be greatly appreciated! I will not entertain negative ones from hunters and the like. It is not my problem you have been hunting the land for years and it is great property or whatever. We pay the taxes, we own the land, we choose how we use our land like any property owner can choose to use his or her land. 'Nuff said.