This Happened to Me: The Police Raided My Deer Hunt Leave a comment

WHAT STARTED as a traditional morning within the deer woods turned out to be the scariest day of my life. It was March 2020, and my pal Billy Phillps and I have been searching one of many suburban properties we now have permission on in northern Virginia.

Our state has an prolonged city antlerless season that ends in late March, and this explicit hunt occurred proper after the state of Virginia introduced the “Keep at House” order through the early Covid-19 pandemic. That individual order allowed you to go away house for a few causes, and searching was considered one of them.

We have been searching in a neighborhood of multimillion-dollar properties on three- to five-acre heaps, and the property we have been on that day was a double lot of 10 acres whole. In our world, that’s humongous. 

We parked on the finish of an outdated driveway and walked a brief option to our searching spots. We climbed into our bushes to arrange about 100 yards from one another, with Billy nearer to the vehicles than my stand. Then, simply as daylight broke, I noticed the lights of a automotive close to the place we parked. I appeared by way of my binos and noticed that an older Ford Taurus had pulled up. I bear in mind pondering, Oh, that is form of odd.

Billy Phillips and the writer (proper) after a bowhunt within the suburbs surrounding D.C. Greg Kahn

I texted Billy. “Are you able to see the vehicles?” 

“Yeah, I’m taking a look at them,” he texted again.

Then I noticed Billy’s truck mattress mild activate. 

“He’s in my automotive,” Billy texted once more. “I’m getting down.”

At this level the solar was totally up and we may clearly see our environment. As Billy descended his tree, I noticed a police officer in full uniform coming down the little hill towards us with an M4 in his arms. I pulled out my cellphone to document footage, the form of video that claims, Take a look at the bizarre issues we take care of whereas searching within the suburbs.

Then I spotted the cop had his weapon shouldered and was pointing it at Billy. He was screaming at him. 

“Get on the bottom! Get on the fucking floor!” 

What he was saying was regarding, however the pressure within the officer’s voice was worse. Billy was packing up his sticks because the cop approached. If Billy had rotated whereas holding the sticks or if he nonetheless had his crossbow in his arms, I don’t even need to take into consideration what might need occurred.

“The place’s your buddy?” the cop began yelling, getting much more aggressive. “The place’s your buddy?”

And I’m like, “Sir, I’m over right here.”

“Get out of the fucking tree,” he yelled. 

“OK,” I replied, “it’s going to take me a minute.”

“I didn’t ask for suggestions. I instructed you to get right here.” 

The cop screamed at each of us the entire time it took me to get down. Once I walked as much as the cop, he spoke into his radio. 

“You possibly can take the weapons off them now.”

We have been clearly perplexed, and he defined that he had snipers within the woods with their rifles educated on us. 

“What’s going on right here?” I requested. “What is occurring?” 

“Shut up,” he instructed me. “I’m asking questions right here. Fingers in your head and switch round.”

I saved persisting with questions, making an attempt to determine why we have been being searched at gunpoint and who this police officer was. The person wouldn’t inform us something and proceeded to pat us down.

“I’m not an everyday cop,” was all he stated. “I’m a particular cop.” 

When the officer requested us what we have been doing at this property, we defined that we’re deer hunters and that we had permission to be right here. I pulled up the signed permission slip from the landowner and confirmed it to him. Then I requested once more what he was doing right here. The officer instructed us that they noticed us on a UAV—an unmanned aerial automobile. He was suggesting he had a navy drone 30,000 ft above us, which is totally ridiculous for our county or most any police division. 

“That is Fairfax County,” I stated. “What are you speaking about?” 

His demeanor shifted and he obtained much less aggressive—particularly once I requested him why he was going by way of our autos.

“You had a wire on the ground, and I believed it was a bomb,” he stated to Billy. Billy defined that he works in landscaping, and that he has sprinkler-head parts in his truck.

By now we have been beginning to get nervous, and I seen the officer’s uniform didn’t look fairly proper. There was one thing off about him. We saved asking why he was looking out our vehicles with out trigger, and why he was on personal property. 

Then he simply left. 

He didn’t give us his card or a proof, and no different officers confirmed up. After the adrenaline of getting a gun pointed at us wore off, Billy and I ran by way of what had simply occurred.

two hunters haul deer onto truckbed
Chamberlin (left) and Phillips on a traditional day within the Virginia deer woods. Greg Kahn

I instructed Billy that I believed the man should be impersonating legislation enforcement, as a result of the entire interplay simply didn’t sit proper with me. Billy and I mentor a number of cops who’re studying to hunt, and we’re big supporters of police normally. Thoughts you, this was when Covid lockdowns have been at their peak, and there was mass civil unrest all through the nation. The very last thing we wished to do was blast the police.

Nonetheless, we wanted solutions. We despatched the quick video clip I had recorded to some of our police officer buddies, and one referred to as me immediately. He defined that it didn’t look proper, and that what occurred isn’t commonplace police process. He requested the place we have been and made just a few cellphone calls to see if he may discover out any particulars for us.

When my buddy referred to as me again, he was laughing so exhausting he may barely converse. The person who had simply ordered us down from our bushes at gunpoint was certainly a police officer generally known as the division’s Tackleberry. (Within the Police Academy films, Tackleberry is a tryhard who’s overzealous in his enforcement.) This explicit police officer had been on desk obligation and was despatched out on patrol because of scheduling points attributable to Covid.

My buddy realized that the officer had gotten rotated, thought he was at a park, and that we have been doing one thing unlawful. Billy and I had a gathering with the man’s captain, who apologized profusely. We determined to go away it at that.

Learn Subsequent: Deer Searching Each Day within the Suburbs of Virginia

It was a terrifying and complicated ordeal whereas it was occurring, however now that just a few years have handed, it’s simply one other loopy story from our time searching the D.C. suburbs. Right here’s this man who thought he was busting the largest crime ring of all time and as a substitute ended up almost arresting a pair rednecks in camo.

Learn extra OL+ tales.

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