Last week during my visit to Wisconsin, I had a conversation with two managers of manufacturing facilities. The conversation turned toward deer hunting and eventually the topic of living in the country came up. The manager from Alabama said, “When I was buying my house and land, I gave my Realtor only one requirement. I told her I wanted to be able to “pee” off my porch.” The manager from Wisconsin said, “my house is in the woods and I can “pee” off my porch.”
Please understand I have wanted to write about this for a few months, but figured my wife would never let me actually post it online. My aim here is not to be uncouth, but to address one of the most important aspects of owning rural land: privacy.
I love living in the country. I am writing this article from a shooting house on our land overlooking several hundred yards of food plots we planted back in October. It is my expectation that no other hunter will show up during my time in the woods today. I grew up hunting public land and wildlife management areas, and it was not uncommon to encounter other hunters while afield. Now that I live on my in-laws’ farm, I do not have to share my good hunting spots with everyone.
One of the most essential elements of land ownership is the right of quiet enjoyment. This covenant is generally made when land is transferred from one owner to the next. The right of quiet enjoyment is the promise that you will be undisturbed or that there are no hostile claims against your property. Simply, it means that the property is now yours and you may do what you like within the confines of the law.
Quiet enjoyment is foundational to freedom in our society. Rural land offers the best atmosphere for privacy. Each week I see scores of vehicles drive down to Perry County where I live with four wheelers or UTV’s in tow; each driver trying to escape the clamor and cramped cities where they spend their week. As schedules allow they migrate out to the countryside where one can really soak up the quiet and let their hair down.
I get the sense that people enjoy being in the country for the same reasons I do. The countryside is much more relaxed when it comes to dress code or social etiquette. This seems to be instinctive, and even when I am showing land a spark appears in a prospective buyers’ eyes as they walk a piece of property. My customers often have a moment of privacy while they are on the land. This isn’t limited to men; two of the prettiest women I have ever shown properties asked to be excused while previewing a rural tract. Most people would not venture this in their neighborhoods. Out in the woods you have more freedom from social restraints.
John Eldredge makes the case that men (and many women) are “Wild at Heart”. There is an innate sense of freedom that we experience in the country. Private land ownership affords us the option of escaping and excluding others and quietly enjoying what belongs to us. Privacy is a rare commodity in large cities and certainly not found in a TSA line at some crowded airport. Maybe a trip to your piece of the country is just what you need to recharge your spiritual, emotional, and physical tanks. Now get out there and make your mark on your piece of the countryside.
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