He Said, She Said: Family needs help with ‘redneck’ neighbors Print E-mail
Thursday, 10 September 2015
By Shaun and  Pamela Collins
Special to GUIDON
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My Family and I bought a house out in the backwoods of Fort Leonard Wood about two years ago. When we bought the place, the road was secluded. About a year ago, the cast of “Deliverance” moved a travel trailer in next door.  

I am okay with neighbors, but these folks are the worst neighbors ever. They have animals galore. Goats run wild and get up on our porch all the time. It is just usual to see to animal carcasses hanging from the trees – even in our yard.   

These people are crazy. The man of the house is constantly walking around with a gun. They drive their vehicles through the fields behind our houses all hours of the night and freely use my driveway as an access to the back pasture.  My wife and I have called the sheriff’s office. There was nothing they could do because the only law they had broken was occasional trespassing.

To top it off, the sheriff’s deputy was the neighbor’s cousin. I don’t know what to do. I fear talking too harshly to them because they are crazy and they always have those guns with them. We may be moving in a year or so and we will never sell the house at this rate.  What can we do about these folks?

HE SAID:  If nothing else, this should be a really great buyer-beware piece.

Whenever you purchase land in the country, you can pretty much expect people to live a “country” lifestyle, which includes things like raising livestock (and the associated odors), hunting, shooting, off-roading, etc.; so, if you don’t appreciate those activities, you might want to buy property in town.  

I know that doesn’t resolve your issue, it’s just something for other people considering buying a home to consider in areas with a good deal of rural land.  As you have discovered, when you live in the county, there is very little law enforcement or government can do to resolve disputes between neighbors … so, I suggest you not take an approach that will allow this situation to escalate into a situation that facilitates governmental involvement; like the Hatfield and McCoy feud.

You might want to venture down and meet them, introduce yourself and invite them to a barbecue or something.  You might discover they aren’t as crazy as you have assessed, they just may have interests that are different than the ones you grew up with.  Additionally, you might discover they are just good old fashioned country folks, who just may turn out to be great neighbors to have, should someone decide to come break into your house while you’re not home.  

SHE SAID:  If you have tried talking to them about respecting your land, privacy and potential safety concerns and they have been less than accommodating, you may have to invest in some fencing and gates to ensure they keep their craziness out of your yard.  

You know the saying, “tall fences make for good neighbors!” As long as they are not doing anything that endangers you, your Family or your animals, you are going to have to learn how to coexist.  

We own a little more than 100 acres of land and we rarely go a day without hearing the sound of gunfire, tractors, chain saws or other indications that our land is not next to city hall.  

If you don’t appreciate the freedoms people enjoy out in the back woods, you should probably resign yourself to the fact that it’s likely to be the same just about anywhere you live that is not within city limits and you might want to try selling your property sooner rather than later.  

There are a lot of people who love to hunt, fish, shoot and live off of the land (especially with the price of groceries these days), consequently you might be surprised to discover that you will in all likelihood find that your version of crazy might be somebody else’s version of heaven.  I’d suggest you try selling your property and find something in town where there are ordinances that prohibit many of the concerns you expressed.  Good luck.

(Editor’s note: Shaun and Pamela Collins were both career Soldiers with a combined history of military service spanning over a half of a century. They have been where you are, so if you are facing a difficult situation, ask them. Send your question to This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it This column and other original content from Mr. and Mrs. Collins can be found at http://militarysuccessnetwork.com. The opinions expressed are those of the writers and not necessarily those of the Fort Leonard Wood Public Affairs Office or the GUIDON.)
Last Updated ( Wednesday, 23 September 2015 )