A little backstory; my husband and I run a trapline (we catch raccoons for skins-and we make dog food from the rest).
We had been setting about twenty traps on my brother in law's property (a little over ten wooded acres with a creek) since the coons had been destroying his trash cans. Thin the herd a little.
Every morning, right around 5am, we would load up the trap tools and head out to check the line.
For a little over a week, we would hear sticks or leaves crunching just out of sight (the property is insanely overgrown in places and you are lucky to see five feet).
We would brush it off and keep checking the line; after all, we both had guns, and there is wildlife out there that is perfectly capable of crunching on a stick.
At one point, right before dusk while we were re-setting traps, I told my husband quietly that I smelled cigarette smoke.
It was getting dark so we headed out pretty quickly, since we rarely carried guns at night.
By this point we were both annoyed and a little concerned, because whoever was out there had been close enough we could smell them...but not see them. Being watched is always a little unsettling.
Several days went by without issue, until one morning I woke up feeling crummy. Dead of winter and I caught the flu. Well, when you farm and have a trapline, you don't get sick days.
I bundled up and we headed out, but when it came time to cross the creek (always fun at 5am, you had to balance on a dead tree while you carried a crap-ton of equipment) I stayed behind.
I walked along the creek where I could, and back onto the trail where I couldn't to give my husband a heads up if we had caught anything.
We are down to the last trap and I see something hauling off towards my husband, so I chamber a round into my .22 (for those of you who haven't been around guns, a .22 is basically rodent shot.
It would take a darn good shot to kill anything larger than a medium sized dog) thinking a stray dog is going after him.
But I stop short from yelling when I see something else moving. There is a man less than 10 feet from my husband, hiding behind a tree while his dog growls and snaps. He hasn't seen me.
I kneeled down, put the safety back on so I could safely look at the guy through my scope. He was older, maybe mid fourties, in ragged clothes.
I kept one eye on him and one on the dog, a large lab-mix who was still bearing it's teeth. My husband had his pistol out and was very slowly chambering a round in case the dog lunged.
It wasn't until the bullet clicked into place that the man stepped out very deliberately.
He didn't speak. Didn't call off his dog. Just stood there, staring at my husband. The dog is still growling.
"Can I help you? You're on private property and you need to get your dog before I shoot her."
"I used to hunt here."
"Sir, please get your dog."
"There was a deer stand here. I used to hunt here. Are you on the lease?"
"This is my brother's property and you are trespassing. Please put that leash on the dog."
"I used to hunt here. You didn't bring your wife today."
I see my husband scan my side of the creek, looking for me, before answering, "No I didn't. She has the flu."
"You need to go home to her then. You know I used to hunt here."
Then he whistles, the dog walks to him, and they walk off into the woods (not back towards neighboring properties, but onto timber-land where there are no roads or houses for maybe thirty miles).
Before he completely gets out of sight he yells back, "Tell your wife I will quit smoking."
Needless to say, we jabbed sticks into the empty traps and got the hell out of there. When we went to pull the traps out for the season, there were cigarette butts next to every single one.