A long, long time ago, when Gameboys were black and white and Pokemon was first popular, I was the proud trainer of a pretty ferocious Charizard.
My brother and I were obsessed with Pokemon, spending as much time playing as my parents would allow.
When I saw the new Pokemon Go game was released, I couldn’t help but smile thinking of how many adults my age were rekindling their childhood love of catching and training those little virtual creatures.
So why on earth am I writing about Pokemon?
Because my news feeds are blowing up with news stories about people playing Pokemon Go and wandering their way into trouble!
Which got me thinking, what’s an easy way that a Pokemon Go player could get themselves into trouble in the rural area where I live? Wandering around on a farm.
Here’s a few reasons why:
First of all, its important to respect private property laws. If you wouldn’t wander into a stranger’s living room to catch that Jigglypuff, then you shouldn’t wander into their barn or crop field.
Plus, you don’t want your Pokemon hunting to end with a conversation with your local law enforcement. If a farmer sees a strange person wandering around on their farm, chances are the police are going to end up involved.
A farm is a business
Would you go into a department store and walk all over all of the folded clothes they’re selling until you caught that Growlithe?
Of course not! That would be extremely rude and damaging to the product they’re selling.
What if it was a field of corn or soybeans?
Wandering around a crop field, stepping on plants and knocking over corn stalks is damaging the product that farmer depends on selling to support their family.
What seems like a simple hop over a fence could leave you seriously injured.
First of all, the fence itself could hurt you.
It might be made of barbed wire (a type of fencing with sharp metal pieces that can easily cut you) or it could be an electric fence. Trust me, if it’s shock is strong enough to deter a 1,000 lb animal that means its not going to feel too good to you either!
Speaking of animals, you should never get in an animal’s pen without permission from the owner.
When an animal encounters a stranger, they are often frightened will probably do one of two things: run away from you or charge at you. Either way, you or the animal could easily wind up seriously injured.
Even if a pasture looks empty there could be an animal in it. During the summer, most livestock like to hang out in the shade. So while you might not see that bull hiding out at the edge of the woods, he sees you.
So is it ever ok to hunt Pokemon on a farm?
Sure, if the farm owner gives you permission.
During your conversation, be sure to ask if there are any safety concerns you should be aware of (aggressive animals, sinkholes, electric fences, etc…)
Don’t assume that you have permission to return and hunt again whenever you want. Things could have changed since the last time you were there. An area that was once safe for you to wander around might not be anymore. Always speak to the farm owner before you go out onto their property.
Most importantly, respect the farm and make sure not to damage anything.
Hopefully these tips will help protect both you and your local farms on your quest to catch ’em all!