Border Patrol run-ins

Kathleen Moon kmoon at
Fri Jun 25 12:57:57 EDT 1999

"Mary H. Shepherd" wrote:
> I was traveling in SE Arizona last fall with 3 other butterfliers.  We were
> driving along slowly and stopping to walk unfenced, non posted areas along a
> dirt road with binoculars and nets in hand.  We were approached by three
> different area residents within a half to 3/4 hour period and asked what we
> were doing.  We explained ourselves and each time the locals went on their way
> apparently satisfied we weren't a problem.  Within a half hour of the last
> encounter, we were literally chased down (approached from the rear at great
> speed down a graded dirt road in the middle of nowhere in open country) by two
> Chevy Suburbans containing 8 border patrol agents wearing bullet proof vests.
> They slowed significantly as they passed us and stared down into our car.
> They then did a U turn in the road and came back to talk to us.  We explained
> ourselves displaying our nets, binoculars and field guides.  The agents told
> us they had received a call from the Sheriff to check out some suspicious
> activity that had been reported by the local residents.  The agents appeared
> embarrassed and frankly disappointed as they bid us a good day.    Mary


I had earlier posted a message including the following:

> > >  Tell them ahead of time what yoiu are doing; that *should* work, but I 
> > > wouldn't put my life on the line over it.  I know a couple researchers 
> > > who were quite boldly harrassed by both NPS and FWS personbnel who were 
> > > firmly convionced that they were the only ones who could legally be
> > > in the area (the road between Canelo and Hereford).  With friends like 
> > > that, who needs enemies?

Like I said, ....  Tell them and it will have a lesser chance of
happening.  As for the local civilians, some know a butterfly or moth in
a researcher's or collector's net (whether you are an amateur or
professional matters little in this situation) from an AK-47 or an Uzi
in the hands of a drug-runner, but others don't.

Do I sound bitter?  Oh, maybe I do.  Sorry, but the scientific side of
education has not kept up even with spelling, reading and composition -
as bad as that side is, the sciences have suffered far more.  Who, for
example, has learned as much about insects in elementary or high school
as they have about mammals or birds?  The result is a disastrous "shoot
to kill, ask questions later" attitude that leaves us with spiders being
killed instead of being allowed to help control the harmful insects
around us.

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