Mudder's paradise is a farmer's frustration - KAIT Jonesboro, AR - Region 8 News, weather, sports

Mudder's paradise is a farmer's frustration

By Keith Boles - bio | email feedback

CRAIGHEAD COUNTY, AR (KAIT) - Over the past week, we have received about an inch and a half of rain with more on the way. For those who have ATV's and 4WD vehicles it is a mudder's paradise. However, the fun comes with a cost to farmers who are seeing their easily accessible fields being rutted and torn up.

Many fields are already green with winter wheat or prepared for cotton or other row crops. In addition, some of these fields were fertilized for this year's crops. The muddy fun can ruin the effect of chemicals on a field. Farmers are tired of the vandalism, and one local farmer who has a truck stuck in his field says he is considering pressing charges.

Surrounded by huge trees and tree stumps in a cleared field, David Hodges showed us the Jeep, that, "Didn't get away." Hodges says he is tired of people taking vehicles like this and tearing up his fields.

Hodges, "And we've had problems this winter just excessively with them getting into fields." Hodges says the periods of field damage seem to be cyclic. About every two years, he says, it seems to get worse.

"Mudding" is just something people do when you get this much rain, but when fields are getting leveled and prepared for the upcoming plant, it can put farmers out money and patience. A field may have to be leveled or worked again and applied chemicals lose the bond they have had on the ground when it is broken up by deep ruts.

"It's a double edge sword that I'm sure these guys don't think anything about when they are out there having fun." Hodges said. "Seems like it happens every weekend, Friday and Saturday nights. And some of my guys have come over here and sat waiting trying to catch them. Probably 90% of the time they get away with it but once in a while we catch one."

Hodges said Saturday morning he got a call from a person who was clearing one of his fields. He had discovered a jeep buried up to it's hubs. He decided to assist Hodges in keeping it there.

"He took his track hoe and strategically placed some stumps and tree trunks to prevent the guy from leaving with the vehicle." said Hodges. Large stumps and tree trunks that you couldn't move with a winch.

Mudding a field may seem like harmless fun, but Craighead County Sheriff Jack McCann says it's a crime. "It could be just trespassing but they could also be held liable for damages. There could be some pretty stiff penalties for it." McCann says they get a lot of complaints in the Winter, Spring and Fall when it's wet, but they rarely can catch someone in the act. They commit the crimes mostly at night.

Hodges, "I haven't made up my mind yet but I'm strongly leaning toward pressing charges."

He says they have put up no trespassing signs, drums with purple paint and gates.

"We've put up posts with cables at the entryways and a lot of times we've just had them back up with a chain and tear the posts out of the ground and go right on back in there."

Hodges' field isn't the only victim. Just up the road from KAIT, a wheat field shows the effects of joyriders both in large vehicles and 4 -wheelers.

Hodges, "They've driven out in the wheat and just cut donuts, cut ruts in the wheat. "

Some of the ruts are pretty deep which can cause drainage issues as well. Just up the road and across from the mired jeep, Hodges's newly-leveled fields have some pretty deep ruts. Again they appear to be from ATV's and larger vehicles.

We asked Hodges if he had talked to the Jeeps owner. Was he remorseful?

Hodges, "He's remorseful that he got caught."

The owner of the jeep told sheriff's deputies that he had a wrecker try and get the vehicle out.

McCann, "The wrecker couldn't get it out because of all the stumps surrounding the vehicle. And apparently the landowner isn't in any particular hurry to remove the stumps."

Hodges, "I told him that enough ruts had been made out here and when the ground dried up, then he could get his vehicle back."

With more rain in the forecast, that could be a while.

Copyright 2011 KAIT. All rights reserved.

  • Region 8 News</span><a class="customMoreLink" href="/Global/category.asp?C=4391" target="_top">More >></a>Region 8 NewsMore>>

  • Cash Police Department still stopping speeders

    Cash Police Department still stopping speeders

    Friday, September 22 2017 7:20 PM EDT2017-09-22 23:20:05 GMT
    Friday, September 22 2017 7:49 PM EDT2017-09-22 23:49:09 GMT
    (Source: KAIT)(Source: KAIT)

    The Cash Police Department in continuing to deal with speeders on Highway 226.

    The Cash Police Department in continuing to deal with speeders on Highway 226.

  • Son burned at football practice, mom raises awareness

    Son burned at football practice, mom raises awareness

    Friday, September 22 2017 7:28 PM EDT2017-09-22 23:28:37 GMT
    Friday, September 22 2017 7:47 PM EDT2017-09-22 23:47:06 GMT
    (Source: Anonymous)(Source: Anonymous)

    A Nettleton Junior High football player found himself burned in practice Wednesday after doing a drill on the surface of a hot track. His parent, who was outraged in the beginning, is now praising the school district for their quick actions to solve the problem.

    A Nettleton Junior High football player found himself burned in practice Wednesday after doing a drill on the surface of a hot track. His parent, who was outraged in the beginning, is now praising the school district for their quick actions to solve the problem.

  • BRTC Paragould campus to offer new welding course

    BRTC Paragould campus to offer new welding course

    Friday, September 22 2017 7:03 PM EDT2017-09-22 23:03:58 GMT
    Friday, September 22 2017 7:20 PM EDT2017-09-22 23:20:08 GMT
    (Source: KAIT)(Source: KAIT)

    Black River Technical College's Paragould campus has added a new welding course after seeing a need for more welders in the area.

    Black River Technical College's Paragould campus has added a new welding course after seeing a need for more welders in the area.

Powered by Frankly