security for rural property

Security Tips For Rural Property

Security for a rural property. It’s a bit different than home security for a typical suburban home. Lets talk about security tips to secure your rural property.

Many of you reading this may live on a rural property. And many of you may have significant acreage too. But what are the ways we can secure all that property? At least to a reasonable extent…

Why do I need to do this? Well, for a number of sensible reasons. Here’s a few…

  • A long and winding road to a rural property might be attractive to people looking for a spot to “party”.
  • Hunters, and even poachers, looking for a place to hunt (e.g. those without permission).
  • The criminal element looking for a place to rob.
  • Nosey people who want to see what’s down that private road.
  • Homeless or Immigrants looking for a ‘tent city’ spot, so to speak.
  • Post apocalyptic hordes.

Okay, you know all this. The reasons why its a good idea to secure your rural property as best you can. So, what can we do about it?

Tips To Securing A Rural Property

I will use some of my own examples what I have done, or do, to bolster the security of my rural property setting on ~30 acres. My private road is about 1/3 mile long. You cannot see any buildings on the property from the main road. However, that doesn’t mean you’re in the clear.

Driveway Alarms

I only have one access road in. Others of you may have more than one. I recommend a driveway alarm for any access road. This will alert you whenever a vehicle comes down your road. I’ve written about this, and will link the article.

To summarize, I do have two driveway alarms. One is further up the road compared to the other. When the first one chimes, I wait to hear if the second (closer) alarm beeps – indicating further intent to come all the way in to the property. Usually, it’s just a delivery, or someone we know. But not always…

And, it provides great peace-of-mind during the night. Although it can be annoying if our snow plow guy comes at 4 in the morning after a snowstorm!

[ Read: The Best Magnetic Driveway Alarm With No False Alarms ]

[ Read: Wireless Driveway Alarm Up To Half A Mile Range ]

Lots of Security Lights

Not just one. No way… More! Lighting up the night is a huge deterrent to anyone coming in to your rural property at night. No one who’s ‘sneaking in’ wants to be lit up like that.

I have a combination of solar motion lights and conventional AC-powered motion flood lights. Upon driving down my rural private road at night you will first be lit up by a particular solar motion flood light mounted up on a particular pine tree. It is very surprising to anyone who doesn’t know its there, because you’re in ‘the woods’ and all the sudden you’re bathed in light!

You can be quite creative and mount them nearly anywhere.

[ Read: Solar Motion Lights for Home Security – Mount Them Anywhere ]

I am a huge fan of the RAB Stealth motion flood light. They are mounted on all sides of my home. On the garage/shop building too. Since I ran underground power out to my chicken coop area, I also mounted a few RAB’s over there too.

Needless to say, if you decide to drive up to my rural property at night, you will be lit up along the way.

[ Read: RAB Motion Sensor Lights – Why They’re Best For Home Security ]

Security Cameras

The sky is the limit when you get into security cameras. There are all kinds and many unique attributes. The prices range from cheap to crazy expensive. The methods of connectivity are many. It depends what you’re looking to accomplish.

For me? I simply want to see what’s going on out there. And with the ability to monitor from a remote location. I’m not going to get into all the details. But my primary is an outdoor high resolution (4K) dome camera. It will record and alert (via a number of ways) when there’s activity.

Example: Let’s say the driveway alarms start chiming. Let’s say I’m in my office on the other side of the house. Instead of getting up, I can tap an App on my phone and instantly see what’s going on out there. Yup, it’s a UPS delivery.

There’s lots to discuss regarding security cameras. Note to self: I need to write some articles about it.

Rural Security – Walk Your Property Looking For Clues

What clues? Well, let me explain. I make it a habit to both walk and ride (4-wheeler) my property. Some of it is nearly inaccessible due to very dense forest (the black bears love it). I’m in a mountainous region with a combination of terrain. Open fields and woods.

I enjoy tracking. It’s fun. What am I looking for? Animal tracks. All sorts. I’ve come to know where the many various trails are that they have made for themselves. What I don’t expect to find are human tracks or signs of human. But if and when you do, well, it’s time to figure out why they’re there. Is it a security problem?

Have you found trash in a particular area? Signs of another ATV or vehicle?

As opposed to ordinary security, when it comes to SHTF security on a rural property, know the various ways that others may approach. Like I mentioned earlier, I’ve got one road in. However, what about the other directions? For me, there’s no way another vehicle could get in. Unless you had a logging Feller-Buncher and Skidder (lol). And for anyone on foot, given the forest, and a river (and a swamp way down below) in the way, there’s really not another practical way in. However, everyone’s rural property is unique. So just be aware of the various ways of access (even on foot), and focus more resources in those areas. Have a plan.

Signage

I don’t go all crazy in this area. Signs. However I’ll tell you what I do, and my plan.

There are all sorts of signs for Keep Out, etc… each with their own level of threatening or intimidating language. To each their own. Here’s what I don’t want to happen… the locals thinking I’m some kind of (fill in the blank) for posting all sorts of aggressive signage. I’m more of a ‘gray man’. I fit in, contribute, and volunteer to my local community.

However, I do have adequate signs in my possession. If-and-when I feel it necessary, I will post them.

What I do have up for signs right now are “24 Hour Video Surveillance” on the road, and “Video Security System” up by the house. No One with ill intent wants to be on video. Excellent deterrent. I’m sure that kind of signage makes sense to any local. Common sense security in a rural location. Rather than signage indicating that trespasser’s are going to blasted into oblivion.

Rural Security Dog

I don’t care what breed of dog, any dog could be a deterrent. Certainly a ‘scary’ looking big dog will be more ‘scary’. However even my little mini Dachshund can bark surprisingly loud! And they can hear someone coming even while in the house – when you don’t hear a thing.

Many years ago, one of my dear dogs was an Akita/Shepard mix. This dog was a security dog for sure. His name was Bandit. Here’s a picture…

RIP, Bandit

Drone For Security

A few years ago I bought a small drone. It’s the dji Mavic Mini. I self-justified the purchase, because I wanted a drone. What fun to launch it and fly around my property to look and see. This could come in handy from a security perspective. I can easily fly out to the main road, and look around. Or any other potential access areas. I think the furthest I’ve flown this particular drone is a little over a mile away.

You can see what’s going on in live-time, and, record everything as you fly. Play it back afterwards on a big screen for more detail (for example). Fly time on this one is almost 30 minutes. Depends how you fly it. Anyway, it’s another interesting tool for rural property security.

There’s a learning curve, and FAA rules to know and abide by, but it’s fun too. You don’t need to register it with the FAA if it’s under 0.55 pounds (250 grams) in weight. My Mavic Mini just squeaks in under this weight.

Security Gate

Lots of people have a gate on their private road into their rural property. Especially those who are seasonal. It’s an obvious effective means to keep a vehicle out of your property. However, one must consider the “what if” there’s a fire and how are they going to get in if they need to – if it’s locked (just one example).

A gate can be effective for normal use in-and-out of the property too – if you’re willing to get out and open / close it every time. Even if it’s closed but not locked, it’s going to deter most anyone from exploring down your road.

Weapons of Last Resort

Do you live rural? Then you probably have several (or more) guns. They are tools, and they are for sport. I use them both ways. There’s enough land here to have my own pistol range and 100 yard rifle range. It’s simply fun to shoot, though I wish ammo cost less (glad I stocked up before the crazy ammo shortages and prices).

Varmint control. Protecting your homestead chickens. Hunting. You name it. All sorts of choices here, as well as ammo. One thing that may be uncomfortable to think about is/are your weapons of last resort. In other words, for a worst-case scenario defending against 2-legged creatures. Most all of us probably have at least one of those most popular sporting rifles on the planet – you know, that one…

Though not for everyone (given the expense), have you thought about force-multipliers for that? Such as a helmet-mounted night vision device (e.g. PVS-14) to ‘see’ the laser emitted from something like a Holosun laser illuminator? (for example)

Anyway, lets hear your further thoughts on security for rural property…

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32 Comments

  1. Well Mr. Ken, I think you pretty much covered most of this subject. The only thing that I might add is have one or two neighbors with the same security mind set, that you can trust.

    As I recall, you did an article called ” Don’t fight from your front porch” a while ago which might also add to this.

  2. Another option is fencing. We opted for a living fence. At the time, cost was an issue so a conventional fence was out for us. What we did find is that we had these very thorny bushes. So over the years we trimmed, trained and directed where we wanted them to grow. It is so thick and wide in many places preventing everything but the smallest of creatures though. This living fence is in the shape of a “U” with our house seated at the bottom of the “U”. Really the only way in now is the driveway, making it easier to keep an eye on everything.
    Another benefit to this type of fence is that it doesn’t look like you have something to protect. I like to think of it as stealth fencing. As a kid I loved to breach any fence I came across just to see if I could, (I was a bit of a tomboy). I found the sturdier the fence, the easier it was to defeat, but thorny bushes or hedges had me stumped.
    Since it is a living fence there is very little maintenance and no cost to repair of replace like a traditional fence.

    1. If your growing zone is 6 or greater Trifolita is very effective. One inch thorns, ten feet high, and at least 6 feet wide make it very effective to foot traffic indeed.

  3. Please consider also that a single light defeats the purpose. Anyone “sneaking” would love those deep shadows between lights. If you’re going to light up the area around your house, make sure there are no shadow paths.

  4. During the winter months, collect all the big wasp nests. Hang them along the fence and in the trees at obvious headlight height. Spray them with clear waterproofing to protect them. Place empty beehive boxes along the road. Place signs warning about the “Lyme Ticks Active” and the “Warning Aggressive Bees in the Area” along the road. Place a couple old, high contrast target posters on trees where the headlights light up the distance. Hang a couple skunks from the tree trunks like trophies with screws through the eye sockets.

    1. This is awesome! A couple of decades ago I would put up a Beware of Dog sign in the front window when we left on vacation. Now I doubt it would work.

    2. Then there’s the “redneck burglar alarm.” A pair of size 20 boots, a dog bowl the size of a mixing bowl, and a note on the door stating: Went for more beer. The pitbulls are in the house so wait till we get home. They messed up the mailman this morning. I don’t think Killer helped, but hard to tell with all the blood. Be right back.

      Of course, this assumes that the “burglar” will stop to read the sign.

      1. Duke Grizzly #16 bear trap chained to a tree at the end of the driveway keeps me from having to open a gate. I can drive over it in the truck if I’m careful. Most walking the road won’t bother to try to step around it. Was thinking of mounting moose skulls on pikes.

  5. Timely article. Went to the iron yard today with DW in tow to look at corrugated metal for a wood cook stove wall shield. As we drove in she commented on “the pretty circles of metal” on the top of the yard gate. LOL. Yup, concertina wire. So I guess I’ll start scrounging for rolls of that as I come across them.

  6. Solar electric fence works well to keep the neighbors bull out of my pasture. Works well for humans as well. I have multiple cow bells on my entrance so I know if you are trying to get in.

  7. Minerjim,

    Coupla years ago I researched price on the internet for concertina wire and was surprised how reasonable the prices were…didn’t buy any, and can’t remember exact prices, but seems I remember around 50 cents a foot after expansion. Saw some video footage recently of California businesses that are putting up concertina wire to try and direct foot traffic in an effort to make ingress and egress harder for these smash and grab/store takeover robberies taking place. Might become hard to find.

    I have not bought regular barbed wire in several years, but still have several 1/4 mile rolls on hand of the cheaper “high tensile” lighter gauge wire…harder to cut with wire pliers, retains its “coil memory” when unrolled and not stretched. Coupla rows of it loosely unrolled on the ground with rebar stakes every 20′ or so might slow folks down a little

    1. Dennis,
      Good points. I have seen pallets of used concertina wire on govt auction sites in the past, but likely it will be snatched up now. As for your high tensile strength wire, I too have a good free source for that, and use it in the vineyard. (Hint to others: check oil field service companies to see if they have “used slickline” avaliable. They will usually give it away as scrap guys can’t deal with it.)

  8. We have occasionally found empty beer cans and trash on the east side of our property away from the road. It is the only part of our property not fenced yet, tho we will remedy that this spring. Someone is partying there. Until we fence I think I will check into the driveway alarms and install them at the road access point. There was a very old driveway from about 50 years ago; the rest is a pretty deep ditch. We cleared a lot of the trees, but not all so I think I could get a clear-sight line to the house from there. We already installed a lot of the solar-activated floodlights around the old barn, shop barn and the house. Occasionally I see them activated at night. Mostly deer tho…..so far.

    Ken, these articles are always so helpful to us. Thank you.

  9. Much of the theft I saw on farms and ranches were targeted type of thefts. One example is the farmer that had a love of classic automobiles. If he drove one of his beauties into town, he did not leave it unattended for long because people would try to take something from it. This is the same farmer that had people try to steal his classic Willy’s Jeep because it was one of the original war surplus vehicles given away at the end of WW-2.

    As a hunter, I soon found out why it was difficult to gain permission to hunt on people’s land: Some of the people I met through the years have been: poachers, game hogs, game wasters, jack-lighters (poachers that go out at night) These are the people I loved to catch as a Ranger. When I was a guest on the farms and ranches, I would report the actions of others I saw to the land owner and the local Sheriff’s office. By being an ethical hunter that knew the game laws, I was given the un-enviable task of punching out tags on depredation permits at those same farms and ranches. The 2 agencies that I knew the staff on a first name basis in my home territory were: the Sheriff’s officer that worked rural crime prevention and the local game wardens.

  10. Calirefugee,

    I’m going by media reports, which means there is a great chance they got their definitions/descriptions wrong. Reporting was that businesses were using concertina wire.

    Even some outlets selling it are, I believe, misrepresenting ordinary razor wire/tape as concertina. Concertina has every loop connected together on opposing sides of the loop to restrict how far the loops can be separated when stretched out.

  11. The solution to rural ranch/farm security: people and networking. Good people are hard to find. If you want access to rural areas to hunt, they have to know you. (sometimes for years). In small towns, word about good behavior and bad behavior gets around real fast usually at the local diner or place that makes good coffee. I was given the chance and opportunity by the ranchers because they knew my relatives that farmed. After I found out about the networking that took place at the local diner, I tried to behave well and never betray that trust.

    Part of that “job” of hunting on private land includes taking pictures of and reporting anything odd that you may discover on the outlying areas of the ranch to include: cut fences, meth labs within an RV of pup tent, piles of or an accumulation of stolen property, unattended trot lines along water-courses. Most often times: the “back 40” is used as a dumping ground if there is a public road nearby. Several times, I have found a crashed car and a dead body inside. (usually after a Saturday Night- some rural yahoos like to drink before they drive).

    This is why I became a civilian on good terms with local law enforcement. I send in reports on what was discovered on private land and the violators find out the the hills really do have eyes. It was rewarding to see a land-owner tell a game violator “no more hunting, wood cutting etc” because of activities you have been doing out here. This is my ranch. It is not your personal playground. At that point, I will advise the landowner change the combination of the keypad gate entry.

    1. Calirefugee,
      yup, good neighbors are indispensable. i’m lucky to have a fairly new neighbor (3 yrs now ) within 500 or so yards from the end of my driveway who is a retired sheriff deputy. a great guy and just a little bit nosy, but that’s good. he lives close to the road and watches everything.
      years of law enforcement, seeing first hand and dealing with all of the bad things that happen, coupled with the initial paranoia some city people have when moving to the country (it’s to quiet for many) makes him a keeper in my book. the first few months he wore my phone out haha. but he’s use to it now and he’ll stay.
      he’s on the same page as us and coming right along : )
      he has fit right in with our little community.

  12. Growing up on the central plains, we left keys in our vehicles because you never knew if a neighbor might have a vehicle or farm equipment breakdown and need to borrow your ride to make repairs if you weren’t around. We didn’t have any crime problems until we had an extended weekend for a big family wedding out of town. Pretty much everyone in the area knew the families from 3 farms in a row were going to be gone all weekend. Got home and 3 almost fully finished hogs were gone from the pen of 75. Since 1/3 of the hogs in the pen were my college financing project, I had to absorb 1 loss. There went most of my profit. Shortly thereafter, the meth problem began and vacant rural properties began to get used to “cook” the stuff. Also one of the ingredients in the process is a crop input. Situational awareness is essential at all times. Even the safest communities can have ne’er do wells show up with bad intentions at any time. My DH keeps telling everyone we are looking for only 40 acres for retirement because otherwise you need too many claymores. We all laugh at the joke but hopefully if TSHTF it will deter anyone from seeking us out.

    1. MamaLark,
      until about 15 years ago i didn’t know that the key could be pulled out of my truck, really. i never tried it.
      oh well, times change.

  13. Been waiting for the right thread to share this. Some folks will think I’m braggin’…some might think …”Oh, my goodness, that’s dangerous…she’s too young!”

    Coupla days ago, wife and daughter had gone to town (armed, by the way). My granddaughter and I had stayed behind. I decided to jump on the 4 wheeler, run down to the range and pop off a coupla quick rounds from my High Standard .22 mag pocket derringer…only two rounds…a quick double tap into the steel silhouette…then returned to the house….

    Only to find my granddaughter standing at the fence, scanning the pasture…her Heritage Bar-Keep revolver, still inside the pistol rug….”Pa Pa, are you OK? I thought you might need help!…you didn’t tell me you were gonna do some shooting!”

    ….I was sorta proud…knowing she was willing to back me up…but I also realized that some folks would be appalled that a ten year old had access to her own weapon, know how to use it, and probably safer than grown men with less training and discipline.

    I did explain that if she thought she might have to employ the weapon…uncase it before coming to the fight…….

    Now, before anyone attacks me for teaching my family (and yes, a pre-teen) to defend themselves (I doubt any of y’all would)…read the news…twice this week I’ve read of children defending their family, successfully, being attacked in their homes….with guns. I’m only upset with myself for not telling her my intentions to go to the range beforehand.

    1. Dennis – Nothing at all wrong with what you or she did……except for not telling her. Hope she scolded you, Lol.

        1. Dennis – In my opinion….. she was correct in not uncasing at her level of learning. She was demonstrating caution for safety sake and not immediately rattled. You have a very intelligent student there. I am sure she will be brought up to speed in short order. Good for you both.

          1. You should do it again and see if she comes out without the case ;-)
            My kids have been shooting since they were big enough to hold a firearm.
            My oldest is away at college and just turned 21 so I got the send (transfer) his two handguns to him. :-)

    2. Dennis,
      good for her and for you. she has been taught right.
      it seem’s as though she has had a better head start in life than most kids.
      you should be proud.

  14. I remember reading a novel a couple of years ago that had a sign idea that I stole. On the back side of the property that bordered on public land they posted “Danger – Shooting Range” signs to deter trespassers. The shooting range signs don’t have the potential legal/criminal liability that the “trespassers will be shot” type of signs do and get the message across more effectively in my opinion.

    1. I like it, thinking of putting an actual shooting range adjacent to the trail next to my property. The signs might work better if they always hear fire. :-)

  15. Reply to not so sure: I live in the burbs and I have several yellow jacket nests close to the fence line in my yard. These are a ground-nesting wasp and my yard is chemical free so I “control” them by using passive traps only when they are too close to the house. The passive traps are a bit of a visual deterent to folks that walk by my “back 40” when they see yellow jackets buzzing around the fence area. I also plant some flowers around the yellow jacket/fence area because yellow jackets are pollinators.

  16. If you do have a real long driveway with blind areas, consider building a security zip line. Make a zip line for a security robot to drive up and down the line. It would make a fun summer time project to build an Aurdino based robot with a security camera that can drive down the line, giving you real time updates of what is out there.

    You can go as wild with features as you want, with pan and tilt cameras, spotting laser, speaker and listening subsystems, solar chargers, face recognition, spooky glowing eyes, thermal imaging or spot lights.

    Get a good lithium battery minder system and ground fuse the radio subsystem via the suspension cable to the same ground as your transmitter-receiver for range extension. Next time you are on a ski lift, look at how their cable trucks roll over the suspension points. Your trucks would be powered and should have an ice breaker set to clear the ice on the cable.

    Your robot should have solar feeding areas with winter time sun exposure or contact charge sheltered areas to park and top off the battery. If you have blind wifi areas, you may need video buffering. On real cold days you may need to use heaters on the lithium batteries to keep them alive. Some systems use push-pull cables to drive robot back and forth and the robot just switches the attachment point between the out cable or in cable.

    1. Reply to not so sure,
      i use 3 dogs and all i have to do is feed them. a border collie, a mountain cur and a real mean old mixed breed, half dalmatian and half bulldog, we call her Spuds. she has the black patch over over one of her eyes.
      if anything comes within hearing distance to them, i know it.
      persons, rabbits, deer, squirrels or jaybirds. : )

      1. Hello nyscout,
        That border collie is smart enough to take commands from a vest mounted camera with voice control. Left, right, forward and come home commands with a phone linked speaker system and an automated snack dispenser. She would be envied by all the other dogs.

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