Sundae Horn
Sand cowboys!
Sand cowboys!

The Bundy Ranch extends its anti-government protest to Ocracoke's beach.

On Wednesday morning, twelve heavily-armed men and one woman drove to South Point and decided to stay. They are camping out in protest of the federal policies that protect birds and turtles and subsequently cause temporary resource closures to Ocracoke's best surf-fishing spot. 

"Free and Open Access!" is their rallying cry. 

Fresh from their armed standoff with the law at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, the militia is pumped with their success at bringing Washington, D.C. to its knees. 

"We helped those people in Oregon and turned the refuge over to the people, and now we want to help the poor, downtrodden folks on Ocracoke," said Junior Bundy, one of the few members of his family not currently in police custody. "We're not leaving until there's beach access for everyone, everywhere, anywhere, anytime, and in any vehicle!"

In spite of their good-guys-with-guns posturing, visitors to South Point have been wary of the militia.

"It really makes me uncomfortable to see all those guns at the beach," said one local shell collector who frequents South Point. "I feel like now I need to go to the north end to find Scotch bonnets, and that's a real inconvenience to me."

Another visitor expressed concern that the militia will scare away peace-seeking beach lovers like herself. "You just don't want to think about guns during a a nice sunset walk on the beach," she said. "That's bad for Ocracoke's reputation."

"I'm terrified," said a local mother, who is very active on Facebook in posting about her support of gun control. "I can't sleep at night knowing these lunatics have brought so many loaded guns and extra ammo to our tiny island. My family is staying away from the beach until they're gone." She also expressed hope that Obama would take them out with a drone.

Militia Occupies South Point


"Those guys are nuts!" said a visiting young man who came to Ocracoke for his spring break. "They really know how to party!" After years of being chased off the beach at 9pm, the jump-on-the-bandwagon supporters of the militia are enjoying driving their pickup trucks and SUVs around wildly all night long, doing donuts in the wet sand. 

"We figure we had about 10 village people out here last night," Junior said. "We're getting bigger every day!"

He also admitted it was more people than they'd expected. He's hoping someone will bring more chocolate, marshmallows, and graham crackers because they are running low on s'mores supplies. 

"Please send snacks!" he pleaded in a Facebook post.

Militia Occupies South Point

And what is the law enforcement response to this act of domestic terrorism?

"They won't last long out there," said the ranger on the scene at the entrance to South Point Road. "There's no shelter, no fresh water, no food, and I've heard they all forgot to bring sunscreen. Someone also told me their beer is getting warm."

Because it's pre-nesting season, and South Point isn't closed, the Park Service is allowing the usual ORV-permitted vehicles to access the beach, though warning them to stay away from the militia group. Rangers are stationed at the ramps to ensure that the militia members can't get by without being ticketed for not having an ORV permit.

"No, we won't arrest them for terrorism," the ranger said. "But we will fine them for not having permits, for being on the beach at night, for having beach fires in the wrong place, and for camping in a non-designated area. We don't want anyone to get hurt, so we are waiting them out, but we will stop them as they go by."

The rangers are sure that the storm forecasted for late Friday will force many of the militia dudes to seek shelter in the village.

"Yeah, they think they're tough 'cause they were out in Oregon in January, but they were mostly inside buildings. They have no idea what that wind can feel like down at South Point," said another ranger. "Those big cowboy hats are going to fly right into the surf!"

Meanwhile, the militia has vowed to stay at South Point until the Park Service surrenders the land and returns it to its original owners. Philip Howard has already contacted Junior Bundy to put in his claim.

"At one point, my ancestor owned the entire island," Philip explained. "I'm ready to take it back." Philip stopped short of saying he was willing to die for the cause. "I don't want it back that bad," he admitted. 

Even though the Ocracoke people aren't going to fight NPS to the death for access to South Point, luckily, there are perfect strangers willing to put their own lives on the line for O'cockers' rights. 

Cartoons like these helped convince the Bundys that they need to save Ocracoke
Cartoons like these helped convince the Bundys that they need to save Ocracoke

"Freedom Isn't Free!" Junior Bundy said. "And the only good turtle is a turtle in a pot with potatoes and onions!"

He says he will only leave Ocracoke as a victor or victim.

"Either we get the beach back, or we die trying," he said, clearly missing the irony that fewer and fewer people are coming out to the beach because his group is there. 

The Bundy Militia is also planning to join CAVE

"We're not really joiners," said one beach cowboy. "Unless it's a really good cause, like fighting a losing battle against the United States government or bitching about the ferries on Facebook."