NO LAND TO HUNT ON? HERE’S HOW YOU CAN CHANGE THAT
I think a lot of hunters, especially those who are new to the obsession, are in the same boat
that I found myself in not so long ago. They have a love and a passion for hunting, but no
permission to hunt or land of their own to go hunt on. Public land might not be an option, as there might not be any nearby or it might seem like too big of a beast to tackle, especially for newer hunters. Believe me, if this is you, I feel your pain. I’ve been there. But take heart, I have your solution.
The following steps are ones that I took to get out of that very situation. I encourage you to
take these steps TODAY and get on to worrying about which buck is going to be #1 on your
hitlist instead of whether or not you’re going to have a place to hunt this year.
Step #1: Make a list and ask everyone you know
Everybody knows somebody. Make a list of everyone you know who might be connected to
huntable land. After you’ve compiled your list of names, figure out how you can get ahold of each person. My recommendation is that you go and see them face to face. I’ve found that there’s just something about being and shaking someone’s hand and being genuine and honest that increases the success rate.
If you can’t ask everyone face to face, I would suggest you give them a call. If you can’t reach them by phone, another solid option is a handwritten note. Detail will vary depending on how well you know the person but write out who you are, what you want to do, and how you’ll do it legally and ethically. Be cordial and include your telephone number and a return of address. Work this list of names all the way through and there’s a chance you just might land a new hunting spot or two.
Step #2: Make a list and ask everyone you DON’T know
No one can use the excuse that they don’t actually know someone who has land. Even if
you’ve exhausted your list from above and still don’t have a hunting spot, there’s still hope.
What about that field you’ve driven by 100 times and see deer in every evening? This next step takes some guts, but if you’re willing to try it, you can be successful. I know this because it has worked for me.
Using Google Maps and the OnX hunting app, I found a handful of properties close by that I thought looked juicy and then went and knocked on doors. This might sound intimidating, but if you keep in mind why you’re doing it, the awkwardness will become an afterthought. Think about what you’re going to say and rehearse beforehand. Make sure you only do this during daylight hours. Never knock on someone’s door at night to ask if you can hunt on their property. I can almost guarantee you the answer will be a hard no.
If the property owner isn’t there, come prepared and ready to leave a handwritten note
similar to the one I mentioned in Step #1. In this case, since you’re going in blind, take your time and introduce yourself. Be respectful and use your best manners.
Write out what you’d like to do and make sure you include how you intend to do it in a legal and ethical manner. End it by thanking them for their time and saying how appreciative you’d be if they would respond to you. Include your telephone number and a return address. The handwritten note route really works well with some people, as a handwritten note is something you don’t see much anymore. I haven’t done this too many times myself because my first bet is asking face to face, but I will say that I have gotten a response 100% of the time when I’ve left a handwritten note addressed to the property owner in their mailbox or at their doorstep. Don’t expect that response rate, but just know that it works.
Beggars can’t be choosers, but try to focus in on areas that are close to you. Ten acres of
land that holds deer (or whatever species you’re hunting) ten minutes away can be worth more than 100 acres of land that holds deer 100 minutes away. Focus on getting permission to hunt those 10 acres that are close by. If/when you get permission, really spend time with boots on the ground figuring out how the deer use and move through the property. This will greatly increase your chances of being successful.
Remember, presentation is huge, especially when you’re on Step #2. Someone has to be
able to trust you before they’ll give you permission to hunt on their property. The first
impression you make with them could make or break your chances.
Be polite. Ask them what their condition(s) are. If they say yes, ask them where you should park, what time(s) of day you can come, etc. Thank them for their time and for listening to you even if they don’t say yes. I’ve been denied permission by someone before, but then got it the next year by circling around and following up with them. Be persistent, but don’t be pushy.
Most importantly, don’t get discouraged! You never give up on that giant buck, so why
would you give up on this? There will be many no’s, but when you get that yes it will all be
Lastly, as you are doing all of these things, keep in mind that doing them well can help
change any negative stereotypes or connotations that people might have of the hunting
community, which ultimately benefits us all. I sincerely hope this encourages you and helps you grow in your passion and love for hunting. Now get out there and use these steps to find yourself a place to hunt!
You can follow the author on his social media at @quarteringandaway