One of the most difficult things to do is obtaining hunting permission on private ground. Several factors make it harder and harder to get access. First is the rise in hunter numbers taking to the field. Second is that landowners hunt themselves along with their family members. Third the landowners lease the hunting rights to an outfitter or individual. And last but not least is they plain just don’t want anybody on their land. All of that is the landowner’s right. But there are several things I do to gain access or what I do when scouting public land.
Obtaining Hunting Permission is Difficult
I have been fortunate to work as a Pipeline Tech for the past 11 years. Part of that job is working with landowners. Whether it’s to do a locate for drain tile, new fence or adding on to their current operation. Sometimes I just stop to talk to them as I’m driving down the road. One thing I always have in my pickup is a cooler full of cold water. If you see them out working a fence line stop and talk to them and offer a cold bottle of water. Start up a conversation with them and introduce yourself. Of course some will shrug you off. The key in obtaining hunting permission is to not get discouraged by that. Say HI when you see them and when they are in the mood to talk they will.
Do Not Ask Permission Right Away
Don’t ask for permission right away. Let them get to know you and you get to know them. I currently have a landowner that I’ve talked to several times. We have exchanged phone numbers and we talk on the phone once in a while. He owns and operates several hundred acres with some of the best tree belts in the area. I’m building up the trust and his respect before I ask permission. We’ve planned some work to do on his land after the crops are out this fall.
Many will say, “He’s lucky! He has a career like that!”. Not everyone does. Some of you are working the night shift, the factory or in an office. Putting in many hours so hopefully you can buy that new trail cam or new bow. So let’s talk about public land. Even though I hunt mainly private ground I will hunt public land. Some public land is better than my best private! Because it has cover, more acres, more tree stand options, and more waterholes. Not to mention I always look for it bordering crop land.
Use Google Earth
I’ll get on Google Earth to look at the land from a satellite image. Ideally what I like to do is get in the back of those areas where most “road hunters” won’t go. Get away from the other hunters. It’s worth it! Maybe that landowner won’t let you hunt but he’ll let you walk across his land to get to the back of that public.
When I’m driving gravel roads while working I’ll look at trees and even fence posts in the ditches. I’ve found those rubbed almost in half and several of those are within ¼ mile of public land. Of course I’ll go to the back of it and set up a trail cam to see what’s moving through the area. Most times that private land is just an area that they travel through at night. Look for those signs around your public areas and your private ground. Don’t be afraid to try new things or go the distance to get in the right areas. Make those contacts! It may take a year but that could be the best year you ever had.
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