We’re all looking for that primo piece of whitetail property, but did you know that you can have it for free?
Truth is, some of the best hunting available can be yours without you ever spending a dime. I learned these tricks during my years in grad school when a pack of Ramen noodles was dinner and name-brand beer was “high class.”
If you follow these six simple tips then you too can enjoy in your own personal whitetail haven.
The Buddy Who Doesn’t Hunt
Chances are that you have a few friends who don’t share in the same excitement about hunting that you do. This isn’t always a bad thing, however.
Check your group of friends for parents, grandparents, second (or even third) cousins who may own a little bit of land. Odds are that someone in his or her family may have a farm or woodlot that your buddy has absolutely no interest in hunting himself.
Next time your buddy has to go to his family reunion, tag along and you may be next in line for blood rights to some prime whitetail woods.
The Garden Gate
Have you ever been driving along the highway and spotted that one garden on the side of the road that is fenced up like Fort Knox? It’s time to pull in, my friend, because those people likely have deer problems, and they will be more than happy to let you take some off of their hands.
Larger farms often have property leased out, but someone with a little less land and a deer problem are less likely to be claimed and more likely to be yours without a hefty downpayment.
So next time you are cruising the back roads, keep an eye out for trampled tomatoes and you may just have your next honeyhole.
Not in My Begonias!
Equally as hated as the vegetable garden intruder is the deer that chomps down on Ms. Smith’s prize roses. Many suburbanites spend thousands of dollars each year on landscaping and when a herd of unwanted ungulates invade and destroy their backyard masterpiece, they are more than willing to seek out a solution.
In some cases large lots back up to prime whitetail habitat so stopping by the next HOA meeting might be a wise move. Suburban bowhunting has become very popular in recent years with bruiser bucks taken each year in this fringe between man and wild.
If you don’t mind the occasional horn honking or the whine of a leaf blower, then this kind of hunting may be for you!
A Little Work Goes a Long Way
When some of us go knocking on farmhouse doors for hunting land, we often go about it all wrong. We may come off the wrong way and seem like we care for nothing more than a new place to hunt.
Truth is, that aging farmer’s hands don’t work exactly like they used to, and truth is he could likely use your help getting up those cows, stacking those bales, or simply stopping by to shoot the bull.
Next time you pass that old farmer, stop in and offer to lend a hand. Sometimes a little bit of work goes a long way. Once you get to know one another, casually mention your passion for hunting.
You may be surprised at what he has to offer. You may come out with a new place to hunt and a new friend all in one.
Public Land Isn’t Always Crowded
The sheer thought of hunting public land is enough to send some of us running with visions of woodlots filled with enough hunter orange to be seen from space! The reality is that there are literally millions of acres of public land out there waiting to be hunted, and much of it hasn’t seen a hunter in years.
The key here is finding those hard-to-reach places where few others will go. Landlocked parcels are great places to look. While some smaller property owners may not allow you to hunt, you’d be surprised at how many will let you cross their land to hunt public land if you simply ask.
Areas accessible only by water are another good bet. A canoe or small boat can get you to public land that rarely sees hunting pressure. Lastly, islands (where legal) can hold some giants, especially after local rifle seasons have been open for a while and big bucks have swum to refuge. Don’t count out public land when it comes to big deer. Do your homework and scout to find places where few others have trodden.
Finding access to new places for free really isn’t all that hard. My grandfather put it best when we used to ask for permission to coon hunt:
“Son, all they can say is no, and if you ask a hundred landowners and one says yes, that 1% success rate means you still have a place to hunt!”
Next time your hunting ambitions exceed far beyond your wallets reach, use these five tips to find your next buck of a lifetime.