Here’s how to ensure you have a place to hunt before the season begins.
One of the trickiest parts of hunting is actually finding a reliable spot to do it in, without a bunch of hassle, money and know-how. It’s also one of the biggest barriers that prevents folks from getting introduced to the sport.
Here are ten of the best ways to find the information you need to understand how, when and where you’ll be hunting this fall.
View the slideshow to see the ten best ways to find a place to hunt.
1. Reach Out To Your Network and Use Social Media
The best way to get on some good hunts or find a property fast is by asking your network. Reach out to old hunting buddies and see where they’re hunting these days. Ask your co-worker that wears the “Deer Fear Me” shirt on casual Fridays. The quickest way to do this might be to go through your online social networks.
PRO TIP: While logged into Facebook, click on this link to see a list of your friends that like hunting (and then ask to tag along on their next trip!)
2. Visit Your State’s Official Wildlife Resource Site
Your state’s official wildlife site (a place you should be familiar with in general) is not only a good place to find regulations, rules, season dates, and apparently license plates, but it’s also a great resource for finding public hunting land and information on public draws. Find your state’s official site by visiting the NSSF’s interactive map or checking out this complete list of state hunting resources.
3. Check Out Federal Reserves and Refuges
If you can’t find information at the state level, you can try at the national level. The National Wildlife Refuge System has searchable database of huntable U.S. reserves and refuges. If you’re more into wing shooting, you can search the NSSF bird preserves here.
4. Search Online Classifieds (CraigsList)
Although you should beware of scams, online classifieds sites like CraigsList can have some decent hunts and leases pop up. Because this is such a cheap and easy way of searching, competition is usually pretty high, so the lower quality or crazy expensive hunts are the only ones left over.
PRO TIP: Use CraigsList’s advanced search operators to filter out the junk and find better results. Learn how to use them here.
5. Check Your Traditional Local Classifieds
It may be antiquated to you, but some landowners out there still haven’t “got with the times,” so you can find some real hunting gems in your local paper.
Luckily for you, most newspapers, in order to make more ad revenue, post their print classifieds online in searchable databases. Find your local news publication’s website and search through the classified section.
6. Let Google Do The Work For You
Sure, anyone can use Google to find stuff. But finding hunts that way can leave you a minute late and a dollar short. You need to find hunts the second they’re available!
If you have a Gmail account, you can set up “Google Alerts” that will email you as soon as Google has indexed new content that you’re interested in. That means you can have Google tell you when new links about hunting show up. You can set the alert frequency to email you as it happens, daily, or weekly. Here’s a simple guide on setting up a Google Alert.
PRO TIP: When using Google Alerts, in the “Search query” box type in site:craigslist.org “hunting lease” to setup an email alert when new hunting lease listings show up on CraigsList.
7. Search In Real-Time Using Twitter
To get a real jump on everyone out there that’s also looking for a place to hunt, use search.twitter.com to find people that just recently posted about available hunting opportunities. You can also use advanced search operators here as well.
8. Look on Hunting Forums
Forums can be a great place to find hunts and build relationships with other hunters in your community. Be warned that this process takes patience and time in order to be “vetted.” Admins don’t want you spamming their members and threads with “HEY GUYS, I NEED A PLACE TO HUNT!”
PRO TIP: Don’t use a shotgun approach and join multiple forums. Be strategic. Pick one and build up your forum reputation by making useful comments on popular threads, submit interesting content or questions, and add value to the conversations. Eventually you make “friends” and hunting offers will fall in your lap.
9. Got Money? Buy Hunting Land
If you have the money or can pool together an investment group, sometimes you can find opportunities to purchase hunting land outright. Beware: As you probably know, land is not cheap, and income-producing land including hunting landscapes are no exception. If it is affordable, there’s probably a reason for it. There are plenty of sites on the web dedicated to brokering these deals. Do your research!
10. Join Private Services Like HuntingLocator.com
Tired of looking on your own? Why don’t you pay someone else to do it? Services like Hunting Locator have staff members that go out and try to find hunts or hunting leases for you. These sites specialize in helping people find hunts, so they’re usually a pretty good option.
PRO TIP: Sign up for the pro or premium member services to get updates as soon as new hunts become available.
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