Face it, it'd be great to hunt on private land this year. This checklist will help get you closer.
Has a particular parcel of private land caught your hunting eye? There are ways of getting on the other side of the fence that don't end in you getting shot at by an old farmer with a 12-gauge.
You may find that the ranchers who live on your desired hunting grounds are hunters themselves, and it can be as simple as reaching out and asking for permission to hunt on their land. Or maybe they're impartial, and just haven't had anyone ask.
We have some tips and tricks to make getting on the other side of that fence a bit easier.
1. Find the Owner
If there is a mailbox or an address associated with the property, it makes it easier to contact the person directly. If this is not the case, the recorder of deeds at your local courthouse will have the owner's contact information on public record.
2. Make Contact
Everyone has their own style of doing things, but we do not advise to go knocking on strangers' doors. Landowners have likely been approached in the past and you don't know what kind of experiences they have had before. We suggest writing a friendly letter or email as a first attempt at contact.
3. Letter Contents
Make sure your letter or email is properly formatted to appear professional and clean cut. Treat this as a cover letter that you would write when applying for a job. Include your contact information, profession, how often you would like to gain access, the type of game you are after and a list of local references.
Include any groups or organizations you are involved in, if you have taken hunting safety courses or if you will be wanting to be bringing your kids or a hunting buddy. Make the letter personable and engaging, and have someone proofread it for you before send it to avoid any obvious errors.
4. Follow Up
If you do not hear back immediately, attempt to reach the person by phone. If that proves no results, then visit their home as a last resort.
At this point, it is safe to assume they have ignored your request for a reason. In the event that you are denied access, respect the land owner's permission and keep daydreaming of that piece of land. You're going to have to find another spot.
Hopefully the fruits of your labor will be productive and you will get the hunting opportunity you sought after.
In return for being allowed to hunt on a landowner's private property, a thank you gift is in order. A thoughtful gesture includes offering some of your game meat or suggesting you help do any work around their land.
Even if they don't take you up on your offer, it may help you to be welcomed back the following year.