Public land hunting is getting a lot of attention these days. It seems to be the fad. But for all its new-found fame, public land still can’t compare to the opportunities that come with hunting un-pressured private land. The lack of pressure is what sets private land apart. If you have access to it, you are blessed. If you don’t have private land access, you should do your best to change that. Here’s a look at how to get permission to hunt on private land to up your odds for success this season.
Old-Fashioned People Skills
The problem that plagues so many hunters these days is that they lack the old-fashioned people skills needed to secure permission on private land. The younger generation today communicates with a screen in their face. Many have never met, made eye contact, and shook the hand of a complete stranger at their front door. And the thought of doing so scares them out of their mind. I remember a friend telling me, “You can’t just go up and knock on someone’s door. They don’t even know you!” I showed my friend that I could – and I did. I was rewarded with permission to turkey and deer hunt because of it. Learn to meet new people, shake hands and have a conversation. Don’t text them or call them. Meet them face to face. Let them know who you are and assure them that you are respectful to them and their property.
Overcome Your Fear of Rejection
A lot of hunters are afraid to seek permission for fear of rejection. Keep in mind, rejection is part of the process. It’s going to happen. In fact, it’s going to happen more times than not. That’s okay. Sooner or later you’ll connect with the right landowner that’ll be willing to let you on their property. It’s a numbers game. Make enough contacts and sooner or later it’ll pay off. Just don’t quit after the first few doors are closed in your face.
Use Mapping Apps
One of my favorite tools for securing permission to hunt on private land is the onX map app on my phone. The app tells me property boundaries, acreage, distance, property ownership, and so much more. It allows me to walk to the door knowing the landowner’s name, as well as all his or her neighbors. It’s a huge advantage when it comes to having a personal connection from the start.
Locate the Leftovers
You’ll save yourself a lot of time if you narrow your focus on the land you’re trying to get permission on. Large tracts of land would obviously be what we’d all like to secure permission on for hunting deer and turkey. But most of these big, beautiful tracts of ground are already locked up. Or, if permission is granted, you’ll likely be sharing it with other hunters. However, if you’ll focus on what I call the, “leftovers,” you’ll often secure ground that other hunters have never even considered. Leftover lands are the smaller chunks of ground tucked in between larger properties, or along the road, or other overlooked areas. Sure, we’d all rather have 500 acres, but don’t miss out on the opportunity that 5 overlooked acres might have waiting for you this season. When it’s the right 5 acres, there’s no better permission you can have in your pocket.
Dress for Success
Be sure you look clean and sharp when you approach the door for the first time. Leave the camo at the house. Wear what you might wear to church, or work. Again, your job is to sell them on the fact that you can be trusted on their property. Make the extra effort to see that happen. When you go to the door dressed in camo after the hunt, you put off the impression that they are just another number on your list of doors to knock on in your effort to get a place to hunt.
Gaining permission to hunt on private land is honestly not as hard as we make it out to be. It can still be done. Not every piece of ground across the county is a hunting lease. It’s simply a matter of going about it the right way, in a friendly and respectful manner. Use the steps mentioned above and see if you can add more private land permission to your hunting opportunities this season.