Does this sound like you? “Man, I wish I could hunt there.” Or, “Every piece of private land is already being hunted by someone else.” You may say the same thing every year, yet, have you knocked on any doors? Or, broadened your territory? Sometimes with a little extra effort you may have a new honey hole to hunt this fall.
It is common for people to be afraid to knock on a stranger’s door and ask permission to hunt. The fear of a denial by a screaming giant overrides the potential for a hunting hot spot. C’mon now! I promise most people are very nice, even if they end up saying “no”.
Here are some quick door knocking tips that can help you gain hunting rights to private properties.
1. Start knocking and start early! Private land won’t come and find you.
2. If you’re hunting with a bow, specifically tell them you will only be bow hunting. Landowners simply feel safer when there aren’t bullets whizzing around their property. There are also far fewer bow hunters, meaning less competition.
3. Tell them you will shoot does and not just trophy bucks and/or agree with any rules they may have in place. This is especially intriguing for farmers – where deer equal money loss.
4. Offer them free labor in exchange for hunting access. It’s amazing how far a couple of days of free labor will go and how much trust can be built for future years.
5. Ask for any other leads. Landowners know other landowners.
6. Dress appropriately. Think of it as your interview for the land. I’d probably say no to a guy with ragged jeans and a wad of chew in also.
7. Always give thank you gifts and check-in throughout the season. If a couple of sticks of sausage or some meat from any deer taken there will get me permission the next year, you’re darn right I’ll be giving them some.