Whether you’re looking for a new place to shed hunt or another place to hunt this fall, your search for new hunting properties should never end. I’ll bet you have a property you drive by every day to work that instantly triggers dreams about hunting whitetails there. It may be one property in specific or the whole darn county. You dream, but yet you never act. Well, it is time for you to get access to that piece of dream land.
Here’s a few tips on how to find and gain access to great hunting properties:
1- Find a property you want to hunt
There’s two great ways to find deer hunting properties that are sure to excite you: the drive-by method, or the online-mapper method. Personally, the first is my favorite way to find a new hunting property because something is physically telling you that you should be hunting there. Whether it’s seeing a buck, a herd of deer, or great habitat…something about it just sticks out to you.
Online maps are another great option for seeing the big picture and can give you great leads from your computer chair. Once you find a property of interest, you need to find out who owns it.
2- Finding out who owns that property
Sadly, many searches never make it this far. Why? Probably because there is a little bit of work that is often times involved. However, with the help of interactive county GIS maps, finding property ownership information is easier than ever before. Not only will the maps supply the property owner’s name, but it will also give their address, and identify their acreage and property boundaries.
Here’s a great article explaining this process in detail: The Hidden Secrets of County Maps for Hunters
3- Contact the owner
Once you identify the property owner you need to get them to say “yes”. I find that knocking on their door is best because they aren’t left wondering who you are. A phone call or letter may be okay if they are an absentee landowner. Just remember first impression is everything! Dress nice . . . this here is my lucky “property permission” polo after gaining access to 3 out of 6 properties last year.
Here are some great door knocking tips to follow during your search.
4- Ask for other leads
Not everybody is going to say “yes”, in fact most will say “no”. You may get declined for a variety of reasons, but don’t let that deter you. Since you’re already talking to them, ask them for any leads. Most big landowners know other big landowners. A lot of times they are more than happy to help or suggest another place to hunt, especially if you make a good first impression and are persistent.
5- Build trust and hunt ethically
Once you get permission, keeping it is up to you. Check in with the landowner frequently and give them updates throughout the season. Respect their rules, guidelines, and boundaries. Far too often other hunters ruin it for the rest of us. One inconsiderate hunter will often lead to a landowner never again allowing someone permission to hunt. My advice, go above and beyond and leave the property better than you found it.
Finding hunting land is getting tougher and tougher with every passing season. In order to always have a place to hunt, you’ve always got to be on the search.