Asking permission to hunt private property is a lot like asking your smoking hot girlfriend’s dad if you can marry his daughter. There is a lot on the line and you’re not totally sure how its going to go. Understanding the small details, having an expectation of what the person may say or ask, and having the confidence to do it will give you the best shot at success. If you have just begun your hunting adventure then I hope to further your success on private property, but for additional tips on how to start hunting, check out this link.
Lets be honest, private property landowners probably get a lot of hunters asking to hunt their land. I’m sure they get new people asking each year, but they also get the same stubborn hunter that cant give up hunting a specific piece of property because he saw a giant Whitetail buck walk out of the woods on the properly line six years ago. This means your conversation, manners, and your influence have be at the top of their game.
The conversation obviously needs to start with a firm handshake and an introduction. The handshake is an absolute every single time. Simple things we tend to forget like speaking clearly, looking someone in the eyes, and standing tall need to be focused on to earn some respect and credibility with the person you’re talking to.
Now moving into the strategic angle of the conversation, I find better success when is see the person in public or not in the comfort of their home. This gives you a level playing field when asking to hunt their property. Now after you have given yourself that advantage, its time to find out what exactly what the landowner may need to improve their life. They may need some help around their property like putting up a fence, clearing some brush, or tending to their garden. This is when you offer any and all help to give you that chance to land hunting rights to that property. It is critical that you are able to fulfil any agreement you make. For instance; if you agree to do some skid steer work for someone, I sure hope you have access to a skid steer.
- Find something you can give the landowner in return (Meat from the hunt, beer, help around the property, etc.)
- A firm Handshake
- If you have one, take your child with you
- Explain to the landowner what your intentions are
- If you agree to give them something in return, give them a little extra. Let them know you appreciate it.
- Ask for permission each year. Don’t assume you already have it
After The Hunt
Building a stronger community and relationships is a close third place to filling the freezer and making memories with my family and friends when it comes to my hunting priorities. Sharing a meal, game meat, or your time with the property owner is a great way to show your gratitude to hunting their land.
Your work is not done once the hunt is over. First, its time to pay your dues by whatever means you have agreed on with the property owner. This includes any work or money you may provide, but also includes small things like not tearing up their property with your equipment, cleaning up after your kill, and leaving things in better shape then you found them. Second, you need to secure rights to hunt the land next year or the next hunting season. If you have respected the landowner and their property, cleaned up after yourself, given your time (and sometimes money) then you should have no problem getting access to hunt the same property whenever you want.
Here in Missouri about 93 percent of the land is Private, so having permission to hunt someone’s property, is almost a necessary to be successful. Missouri Conservation does a great job of giving us additional information for outdoorsman. Here is a link for additional information on hunting private property.