Getting permission to hunt on private land is not really a very difficult thing to achieve. Because many of the landowners have been taken advantage of in the past, they are now posting their ground to public hunting. But with a proper approach, permission can usually be attained which can lead to a lasting relationship between you and the landowner now and in the future. This also avoids trespassing and possibly fines. Each and every year property is sold and new landowners have come into the picture.
One of the very first steps is to find out who owns the property that you would like to hunt on. This can be done usually at the county seat and by purchasing a plat map book of the area you want to hunt. You will then achieve the property owner’s name, usually the property lines, plus you then know who owns the neighboring properties. This is very important information and can lead you to gain more property in which you have permission to hunt on.
Contact your local DNR or any other place that can supply you with a topographic map of the area you are trying to get permission to hunt. If you are unfamiliar with topographic maps, it would be in your best interest to take the time to learn how to read one as this will enhance how you present yourself to the property owner. Study the map and have a very good idea where that property is located on the map. You do not want to show up at the property owner’s house and not know where it’s at on the map. Property lines are another story, and will hopefully be shown to you by the property owner.
Something else to have with you is either a business card with your information printed on it or have it hand printed on a piece of paper with all your information. This should include your full name, address, phone number, vehicle description and license number. If you have more than one vehicle, list it as well.
A small notebook with a page devoted to each property you wish to gain access to for hunting purposes is very desirable. Before you approach the property owner, have as much of their information already written down in your notebook. Any specific questions that you have about the property should also be written down, which may include, but not limited to, as follows; Where am I allowed to park? Can I drive on un-gated roads? Do you have any restrictions that you want me to follow? Remember, it is their land, let them tell you what you can and cannot do. At the bottom of the said page, have a place for the property owner’s signature and your signature as well; this will be sort of an informal contract stating each other’s intentions and permissions. Now is the time to set the boundaries, not after a problem occurs.
How you present yourself to the property owner has a lot to do with gaining permission to hunt on their property. Do not show up at their door looking like you have been living like a troll under a bridge for years and just crawled out. Be professional. Show up at their place clean and up kept. Dress like you would be going to a job interview, not a suit and tie, but a good pair of jeans and nice shirt will do.
Be polite and respectful. Politeness goes a long way. Address them as Mr. or Mrs. if they have such a title. If you have known them for a long time then a first name basis might be a good way to go but for the most part keep it professional.
Be prepared for rejection. Some property owners, no matter how hard you try, will not give permission to access their property. Accept it and move on. Thank them for their time and ask if they should decide to change their mind, that they would consider giving you a call. Sometimes it is as simple as that.
Following these simple common sense guidelines will hopefully help you gain permission for hunting on private land.