When it comes to real-estate clichés, I’ve got a sweet spot for “location, location, location,” and I think that’s because this old maxim holds as true to deer hunting as it does to the resale value of your home.
Having access to the right hunting location is quite possibly the most important part of the deer hunting puzzle, but it’s a piece that’s becoming increasingly difficult for the average hunter. So if you’re hoping to hunt the right location this fall, you’d better be taking advantage of “door knocking season.”
Many hunters today don’t own land and instead depend on hunting public property or getting permission to hunt private ground. Unfortunately the good ‘ol days of having hunting permission by default are long gone and have been replaced by “No Trespassing” signs as far as the eye can see. So this means if you want access to good deer hunting ground, you’ve got to ask for it.
Asking for deer hunting permission is something that a lot of guys stress about—and sometimes avoid entirely because of that discomfort. But as hunting access becomes more difficult to come by, it’s a task with which we’re all going to have to get more comfortable.
So start practicing, because now is one of the best times of year to saddle up and knock on doors for hunting permission.
1. Right now landowners are far removed from the annual rush of people bugging them during hunting season, but also are far enough ahead of the next fall that they won’t feel rushed with making a decision to grant you permission
2. Asking for hunting access during the spring also positions a helpful hunter to offer his or her services around the property. If you get the opportunity, offer to help pick up rocks in a field or mend a fence. Showing your willingness to lend a hand can work wonders for securing hunting permission down the road.
3. Another trick I like to use at this time of year is to ask for shed hunting or turkey hunting permission as a “gateway ask.” Landowners typically are much more willing to grant this kind of access rather than deer hunting, so shooting for sheds or turkeys can be a first step. Once you get that, take advantage of this opportunity to build a relationship with the landowner. Chit chat a bit, and always offer to help out in whatever way you can. When you do go out on their land, be respectful and show that you treat their property well. A few weeks down the road, check back in again, and you’re likely to have a much better chance to get that desired hunting permission.
4. Regardless of your tactic, make sure you’re knocking on doors as often as possible. You’re going to get plenty of no’s, but if you keep at it, you’ll find a spot or two. And who knows, that one spot might make all the difference this fall. Because as you know, it’s all about location, location, location.