Getting Access - Using Parcel Info And Aerials To Find Great Hunting Properties
Do you ever find yourself driving past a beautiful piece of property thinking “Man, I sure wish I could hunt there.” If you’re like most hunters, it’s probably a thought that crosses your mind every time you get in your truck. Instead of wondering what could have been, do you ever act on these feelings? Have you knocked on any doors? Or, at the very least pulled up the HuntStand app to figure out who owns the property? Sometimes with a little extra effort you may find yourself with 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 ticked off landowner overrides the potential for gaining permission to hunt. C’mon now! Most people are actually very nice, even if they end up saying no. To make this process a bit easier to hurdle, we’ll lay out the steps you should take in order to find and gain hunting permission on new piece of land.
In our eyes, there’s two great ways to find deer hunting properties. The first method is the drive-by method and the second is the online-mapper method. The drive-by method refers to a property you may have passed during your daily commute and there’s something about it that tells you you need to be hunting there. Whether it’s seeing a giant buck, a herd of deer, or great habitat…something about it just sticks out to you. If you come across such a property, the second step is finding out who owns it and asking for permission. More on this in a minute.
If you’re commute is not one that takes you past a lot of huntable areas or you’re looking for property that’s further away, using online maps is another great option. Best of all, it’s easier than ever to find great hunting property, along with land owner information from your computer chair using the HuntStand App. Again, once you find a property of interest, you need to find out who owns it.
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 the HuntStand App, finding property ownership information is easier than ever before. Not only will the maps supply the property owner’s name, but it will also identify their acreage and property boundaries.
There are several reasons every hunter should be scouring the HuntStand App along with the specific county’s interactive GIS maps. First off, they display property boundaries along with the info on those who own them. Boundaries, acreage, owner’s name, and owner’s address are all typical attributes found on these maps. In addition to the info provided, you can select an aerial view with the boundaries layer on, which is a huge advantage for you as a hunter. What this helps with is the ability to see how much land someone owns and if it looks to be a decent hunting property.
Another benefit of the interactive maps is that they show you potential access routes to a property. By checking the map, you may uncover an easement or a sliver of a particular parcel that allows you to hunt it much more effectively depending on different wind directions.
Contacting the Land Owner
Once you identify the property owner you need to get them to say YES. Knocking on their door seems to be the best plan of attack because the landowner isn’t left wondering who you are. A phone call or letter may be okay if they are an absentee landowner, but just remember first impression is everything!
Door knocking is a bit of an art, so here are some great tips to follow during your search. First, ask for other leads even if they say no. 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.
Secondly, 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 a landowner never again allowing someone permission to hunt. Go above and beyond and leave the property better than you found it.
The Art of Gaining Hunting Permission By Knocking on a Door
Start knocking and start early! Private land won’t come and find you. For every “YES” response, you might have fifty “NO” responses, but that one yes might be all you need to bag a booner this fall.
Another factor worth mentioning to a landowner is your preferred method of harvest. If you’re hunting with a bow, specifically tell them you will only be bow hunting. Landowners tend to feel safer when there aren’t bullets whizzing around their property. There are also far fewer bow hunters, meaning less competition.
Additionally, it may behoove you to 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 damage equals direct money loss. Offering them free labor in exchange for hunting access is another wise decision that may tilt the landowner into giving you permission. It’s amazing how far a couple of days of free labor will go and how much trust can be built for future years.
If you do in fact gain permission, always be sure to give thank you gifts and check-in throughout the season. If a couple of sticks of sausage or some deer meat will get you permission the next year, that’s about the cheapest investment you can make.
All in all, the HuntStand App is a true hidden gem for hunters! What once was only found by going to the courthouse or spending big bucks on county plat maps is now available for free at your fingertips. Lastly, it shouldn’t go without saying that these maps aren’t just useful for those seeking permission, but ALL hunters. Having the built-in GPS has tons of benefits when it comes to searching for properties as well as navigating them.
In the end, 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.