By Bruce Ingram
Photos by Bruce Ingram
One of the questions new hunters often ask (for that matter, so do many veteran sportsmen) is how can they gain hunting permission to nearby private land. John Koloda, a CPO sergeant for the Department of Wildlife Resources (DWR), gives these tips on how to accomplish this essential task.
“The first thing I recommend people do is to talk to the folks they know at work, places of worship, or are friends with,” he said. “Ask those individuals if they know any local farmers or rural landowners who might be open to them coming onto their land to hunt.
“Once these contacts come up with a list of landowners, call them and ask if there is anything that you can do to help them out in exchange for your hunting there. In other words, make yourself valuable to the landowner. You might suggest to mow their lawn, clear brush, cut firewood, repair fencing, put up posted signs, or some other chore.”
Koloda says these perspective hunters could also offer to come to the land first to pursue coyotes or some other varmint, as a way of making themselves useful. They could also inquire if the landowner was suffering crop losses from deer damage, and, if so, these folks could promise to shoot only does if they gained permission.
Once an individual has gained permission to go afield somewhere, the CPO sergeant says this person’s duties to the landowner should continue.
“Many landowners really enjoy hunters telling them what game they saw,” Koloda said. “They like to get reports from hunters, so send them an e-mail or quick text after every visit, giving a short account of what happened.”
One of the things I’ve done for years on places where I’ve been given permission to hunt is have my wife Elaine bake homemade bread or cookies as a gift after I’ve killed a deer or turkey there. Because of this tradition, many times landowners have called me and thanked me for the gift and asked me to come back soon so they can enjoy another sweet treat.
Finally, concluded Koloda, at the end of the hunting season, contact the landowner one last time and thank him or her for letting you go afield there. These and other simple acts of courtesy could lead to you being invited to come back the following season.