Gaining Landowner Permission is a Real Job
By Mike Nobles (username: mnobles23)
Have you ever scouted out a great piece of land or water, watched dozens upon dozens of greenheads circle or thousands of geese onto its surface only to see a dreaded “no trespassing” sign on the nearest fence? Or maybe you’re like many other hunters that are just tired of all the competing spreads on public land? Either way you look at it, you have a problem. You want to hunt private land but you’re not a landowner. What do you do? Well, most of us know it’s time to knock on a few doors and ask permission from land owners, but how do you do it? How do you go about asking a complete stranger for permission to bring firearms on their property, and for lack of a better term, shoot stuff? The answer is simple: Treat a meeting with a landowner like a job interview. Here are a few tips to up the odds during your “interview:”
1.) Dress the Part
Would you normally wear mud covered hunting clothes to a professional job interview? No. Although not a job interview, asking permission for land access should be taken just as seriously. Much like during an interview, you are trying to convey competence, professionalism and a sense of responsibility when meeting with a land owner. You are trying to make a good first impression by being neatly dressed and groomed. Your appearance can speak to a landowner long before you open your mouth. Make sure it is saying what you want.
2.) Be Prepared
I have knocked on many doors and had many awkward moments throughout my years of meeting land owners. One thing I have developed to ease this initial tension and awkwardness is a resume. That’s right, a resume. Giving them something to look at as you introduce yourself can be a great way to make everyone involved a little more comfortable. On your resume you want to provide all of your contact information, safety certifications, licenses and a few character references. Remember that to the land owner you are a complete stranger. With your resume you want them to see that you are a responsible, legal and ethical hunter.
3.) Be Friendly and Respectful
Not many people are going to give hunting permission to a rude, inappropriate person, are they? No. You need to be as friendly and respectful as possible to all landowners, no matter what their attitude may be. But not only do you need to be friendly and respectful while asking permission, but you need to be respectful after asking permission as well. Even though you may not gain permission to hunt a particular piece of property doesn’t mean you may not get a call from the landowner or one of his friends in the future. Remember that resume? They have your contact information now. If you make a good enough impression you may receive a call in the future.
Following these tips can increase your odds of obtaining private land hunting rights, but it doesn’t guarantee it. No matter how much a land owner likes you and trusts you they still may not let you hunt their property. This is no reason to become discouraged. There are plenty of doors out there to knock on. Keep trying and your efforts will be rewarded. At the very least, you should meet some very interesting people along the way.