One of the biggest gripes I often hear among hunters is the lack of locating good quality hunting grounds each fall. Sure, Minnesota is blessed having lots of fine public hunting land open for everyone’s enjoyment, but we all know many of the best places to hunt are often found locked away under private ownership. So, are you a sportsman who chooses to grumble about missed opportunity…or, can you muster the motivation to open some doors that will ensure a fun-filled fall afield?
Quite honestly now is the time when you need to be out scouting for new lands and making contact with the landowners seeking hunting permission. By now most crop farmers have their fields planted so the hectic pace of the spring farming season is winding down. Believe me, a farmer who isn’t feeling the stress of either spring planting or the fall harvest will likely be in a much better mood to grant you permission for some fall hunting on his land.
Of course, many landowners may not be farmers or the desired property may be under absentee ownership. All the more reason to start seeking permission now because it might take you some extra time just to locate a property’s legal owner.
The key is doors of opportunity stay shut for you unless you learn to ask. Granted, it’s probably a wise idea to prepare yourself for plenty of rejection — that’s natural and certainly to be expected. Yet, if you ask 10 landowners and only one grants permission…after all, isn’t that still a good outcome for your efforts? Forget about what you didn’t get and focus, instead, on the one new hunting opportunity you expertly developed.
As a landowner, I often get asked by sportsmen for permission to hunt and fish on my farm. You’d be amazed just how poorly some my first impressions are of the sportsmen as they approach my door. Hey, I don’t expect you to dress like you just came from church, but a clean-cut appearance, that doesn’t appear sloppy as if you just cut up a cord of firewood, would be much appreciated. Yes, usually my mind is made up who hunts and fishes my land before that person even utters the question. In other words, the first step is to look respectable and it will surely work to your advantage.
Another benefit to asking for fall hunting permission now during the summer is it tells the landowner you’re conscientious enough about the sport that you plan in advance. Seriously, a hunter who stops a farmer during the fall, while he’s busy out in his combine, to ask permission, deserves to be flatly rejected. Indeed, planning in advance shows courtesy and that can also make for a good first impression.
Remember, even a landowner who turns you down can still be a great resource for information. By striking up a friendly conversation with the landowner, you might be able to glean a great deal of useful information that will ultimately benefit you. For example, before leaving ask the landowner if he has any recommendations on who in the area might grant permission for the hunting opportunities you seek.
In fact, that very thing happened to me a few years back. Two bowhunters from the Twin Cities asked me where they might go to get away from other deer hunters. I suggested a neighbor’s farm, a short distance away, who rarely had deer hunters in his woods. Not surprisingly, those two hunters dropped my name and since then have established a landowner relationship in a woods they likely wouldn’t have even known existed.
Again, when it comes right down to seeking fall hunting permission you won’t achieve anything positive unless you employ the fine art of asking nicely. Moreover, by doing it now you’ll have all summer to get excited about what new hunting opportunities lie ahead for you this coming fall.
© 2009 Jim Braaten. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction without Prior Permission.
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