What to Say
Most farmers are eager to help out hunters. Some landowners may not want shotgun hunters on the property for reasons of safety and noise, so if you are a bowhunter, be sure to let them know. If you eat what you kill or other farmers in the area have already given you permission bringing either up will help. Make it clear that you will not be driving through the fields. Farmers don’t want tire tracks running through their fields, even after they are harvested. Essentially, be respectful and consider the concerns of the landowner.
Get Permission for a Different Animal
Hunting other species can open doors during deer season. Turkey hunting is great because there is much less competition. However, I believe coyote hunting is the best. If you ask to hunt coyotes in February, once all of the other seasons have finished, the likelihood of getting permission is high. This season I shot a coyote off of a neighbor’s property that would have eaten pheasants and possibly a deer fawn in the year to come. As a result, I contributed to greater numbers in the future. Thus, when deer season comes I already have a relationship built with the landowner, that gives me a better chance at getting permission. Make sure you let the landowner know that you shot an animal and thank him again.
If All Else Fails
Every once in awhile you will find a property where the farmer simply won’t let you hunt. Check in with the neighboring property owners. If you are hunting turkeys or coyotes, then you may be able to call them in from a distance. Deer hunting is a little more difficult, but the buck may adjust its range once harvest is finished. Additionally, if the rut or shotgun season is coming up the deer may range farther. Thus, try asking some neighbors if nothing else works.
I recently had to stop by six houses before I tracked down the landowner to get permission. I shot a turkey during the second hunt on the property. Driving around to took me two hours, or about the same time as half of a hunt. Though it can be frustrating, putting in the time will pay off.
A farmer may not give you permission the first year. Do not be afraid to go back and ask next year. Things may change. They may be in a better mood one day than the next. However, I would limit yourself to asking only once a year for each animal. I have a friend who overdid it and will likely never get permission for the property.
Thank you so much for reading. Stu
Bio: Stuart Hoegh is a fishing guide in Sunriver, Oregon where he is the owner and head guide for Three Brothers Outdoors (threebrothersoutdoors.com). In the fall he will hunt pronghorn in Wyoming, elk in Colorado, mule deer in Nebraska and every species in Iowa.