You’ve been hunting since you were a teenager, and you’ve tried out all of the local public hunting grounds. Now you’d like to try a couple of private areas, but you’re not sure how to go about getting access to them. Here are some tips.

To start your quest, find out who owns the land you would like to hunt. That way, you will know exactly whom you need to contact for permission to hunt the grounds. Never go traipsing through private land without the owner’s permission. Contact the owner by phone and arrange for a meeting. Don’t show up at their front door unannounced. Arrive to the meeting on time and introduce yourself. For better results, bring along someone that the owner knows who can make the introductions. Explain what your intentions are and ask for the owner’s permission to hunt their land.

Don’t be surprised if the owner hesitates or turns down your request. They may fear the risk of a hunting accident, refuse hunting of any kind on their land or restrict the use of it to certain people. Don’t let their rejection get to you. Thank them anyway and move on. Avoid lingering and attempting to change their mind. You could end up making a scene, and once word of that gets around, you may never receive permission to hunt private grounds anywhere.

If the owner grants you access to their land, discuss with them any guidelines they may have. They may restrict you, for example, to hunting certain game at certain times. Whatever their wishes, make sure you follow them. If they ask you to hunt for deer only, don’t dismiss what they say once you are in the field and start shooting at rabbits or squirrels. Chances are they will find out what you are doing and ask you to leave the premises immediately.

Respect the owner and their land. Stay away from the house, crops, livestock and other structures, and pick up all spent shells. Dispose of all trash properly and leave everything as you found it. When you are done, be sure to stop by the owner’s house and thank them for the opportunity to hunt their land. Don’t forget to offer to help them with any chores that may need to be done on the land, such as clearing away brush.

Stay in touch with the owner. Send them a thank-you note each time you hunt on their grounds and always offer to share your game with them. Make sure you get their permission every time you want to go hunting on their land, unless, of course, they tell you otherwise.

Treat the landowner as you would want to be treated. Get their permission to hunt on their land, follow the guidelines they set and leave the area as you found it. If the situation were reversed, wouldn’t you want the same?

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