Ever wonder how to lose permission to your hunting land? It’s simple. Just employ a few of the strategies below and you’ll find yourself all dressed up with no place to go during the next deer season.
1. Invite friends & family without permission
It’s just your brother. Heck, he’s made from the same genetic information as you. If you have permission, it stands to reason that deal should extend to someone who is practically you. Right? And since that’s probably cool, a cousin ought to be able to join in. How about your supervisor at work? He’s got a Mossy Oak sticker in his back glass. Maybe he’d like to come along? I heard he has a son that hunts too…
Not all slippery slope arguments are inherently false. If you begin bringing people out who were never cleared by the owner, and they find out, they’re probably going to wonder just where the invites stop. Would you become the arbiter of who hunts their land? Would you appoint a deputy with similar powers? It was probably the credibility and relationship you had with the owner that gained you access in the first place. New people don’t have that same kind of standing. Bringing strangers onsite is a great way to break that personal trust in a hurry.
2. Alter the property without permission
What’s the harm in a food plot? It’ll only improve the health of the deer and if you snip the top wire on that fence, they’ll have easier access to it. While you’re at it, you could dig a watering hole on that woodline and drop some mineral blocks near it too.
A buddy who’s land I hunt was complaining about another guy who also hunted his property. My friend discovered a deer feeder on his property the other hunter setup. The primary reason my friend allowed hunting on his land was to reduce deer numbers since they destroy his cattle fences. This other hunter was laying out the red carpet for them! Their two objectives were at odds and caused the property owner to reconsider allowing him to come back.
If you have ideas on enhancements, run them past the owner first to eliminate conflicting land management practices.
3. Disregard the property owner’s wishes
It was clear the owner said not to drive through any of his fields, but the beans are out and you’d have to go out of your way to get your deer if you can’t drive straight through. He also said he didn’t want any gut piles left behind. If he only knew how many coyotes ran back here, he’d realize that mess wouldn’t last more than a night.
This one seems like a no-brainer, but when age minimums, point restrictions or vehicle limitations are in play, it’s not so easy. It’s tempting to cut corners or parse words when a rule becomes inconvenient. You have to decide if a momentary expedience is worth the risk of losing access permanently. A shortcut on the property owner’s rules may result in a long-term loss of access.
4. Don’t play well with other hunters on the property
You were hunting this property before those other guys got permission, and now they’ve set up on a trail that you always hunted. The nerve. You could help them out by laying down a mock scrape complete with your own urine. What about removing their stands for them? So many options.
Ultimately, you’ll turn the land owner into a babysitter; someone who has to settle disputes and make sure the kids are playing nicely. Chances are, they’ve got better things to do than play referee. You may make shutting down hunting altogether sound like a much simpler solution for the land owner. Be courteous and accommodating. There may come a day when a decision needs to be made about reducing the number of hunters on site. If you are known for being easy to get along with, chances are you’ll make the cut.
5. Stir up stuff with adjacent property owners
That farmer next door isn’t too friendly towards hunters huh? You’ve got permission to hunt on this property so let him have it when he tells you to stay on your side of the fence. Emphasize what you really think about him, hand gestures and all. He can’t tell you anything if you’re not on his land.
I was squirrel hunting a small parcel that had a neighbor on one side with horses. He was very much an antihunter. I had just dropped a bushytail with my Remington Model 5 when I heard this guy holler,
“Hey, there are other animals back here!”
I set my gun down and walked over to him to explain that I knew where his horses were and that I was only shooting squirrels on the ground. He wasn’t happy, but he was satisfied. The reality is that as guests, we leave the area at the end of the day and go home, the property owners often live there and have to deal with the fallout of an angry neighbor. We don’t want to upset the neighborhood for someone allowing us to hunt their land.
6. Go a few years without communicating with the owner
You secured permission years ago but the last couple seasons have been so busy you weren’t able to hunt this property. Just assume the owner is reserving it for you and turning down all the other people inquiring about it. In fact, you could probably just show up on opening day and roll in unannounced.
Your world may revolve around hunting but that may not be so for the property owner. When he doesn’t hear from you during a season and someone new asks to hunt, there’s probably not much motivation for you to keep exclusive rights. In fact, if the owner only wants a few people on his land, you may get nudged out by hunters who don’t take access or communication for granted. Stay in contact, even if it’s a text to check in about next year’s season. This way, no assumptions can be made about your desire to continue hunting that land.
There are lots of ways to lose access to hunting properties. These six are some of the best. You’ll notice that all of them revolve around assumptions and communication. Recognize the privilege it is to be allowed on someone’s land and keep the relationship strong to ensure you’re in the stand and not on the bench next year.
Tim Kjellesvik is an outdoor writer for hire on a mission to promote and protect the interests of the American outdoorsman. If he isn’t getting something to bite or sticking it with an arrow, he’s writing about it. Find out more about him and his work at thethinkingwoodsman.com and follow him on Facebook.