John's Journal...


Getting Permission to Hunt Trophy Bucks By Finding the Landowner’s
Hot Button

Click to enlargeEditor’s Note: If you live in suburbia like I do, less than 15 minutes from metropolitan Birmingham, Alabama, and its more than 1/2-million folks, you'll often hear reports of big deer spotted within walking distance of your house. But everyone knows you can't hunt bucks downtown or in your own backyard, or can you? We often forget that white-tailed bucks travel. Although you may see them standing on asphalt or crashing across a creek, they must come and go from somewhere. Sometimes those backyard bucks have travel routes that will cross property you can hunt, if you'll research your options. Often you may find a trophy-buck hotspot less than 30 minutes from your home where no one else hunts or has permission to hunt.

Now that you understand where the big bucks live in your county, you must employ your people skills to gain permission to hunt those bucks. Determine who owns each piece of property that represents a sanctuary in your county, and find
out why the landowner doesn't permit hunting on his land. In many instances, you'll learn that the landowner is worried about shots being fired on his property, a legitimate concern because of his property's proximity to animals, equipment Click to enlargeand/or other people. Even if the landowner doesn't permit gun hunting on his property, perhaps you can convince him to allow you to bow hunt there. Since bows make no sound, and most bowhunters shoot at distances of only 20 to 30 yards, most people never will see or hear a bowhunter on the property.

If you ...
* promise the landowner that you'll be as inconspicuous as possible entering and leaving his property,
* cover any deer you take with a tarpaulin to keep anyone from seeing you've hunted that property and
* don't allow anyone else to hunt the property owner's land, you may gain permission to hunt these sanctuaries, although the landowner has turned down other hunters. Generally a landowner will fear that hunters will hound him for permission to hunt his lands if he lets you or anyone else hunt there.

Many times you can trade hunting rights for something a landowner wants more than money. For instance, I have a friend who works as a highway patrolman in New York. As he patrolled his suburban area, he noticed tremendous-sized bucks at several small farms. During his off-hours, Click to enlargehe went to these landowners to ask permission to hunt their lands. He learned that almost every farmer had experienced problems with poaching. The highway patrolman told them that during his off-duty hours, he would post their lands and patrol them to make sure that no one hunted or abused that land. He told them he only would hunt with a bow until they felt comfortable with him on their lands. Using this system, the law-enforcement officer found plenty of places to hunt and provided a needed service for the landowners.

You can provide the same service in exchange for permission to hunt. If a landowner has dealt with illegal hunting on his property, you can offer to post and patrol it, carrying a cellular phone to call the game warden, sheriff or
landowner any time you encounter poachers. You don't have to be a law-enforcement officer to patrol a hunting sanctuary.

Another service you can provide for the landowner is to offer to repair the service roads on the landowner’s property. A landowner must sacrifice a great deal of time and expense to keep his roads in good condition so that he can
travel through and around his property. In many areas, beavers stop up culverts, rains wash roads out, and brush and Click to enlargeundergrowth grows too thick along roads. When wind, rain and snow cause trees and limbs to fall into the road, someone has to clear those roads. Since road maintenance can become a hassle for a landowner, a smart deer hunter can take advantage of this opportunity.

I have several friends who hunt sanctuary areas where no one else can hunt because they act as road patrols for the landowners. Immediately after a storm hits, they take their chainsaws, ropes and 4-wheel drives and clear roads on the property. During the fall, they keep culverts open and low spots in the road drained. In return, they get to hunt the sanctuaries that no one else can hunt. If you clear the roads before hunting season and show the landowner that you're serious about maintaining his property, perhaps you can gain permission to hunt there.



Day 1: Looking at Your Own Backyard
Day 2: Paying the Price and Locating Trophy Buck Sanctuaries
Day 3: Getting Permission to Hunt Trophy Bucks By Finding the Landowner’s Hot Button
Day 4: Hunting Trophy Deer Near Parks and Kids’ Camps
Day 5: Become a Hunting Guide or Go To School


Entry 328, Day 3