John's Journal...


Become a Hunting Guide or Go To School

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.

Often large corporations own vast wooded areas close to highly populated regions. However, they don't allow hunting and post these areas because of liability. But, most companies have some kind of customer-entertainment programs, which may eat heavily into corporate budgets. With downsizing
Click to enlarge and belt tightening, many companies look for ways to host their customers without spending large amounts of money. Approach the marketing director and/or president of a company, and offer your services as a hunting guide on their
lands to hunt with their customers at low or no cost. If you'll scout the land, set up the tree stands and guide clients to spots where they can take big bucks, a corporation may permit you to hunt the land when you're not guiding its
clients. Show the company how you can save them thousands of dollars. The company may return the favor by allowing you to hunt the land at no cost.

I had a friend in Demopolis, Alabama, who worked for a major timber company. Across the street from the company's headquarters, 3,000 acres of land went unused. Sportsmen couldn't hunt there because of the land's proximity to the
Click to enlarge plant. My friend went to the company president's office and explained how he could plant greenfields, clear the roads and provide productive hunting opportunities at a low cost to entertain the timber company's clients. Not only did the timber company grant him permission to hunt that land any time he wanted with one or two friends, but the company also gave him time off from work to clear the roads, plant the greenfields and build the shooting houses. A few times each year, my friend takes the company's customers out on the land, assists them in getting into the shooting houses and then picks up the customers and their deer. The rest of the year, he hunts this posted property for free.

Many colleges and universities have huge land holdings bequeathed to them when loyal alumni die. These land holdings, often too small to lease or utilize, sometimes lay in prime deer-hunting areas. Learn where they own woods land,
Click to enlarge the location of those lands and the requirements for hunting that property. Consider offering these services in exchange for hunting rights:
* organize a benefit hunt on the land with all tax-deductible proceeds going to the college or university,
* teach a mini-course in outdoor skills or identifying edible plants for the P.E. department, recreation department and/or biology department,
* patrol the land, keep the roads open and pick up litter and/or
* take important alumni, potential athletes or other supporters of the school deer hunting on that property.

If you can learn what landowners want or need, you'll find very few sanctuaries that you absolutely cannot hunt. Even when you really can't hunt a sanctuary, you may have the opportunity to bag its big bucks. Study the property adjacent to the sanctuary, and get permission to hunt it by leasing that property or providing a service to that landowner.

The creation of most sanctuaries and the posting of property usually has its beginnings in some problem the landowner has experienced with hunters on his land. If you develop an easy and equitable way to solve the problem, you often can acquire permission to hunt a trophy-buck hotspot. You even may find that trophy sanctuary right at your own back door.


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 5