John's Journal...

How to Find Deer Land to Hunt

Decide Who Knows the Most Land and the Most People

Click to enlargeEditor’s Note: Some years ago I almost dropped the telephone receiver when I heard the words, "The landowner has sold the land, and our hunting lease has been cancelled." I'd called the secretary of our hunting club to let him know that I planned to go to our hunting camp three weeks before deer season started to check several of my stand sites and get ready for the opening weekend of bow season. I wanted to scout the areas where I'd taken bucks before, cut shooting lanes and make sure that the deer fed on the same nut trees they had in the past. I enjoy scouting for deer because I consider it the true essence of the sport of hunting. Scouting means learning where the deer feed and bed and which trails they travel on and then predicting where a deer may appear. When you hunt, you actually climb into your tree stand and wait oClick to enlargen the shot. But this year instead of scouting for a place to put my tree stand, I had to scout for new land to hunt.

I felt like Sherlock Holmes, the legendary detective from England's Scotland Yard, as I asked myself, "Who in the county would know the most rural landowners, how much land they controlled, and whether or not they would allow someone to hunt for free, lease their land or pay a day-usage fee?" Here's the list I made:
* sheriff's deputies and conservation officers.
* the banker in any rural county and many urban areas. Many of these landowners have borrowed money from the banker to plant crops, improve their land, fence their land, buy feed for cattle or borrow money to buy additional land. Because the banker must get to know people very well before he loans them money, more than likely he Click to enlargeknows their attitudes about hunting and hunters. Become the banker's friend. Hopefully he can act as a go-between or vouch for you and introduce you to a landowner.
* the newspaper man/lady who delivers the daily paper to rural communities. Often they'll have information about how much land these people own and their attitudes toward hunters. If the paperman delivers the morning paper, he often will observe deer crossing the road, going from their feeding to their bedding areas. If he also delivers the afternoon paper, he'll frequently spot deer standing out in fields or feeding in fields just before dark. He can tell you about the size of bucks he's seen on that land as he runs his route. When in college, I became friends with an older student who lived in the same married-student apartments with me. Before class each day, he delivered morning papers from a nearby urban center to the rural region surrounding our university. He had permission to hunt and fish on more land than we could cover in our four college years, even though we hunted three afternoons a week and all weekend.
* the rural letter Click to enlargecarrier/mailman, who may see deer as he travels his route.
* the rural barber, who knows the men of the community.

Go to College:
Many hunters fail to realize that when alumni of colleges die, they'll often leave their lands or portions of their lands to the college or university they have attended. Some colleges have vast land holdings while other colleges may own only a few hundred acres. Most hunters never think to go to the land department of a college or university and look at the possibilities of leasing land to hunt. Although you may not find large blocks of woodlands contiguous to each other, you may pinpoint several small tracts available for lease during hunting season.

Tomorrow: Check with the Army

Check back each day this week for more about "How to Find Deer Land to Hunt"

Day 1: Determine Where to Look First
Day 2: Decide Who Knows the Most Land and the Most People
Day 3: Check with the Army
Day 4: Think about Power
Day 5: Search for Maps



Entry 389, Day 2