Getting permission to trespass

Eric Davis

Mayhood's Sporting Goods

CHENANGO COUNTY – One of the greatest problems that many outdoorsmen (and women) face is finding new places to hunt, fish, trap, and so on.

While some people have their own property to use, not everyone is this lucky. While we are spoiled by a great amount of state-owned property locally that is open to public use for hunting, fishing, and trapping, some people may prefer to try to find a nice secluded private place to be without worrying about someone else coming along and bothering them.

To have this, you must ask for a landowner’s permission to trespass on their property. Without their permission, you are trespassing and can get in trouble if the landowner contacts the authorities. Over the course of the past decade, there are a few tips that I have found to be pretty useful when talking to a landowner about getting permission to hunt/fish/trap their property.

First, try to look presentable. You don’t need to be wearing a suit and tie but try not to show up in a beer-company tee shirt full of holes and with the sleeves cut off. You are trying to convince the landowner that you are going to be respectful of their property, so look like you take care of your own property.

When someone answers the door after you knock, introduce yourself and offer a handshake. Ask them how they are doing and if they have a minute. Explain the situation to them – for instance something similar to this: ‘I trap and am looking to get permission to trap because your property is between my house and my job so I can check my traps easily.’ or better yet – ‘I am new to bowhunting and am looking to get permission to try to harvest my first archery deer.’



They don’t want to hear your life’s story but some background information can be helpful. Remember that the worst thing that can happen is that they tell you no.

It is disappointing to get told no but it comes with the territory. Certain game species seem to have different yes-to-no ratios. A lot of people like seeing ducks and geese around and can be pretty negative about someone wanting to harvest them, while other people can’t stand how much of a mess they make and would pay you to hunt if they could.

Do your homework ahead of time because some landowners will be on the fence and might need more facts to help them make their decision. Beavers can be good and bad for ecosystems. While damning a stream will create a ponded area that ducks like, that backed up water could flood someone’s basement or yard. It is pretty difficult to trap an entire colony of beavers so conveying that you want to trap a few to keep the population at a reasonable size but will leave some can show a landowner that you are looking to do what is best for the animals and for people.

Be ready to answer any questions the landowner has as well.

Are there really that many deer around, when does trapping season start, how long is turkey season, and so on.

If you do get permission to use their property, be ready to follow up with some other questions. Maybe you have a few friends who might also like to go with you, ask if the landowner is okay with people joining you.

Make sure to ask where is the best place to park or is there a place I shouldn’t park?

Dairy farms will tell you not to park near where the milk truck needs to get in order to pick milk up. Other people don’t want you shining your headlights in their bedroom window at 5 a.m. If you get permission to hunt deer and have a tag that can be used on a doe, ask if the landowner is okay with you harvesting a doe on their property.

If you are comfortable sharing, ask if they would like any of the meat from any animals you harvest. As you wrap up your conversation, make sure to thank them and shake their hand again. I try to write down their name on a notepad in my car. This helps if you ever run into any problems from neighbors, other hunters, or anyone else and is very handy if you have permission from a lot of landowners to keep them separate – such as running a trapline.

I try to check in with the landowner throughout the season if I’m using the property for more than a day – such as trapping or deer hunting – or at the end of the hunt if only using it for a day – such as goose hunting.

Again, thank them for giving you permission and letting you use their property. If you want, consider sending them a thank you card at the end of the year. Convey to them that you truly are thankful.

Building a good relationship with a landowner can go miles. I have a landowner who is a farmer that I have gotten to know really well, when I mention that I am looking to find a place to trap, he will call the surrounding farmers and ask if any of them are interested in having me come trap.

This is like having a good reference when applying for a job. The farmer will tell them how I treat the property and what kind of person I am without me really having to do much which.

 

– Mayhood’s Sporting Goods

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