Outdoor Chenango: Gaining Permission To Hunt From Property Owners
Published: June 26th, 2024
By: Eric Davis

Outdoor Chenango: Gaining permission to hunt from property owners

When it comes to finding a place to hunt, one of the more daunting tasks is to ask a landowner for permission to hunt. Being allowed to hunt on private property can greatly increase your odds of success compared to some public lands. This can be due to less hunting pressure, making it so they do not leave the area after being disturbed repeatedly.

The first step is to know exactly who the landowner of the property is where you are asking to hunt. Applications on your phone, such as OnX Maps, can allow you to pull up the tax map over an aerial photo. Then you click on the property and the owner information pops up.

You can also go to the County Real Property Tax Department and use the computer there to look at the tax map. These options also let you see what the property lines are. Another way is to ask at a house nearby. Be careful because some people will lie and tell you they own it and that you cannot hunt (or they will say they don’t own it and send you looking for someone who doesn’t exist).

When asking for permission, I try to follow a few simple steps. First is to dress appropriately. A shirt and tie are overkill but don’t go wear torn up and stained clothes either. Remember you are asking for permission to be on someone else’s property, so show them respect. When they answer the door, introduce yourself and offer a handshake (or ask if they are ok with it, thanks to COVID-19). Give them a brief rundown of why you are there and then ask if they allow hunting on their property.

If they give you permission to hunt there, having a couple follow-up questions can save you from having problems later. Some examples would be, does anyone else have permission to hunt there, is it alright to put treestands up, is it alright to harvest does (if you have the appropriate tags), can I have someone hunt with me?

If other people have permission to be there, then there is a chance that you could see them while you are hunting. The question always seems to be what do you do? The first thing to do is to make sure they know you are there. DO NOT wave or make motions with your arms. Talk in a loud, clear voice to let them know you are there. Once you know they have seen you, you can approach them to talk. Make sure you both handle your firearms/bows safely during your interaction.

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If you are new to the property, you may not feel comfortable asking them questions regarding them having permission to be there but if you want to ask their name and how they know the owner. See how long they have been hunting that property and if they have any tips. If they stammer or seem suspicious, stop and talk to the landowner about the interaction. If you think they have permission to be there, it may be worth asking them where they usually hunt so you can avoid running into them all the time. Or consider exchanging contact information so you can coordinate who is hunting where.

The thing to keep in the back of your mind is that it only takes one person to ruin it for everybody else. Whether it is through littering, bringing a bunch of buddies with them, or driving their vehicle where they should not. So be on the lookout and report anything suspicious to the landowner.