READER STORY: Make Urban Deer Hunting Work For You

August 17, 2011

urban deer huntingWe sat parked, watching and talking about how my hunting partner used to hunt these woods. Now, a small neighborhood of about 15 houses occupy these woods; the woods that my friend swears the biggest bucks he had ever seen used to call home. He used to hunt here until construction began and ownership became blurred. That was ten years ago.

A man stepped out of his truck and glared at us, so I jumped out and offered a friendly hello, introducing my hunting trio and myself. After explaining that my friends here used to hunt these woods, he openly asked us if we wanted to hunt behind his house!

You see, most people that live in these, what I call “urban honeyholes,” like to see the deer. They see the same deer groups and, most importantly, how big these deer groups are rapidly growing each year. This is a benefit for the urban hunter — it makes it easier to gain permission to hunt these honeyholes! Owners see that the herd needs thinning and become tired of the deer eating their plants and gardens.

With a permission slip signed off on and property lines explained, I was able to first scout the property while standing in his driveway. With modern technology at my fingertips, I easily pulled up Google Earth and could immediately get a view of the entire property. While walking the property, we found multiple nice sheds and showed them to the owner. The owner stated that he and his wife really love to see the deer, but there are getting to be too many of them. I asked him how he felt about a deer feeder in his backyard and agreed to it so long as I positioned it in the view of his back deck so he and his wife could watch the deer. It might also keep them off his wife’s plants. He loved the idea! The first phase of my urban hunting plan was complete.

The second phase was recruiting the help of the landowner. Most of my hunting properties are anywhere from 45 minutes to an hour’s drive away from my home. Each of my properties has a Moultrie feeder that holds about 200 pounds of feed. I set my feeders to go off three times a day, for a 5-second cycle each time. It can be costly in gas driving out to my properties just to keep the feeders full. So if the owners enjoy watching the deer, I get them to help. All I do to keep my feeders full is drop off a few hundred pounds of feed at a designated spot the owner and I have agreed upon, and they fill them up when need be. The key to this is putting the feeders in an easily accessible spot for the owner, while still being in a deer viewing area.

My last phase for urban hunting usually comes after the very first year I hunt the property. I always send out Christmas cards, cookies or thank you notes and hopefully by then I have succeeded in thinning their deer population. The hope is that I can create a liaison for the neighborhood — an owner who is a spokesperson for me. So when someone at the local neighborhood grill out or birthday party is complaining about how the deer are tearing up the yard or ate the wife’s prize flowers, they can refer me and explain what a great job I have done on their property. They have seen how hunting their property is jointly beneficial. This will get your foot in the door to more urban honeyholes.