Acquiring permission to hunt predators on private lands is without question a privilege. Landowners don’t have to give you permission and if they do you had better do everything in your power to ensure total respect for the land. Here are a few basic rules for getting permission the right way and keeping it for years to come.
1. There’s nothing wrong with the old style of knocking on doors, but timing should be a major consideration. Begin by reflecting on your own lifestyle and free time. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics breaks your workday down this way. For the average working stiff like you and me, age 25 to 54 with children in the house under age 18, there’s little free time. We spend 8.8 hours working, 7.6 hours sleeping, 2.5 hours in leisure activities and 1.2 hours in caregiving, likely to our children. Farmers and ranchers are no different so plan your trip so you don’t disrupt the daily workflow and be prompt, to the point and professional in your request.
2. If you know the landowner call ahead and set up a meeting at their convenience. If you’re cold calling then consider a timeframe where the landowner is likely not busy getting kids ready for school, not working and not eating. The hours right after the evening dinner period fit this description, but personal careers and seasonal work varies. Nevertheless, be thoughtful.
3. You also don’t want to wait until the days or even weeks before season to secure permission. If possible, get the process started early. Any seasonal period can work, but wouldn’t you rather discover you don’t have permission to hunt in the middle of summer before the fur season. Research what farming or ranching activity dominates a particular month and then try to stop by when you believe the landowner isn’t in the middle of harvest or livestock feeding. Again, activities vary by region, but look for a time period when landowners aren’t running nonstop.
4. When you do finally acquire permission leave your personal information with the landowner, including the vehicle you’ll be driving. Predator Quest’s Matt Piippo and I were at a recent Cabela’s Predator Classic (www.cabelas.com) and he shared with me his business card. When you flip it over you find a permission slip that serves as a contract between landowner and hunter. I thought it was a great idea and I suggest every predator hunter consider it when asking for the privilege to hunt private land.